Monday, 20 January 2014

A trip to Bizerte

We took another drive on the weekend to a place called Bizerte and we saw interesting agricultural farms and wind farms along the way!

Bizerte has a bridge into the town that opens and closes and we were advised by our very nice landlord/neighbour to make sure we are not stuck on one side or the other while it is opening....

We weren't....

We had a nice lunch at a very touristy spot in the 'old port' area.
The food was excellent and the huge quantities made it our dinner too!

A teenage boy had at least one of his hollow legs filled with delicious seafood in this boat turned into a restaurant.

Not everyone looks at the camera!

We weren't allowed to go on the top of the boat but it was cool to have lunch inside.

It was such a lovely afternoon we decided to check out a local beach we saw on our way into the town (and get back across the bridge while we could!)

This is the beach we found (no cats for Kaitlyn but she built a castle instead of making another new friend!)

Some others choose to skip stones...

Someone else had some time for quiet reflection and sea shell collection!
Even I took a stab at a beach selfie!
It was a lovely afternoon at the beach the water is still not quite warm enough for swimming even for crazy Canadians!
We saw a shipwreck in the distance....
But I think it has been there a long time..

We headed back to Tunis and we hope this week will be the start of school for everyone and that we will start to meet people here and settle into a more 'normal' and not holiday routine!
Sending you sunshine from beautiful Tunis!

A trip to Nabeul

We are still waiting for the kids to start school (sometime the week of Jan 20....Keegan is not accepted yet....but we have all our fingers crossed that Tuesday will bring good news!!))but we managed a trip to the beach on Saturday and Sunday!

On Saturday we headed to Nabeul which is not far from Hammamet and it is a very busy tourist destination in the warmer weather.  After touring around a variety of not very well labelled streets, we found a patch of beach and settled in for a picnic lunch.  It was windy but the light through the clouds was very pretty and a nice view while we enjoyed some family picnic time.

On this beach Kaitlyn made a new friend.

A word about cats.  Katilyn is our cat lover (we all love them but she is the queen) and she has wanted to rescue every stray that she sees on the streets and in this case on the beach.  We have our own 2 cats (Canadian import cats!)at home but she would take in 1000 more if she could.  Cats seem to roam quite freely here in Tunisia but their numbers are not kept in check by spay/neutering programs rather lack of food and disease seem to be the default population control.  We have seen a fair share of live and not alive kitties since our arrival.
There are tears and questions about what seems to our cat lover a disregard for the lives of these kitties (dogs too but they don't register to our cat lover as strongly).  It seems like there is a fair amount of 'inshallah'  (God willing or if Allah wills - very common term used here in Tunisia  but all across parts of the Islamic world, other parts of Africa and other places too) in the lives of these kitties.  Kaitlyn made a big dent in the hunger of her little friend on the beach on Saturday.  She feed him all kinds of things from our picnic lunch and was rewarded with affection

Hotdog (this friend's name) was sniffing our picnic bag for the remains of our lunch!

While the garbage workers are on strike garbage worker strike (and even before that) it seems that the kitties benefit from the treasurers they find on every street corner.  

We had a mostly fun time....we discovered after sitting on a log and having a various locals give us weird looks - that about 200 metres away there were benches and a more hospitable picnic location - but that is not how the Bennetts like to do things....

We left Nabeul and headed back to Tunis where we saw some interesting graffiti as we re entered the city.

We have been lucky to be so comfortable in Tunis so far.  We hope to have more adventures especially if our time here is short!

At least there is light through the clouds!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

ruins near carthage Jan 5

We are way behind in our posts - mostly because Terrena is sick (Kaitlyn helped get the last post up so the pictures of the beach could finally be seen!).  These are photos from our Jan 5 trip to the ruins near Carthage.  We found as we entered the sight that there is an entrance fee - but lucky for us it was the one Sunday a month that was free for residents.  We just presented our diplomatic cards and got in for free! Exciting for us - and we went to the museum at Carthage too for free - the view were spectacular!

Richard is admiring the scale (and likely the historical inaccuracy of the 'reassembly' of the ruins as a tourist sight) 
We were trying to figure out in what era this sight was designed as a tourist sight and why there seem to be no documentation of the process used to create the sight.  It is funny how much of an expectation we have as Canadians that things are well labelled and explained.  We may have to let that go....

Walking along the higher ground gave us a nice perspective of the scale of the amphitheatre and what that may have represented to citizens when it was a 'working' establishment built by the Romans in the first century AD.
This shows with our feet on top just how big some of the stones at the sight actually are - too heavy to lift without lots of help or specialized equipment or both.  I cannot imagine the effort that went into hand carving these stones.....and placing them!
The metal work is obviously not original but it is impressive none the less!

The stone work here is likely not original but seems to be the best guess of those who restored the amphitheatre ruins likely in the early 20th century.

Climbing rocks is always a family favourite!

We moved on from that site to the nearby Carthage Museum

The museum is on an hill (the hill of Brysa) and the kids got out of the car and could not wait to look out over the city!

The site of the museum also contains the cathedral of Saint Louis built during 1884-1890. In addition this is also a well known tourist trap - with large tour buses from Italy and the cruise ships popping up - so the industrious Tunisians outside will try to sell you all manner of things and speak to you in your native language.  It was very funny to us when they asked -Italian, German, American, Russian?  We answered Canadian and they looked shocked and said nothing to us and went away!!  Ah Canada - what can you say?
The view - amazing!!

It was a bit rainy that day and you can see the storm clouds moving in from the ocean.

Ruins visible from the museum site.

Parts of Tunis are visible and quite lovely from this vantage point on the hill.

It was a lovely day and we capped it off with a seafood lunch/early dinner (which we paid too much for again!) but very enjoyable!!
We are inside today because it is the anniversary of the revolution here in Tunisia.  More about that soon- we still feel very lucky and happy to be here in this historic and ever evolving country!