We only had half a day to explore the area around La Goullette and Tunis, plus we had a bit of a sleep in having spent the evening meeting other passengers and entertaining on our balcony! So we opted for a simple tour of Carthage, the ancient city once the 3rd most important city in the Roman Empire, and a quick visit to a small fishing village, very Greek in style with white washed buildings and blue features.
We avoided the taxi drivers at the port terminal and wandered into the local town, ignoring the various touts who were suggesting that we should take a taxi now as there was nothing to see locally. As it turned out, there was plenty of local attractions but we were charmed by a French speaking Tunisian guy with a beat up old Peugot and a very tattered map that he used to explain how he could show us beautiful sites!
Whilst visiting a large mosque I noticed a railing leaning up against a high stone wall and ran across to clamber up and see what was hidden behind. It looked to me to be part of one of the old Roman theatres so I snapped away perched 10 feet up on a piece of old steel fencing. I could tell the taxi driver was a little dis-pleased so eventually I turned round to see what he was yelling at and came down. Apparently I had been looking down into part of the Presidents estate so he suggested the Police would not be happy with me if I had been caught……probably not wise of me in Tunisia but we live and learn.
Heading back from our expedition we were complete with some new shoes for Julia who had really made a local shop-keeper realise just how frustrating it can be getting Julia to make a decision when shopping – and how difficult it can be to get a girl from Yorkshire to part with money. Stopped at an intersection I candidly snapped away at local signposts, taxis and the traffic policeman, complete with white gloves. Meanwhile, unbeknown to me but equally as harmless, Julia was in the back videoing the same. Then as we crossed the intersection the taxi driver was forced to pull over and had to run back to the policeman.
At this point, we had a feeling it may be related to our cameras but it seemed a bit over-dramatic………….then he approached and the taxi driver said no pictures. Wondering if the officer was after a bribe, we played dumb (not that hard for us to do!) whilst I started to think about the consequences of him looking through the camera’s play back and then found my recent snapshots of the Presidents private amphi-theatre! Perhaps we looked too poor or perhaps the taxi driver told him we were from a cruise ship and thus a shake down was considered inappropriate – either way, a few words from the taxi driver, a friendly hand on the policeman’s shoulder and we were waved off with a warning!
Once again we found the time in Tunisia too short to be able to really enjoy the experience, particularly the pace of events in the markets and the constant, although mostly polite, offers being thrust in your face by various touts.
We sailed off with a rather unusual completion of a circle once out of the port, and headed for Spain, a 36 hour sailing time meaning that we could relax back into our “at Sea” routines!