Friday, 25 April 2008

Day 2

Sorry I haven't been able to post over the last few days. Things have been a little hectic.

Anyway, my food has been good and so has my exercise. I walked 4.40miles/7 kilometers yesterday and 6.23miles/10 kilometers today. My water hasn't been as good but I'll make sure I drink enough today.

Well, here are some pictures of Tunisian landscapes, as promised. They are way too many but ....If you want to get a better view of something just click on the photo.

Tunisia has miles of coastline that flanks the Mediterranean sea. These photos are from various points along that coastline.

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The two largest cities in Tunisia are Tunis (the capital) and the southern town Sfax. There are many mid-sized cities and many many small towns. Every large and mid-sized city is divided into two major areas: an old area called a Medina and a new city called a Nouvelle Ville.

A Medina is a walled city with large doors at each corner or side of the medina. They were built by the Arabs during their colonisation of Northern Africa as far back as the 9th century as protection from attack. The medina contains many narrow and maze like streets, tightly packed houses, palaces, mosques, market places etc. everything found in a city generally.This photo shows the medina wall on the left and homes on the right. The streets within a medina are normally very narrow and the homes very tightly packed.
Souks are shopping areas within the medinas. They are very interesting but very intense experiences as merchants compete so vigorously for one's attention that their behaviour borders on harrassment.

This photo of Sfax is an example of what the nouvelle villes look like. Nouvelle villes were built by the French when they colonised Tunisia in the 19th century.

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The Northwest of Tunisia is very verdant and green. Reminded me a lot of England with it's soft rolling hills and fertile plains. This area is strongly agricultural.

This large flat topped mountain called Jugurtha's table found in the Central area of Tunisia. It got it's name from a local king who used it as a base during a 7 year battle against the invading Romans around 115 BC. It's sheer impregnable walls make it a natural fortress.
The only way up once you reach the base are by some precarious rough steps hacked into the side of the cliff. These allow you to climb to the top of the table. It was hell getting up them and I can't imagine how a whole village managed to live at the top for years. The hills of Algeria as viewed from the top of Jurgurtha's table.

Ruins of a village built at the top of Jugurtha's table.

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One of the many mosques on the island of Djerba, located just off the South east coast of Tunisia. Djerba was featured in The Odyseey as the Land of the Lotus Eaters. It's also where the story of Ali Baba and his 40 wives originated.

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The landscape of southern Tunisia is incredible dry, rocky and generally inhospitable. Considering this, it was amazing to see villages like this one perched on the hillsides.



The village of Chenini was carved into the stone of this mountain.

Door to one of the homes.
View from Chenini. One of the areas where Star Wars was filmed.


Terraced agriculture


Duiret is another town where the buildings are carved into the mountain.


View from the top of Duiret. No matter how poor the village, there's always a pristine white mosque.



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Palmeries are incredibly wet and fertile areas found in the middle of the arid south. Many herbs, spices, vegetable and fruit trees thrive under the palm trees. Apart from dates which are harvested in August, Palm trees produce a juice called palm juice from April until ... We were fortunate enough to taste it. It's like nectar from the Gods.

Olive trees also grow in great abundance in the south. They seem to be able to grow under the harshest of conditions.

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These beautiful buildings are called Ksour(plural) Ksar (singular). They were used for storing a village's grain supply.





The Berbers (original inhabitants of Tunisia) discovered that if they built their homes underground, they could stay cool during the periods of intense heat. These homes are called troglodyte homes. Again one of them was used in the filming of Star Wars. I think you can understand why.



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Yikees!!! A sandstorm. Guess we were bound to experience one of these considering how much wind and sand there was around.

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Chott is the word for lakes that stay dry through the hot season, but have some water in the winter. Chott el Jerid is largest of these kinds of lakes. Here James is a small speck in the vast river bed. Aparrently, this is another location where Star Wars was shot ... it's supposed to be where Luke contemplated the two moons .. James being a Star Wars fan wanted to re-enact the moment.

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The Oasis town of Douz is knows as the Door to the Desert. When you leave here your heading for the Sahara.

Dunes reclaiming an ancient fort

On the road to the Oasis Ksar Ghilane

Contrary to popular belief most of the Sahara is not lovely sand dunes. Most of it is flat scrubby driness as below.

but when you get to the dunes, a fabulous reward ...

The sand is as fine as silk and when you try to hold it in your hand, it slips away like water. It even forms pattens like water ripples




This is a desert cafe ...


The Oasis has a great natural hot spring which comes in handy after a long day on a camel.

King of the Desert

9 comments:

  1. Your second picture looks like Greece.

    What an amazing tour you had! And I can guess why James wanted to go there... I always wanted to live in Uncle Owen and Aunt Veru's house!

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  2. I love the second picture, infact I loved all off this post. Thanksyou so much for taking the time to post your photos and for the interesting descriptions. Being a history buff I was facinated by the people living on top off Jugurtha's table.

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  4. Wow they are just amazing photos. You have quite a talent. They really were fascinating, thanks for posting them!

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  5. Good job on the exercise. Your pictures are amazing. They also make me quite jealous.

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  6. What an incredible adventure you had, and what wonderful photos!!!

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  7. Breathtaking photos! They all look like postcards! Thanks for sharing!

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