Retail therapy in the souks of Sousse

There comes a point during any holiday, when any traveller, no matter how hardened, sucumbs to the lure, the joy, the shiny marvellousness of a spot of shopping!

Here’s a few colourful pics of some of the sights on offer in the hectic souk of Sousse, a Tunisian coastal city.

Colourful textiles and clothing are a feast for the eyes and the wallet!

Piles of colourful spices and herbs entice your eyes and your tastebuds as you pass by.

Carpets hang out on white washed walls catching the sun’s last rays.

Looking a bit goofy in front of gorgeous painted tiles, a traditional art form of Tunisia, features the Hand of Fatama, a favourite subject that brings good luck.

And after a long day of browsing the shops, haggling and being badgered by shop keepers, what better than a glass of mint tea in one of the “authentic” Tunisian cafes in the town.

I suspect this one is rather more stage managed than the actual establishments that the locals frequent . . .

Blue and white theme and Tunisian doors in Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said  is a pretty little village full of orange trees and enchanting blue and white buildings, full of artists and cats!

During the 1920s, Rodolphe d’Erlanger, a French painter applied the blue and white theme all over the town.

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There are numerous decorated doorways in the town to delight the happy traveller.
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Here’s an over grown jungle outside this particularly cosy looking homestead entrance.

Here’s a door that seems to have escaped the regulations though!

It sits at the top of its whitewashed steps inviting you to climb up and escape the sweltering heat in its cool interior.

And here’s some of the curious and hungry cats that congregate whenever there is food around . .

Salt flats, troglodytes and camels.

Here’s me at sunrise at Chott el Djerid, a large endorheic salt lake in southern Tunisia.
 It’s an eerie, atmospheric landscape of white, green and purple that shimmers into the horizon.
 garden 458 It’s an otherwordly feeling place, almost as if you’ve landed on the surface of an alien planet.
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We visited it on route to Matmata a small Berber speaking town. Some of the local Berber residents live in traditional underground “troglodyte” structures.

Here’s one of the few remaining residents.

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The structures typical for the village are created by digging a large pit in the ground.Around the perimeter of this pit artificial caves are then dug to be used as rooms, with some homes comprising multiple pits, connected by passageways.

Here is the entrance to one of the traditional troglodyte dwellings that featured in the original Star Wars film.

We stop off to see some stunning scenery on the way to a mountain oasis and hot spring.
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What a gorgeous spot for a quick spot of relaxing.

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Horse riding in the desert with the Bedouin Horsemen, shortly before my travelling companion was whisked off into the sunset!

garden 445 Now I am not a huge fan of horses so once again my photograph is somewhat marred by the look of crazy on my face.

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We also took a turn at saddling up and riding out on camels in the desert at Douz – the gateway to the Saraha.

My camel seemed to enjoy spitting at its companions and kneeling forward suddenly. Here I am in a rare, in control moment!! . .
garden 436 My travel buddy looks far more at ease on her stead than I do .  . .
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Tunisia 2005

Another random travel experience picked out of the memory hat now – a fantastic trip to Tunisia with a friend I studied with on my journalism MA at Sheffield University way back when . . .

This trip has to count as my first ever “exotic” holiday. Everything before this was fairly safe and relatively similiar to home – Ibiza, Portugal, Greece, Australia, all great, but not particularly taxing.

Tunisia however was the first country where we had a sense of alienation, slightly disconcerting, things a little bit off kilter, a language we couldn’t understand or even read but was as pretty as an illustration in the margins of fairytale books.

We stayed in Sousse, a large costal city with a large Medina and Casbah (finally we could actually sing Rock the Casbah while actually in one!!)

There’s a museum at the casbah with fantastic mosiacs from Roman villas in the area. Here’s me with a selection of them ..

Here’s the Ribat.

And here’s some shots of the lovely beach, shame it was FREEZING!!!!

Here is the view from our hotel window – racking my brains for the name of it!!

Next up Carthage, the desert, the salt flats and Sidi Bouzid