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16th April, 2014


The local houses

The next day was spent following the coast of Algeria and I was reminded of an occasion some years ago when we ended up ‘rescuing’ two boat loads of economic refugees, who were probably not overly impressed when they were given back to the Algerian coast guard. There was nothing of that nature this time, as we arrived into La Goulette, the port for Tunis, on schedule.

Since my last visit over ten years ago a new passenger pier has been built for the big ships, along with its very own ‘village’ (read shopping experience), but that was taken so we had the shed next door. It was adequate and at least a shorter walk to the buses.

With a few hours to spare four of us went up past Carthage to Sidi Bou Said, a charming village situated above the cliffs about five miles up the coast. Here every building is painted white, while the window frames and doors are a mid-blue, reflecting the azure seas below. Blue wooden window shutters, carved and some quite intricate, help to protect the inside of the houses from the heat in summer.

Stunning local architecture

We walked the cobbled streets, took some refreshment at a restaurant that had amazing views, and then headed back down passed shops that had all manner of local handicrafts. Needless to say as we looked like tourists, we were ‘encouraged’ to enter, and for one I did, and the owner was indeed correct, he had a most amazing ceiling.

I shied away from going upstairs however, where I was promised some wonderful mosaics. I’m not sure how long it was before he realised I was not behind him.

Back on board there was some delay while we waited for five new entertainers to join us, including celebrity chef, Brendan Lynch, who is going to teach a select few the skills of ‘Bake Off’.

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