I have only been to downtown Tunis twice during my time in Tunisia and have been wanting to return. The two times I visited downtown were to visit some NGOs as part of one of my SIT courses.
So last weekend two of my friends and I decided to explore Tunisia a little bit. We left Sunday morning for downtown Tunis. We were pretty proud of ourselves for navigating around the city. We were able to catch a bus from La Marsa to Tunis and once we were in the city we made our way toward Bourguiba Avenue.
Bourguiba Avenue is in the center of the city and has many nice cafes. We stopped and had a nice and relaxing breakfast. I had been wanting crepes for some time now and I finally got my wish! We all really liked the cafe we went to and definitely hope to return. Cafes are everywhere in Tunisia and offer a wide variety of prices. This particular cafe was decently priced and they had a lot of baked goods as well. We also noticed that the cafe had a good number of women as well. In general, cafes are Tunisia are more often frequented by men.
After breakfast we made our way to the train station. We had been wanting to go hiking for some time and had found an article about a good hiking spot on http://www.tunisia-live.net/. The town we were headed to is called Hammam Lift. Figuring out which train to take was fairly easy. It was also incredibly cheap at around 40 cents.
We watched the suburbs of Tunis pass by and tried to read the Arabic graffiti. After about a half hour we arrived at Hammam Lift. The next order of business was actually finding our way to the mountain. We stopped to ask directions from a local. He was very helpful but also cautioned us against going to hiking alone. We promised to be careful and headed toward the direction he had pointed.
There was a large gate that appeared to be locked before the entrance to the trail. we asked the guard if we could end. Unfortunately he did not speak any English and had a hard time understanding us. Another man approached who spoke English. He exchanged a few words with the guard and then entered the path through a small side door. He told us we were welcome to come with him. He came here almost every weekend to walk his dog. He also explained that the trail closed in the afternoon so we would not have that much time.
We walked and chatted with our new friend. His name is Marwan and he is originally from Hammam Lift but know he lives in La Marsa because that is where his wife is from. He had a black lab with him named Joker. Joker was five months old and a bundle of energy. Seeing him made me miss my dog.
We walked for about fifteen or twenty minutes and then we came to a small park. We got Joker some water and took pictures of our surroundings.
After spending some time in the park we headed back. We decided we would have to come a little bit earlier next time so we could have more time to hike.
Since we still had some time left before we needed to head back we decided to eat our lunches at the beach. Originally our plan had been to have a picnic on the mountain, but the ocean was just as nice.
After lunch and a short walk in the town we headed back towards the train station to head back into Tunis.
Once we were downtown again we decided we wanted a little treat before we went back to La Marsa. We stopped for some gelati. There are actually quite a lot of gelaterias in Tunisia. Considering the proximity to Italy, this makes sense. Although the gelati was good, it wasn’t my favorite that I’ve had in Tunisia.
During the first week we were here, our AD took us to what he called “the best gelati in Africa.” So far it really has been the best place.
In one more week we will be heading on our second excursion to the South so maybe we will find some gelati there as well. Personally, I am very excited for the dates because they grow in the South and we are right in the middle of date season.
That’s all for now. I know this post is a bit short, but not much has been happening this week. We’ve had a lot more homework so I’ve been spending a lot of time in cafes working.