Return to Tunisia Part 1; Sidi Bou Said
Landed at Tunis Airport. Glad to be back. I love Tunisia!
Baggage handling is always very slow at Tunis Airport. I think they carefully carry out security checks. There’s always plenty of time to go to the loo, change money and visit the shop for water or other needs.
Finally we were ready and set off to our first stop; Sidi Bou Said. I’ve been there before.
It’s a stunning, unforgettably beautiful town and I love it, hills and steps and all! All the properties are dazzling, unblemished white with blue paintwork. The views over the marina and beyond are begging to be photographed. The sea was nearly as blue as the buildings!
We paused to buy a bambalouni, which is a sort of crispy fried doughnut and a famous speciality of Sidi Bou Said. Then we walked up a flight of steps to El-Alia, which loosely translates as High Café.
It’s traditional, local and basic. Instead of seats there are raised platforms covered with mats, and small tables. Men take their shoes off to sit there.
There was no milk available, and no ice for my banana juice. Customers seemed to be all sipping small glasses containing strong coffee. But it was an experience.
It was time to make our way to our hotel, the Regency.
Check-in was fast and efficient, and the staff are obliging and helpful. But the rooms have seen better days. Shabby chic sums up the décor, although the hotel is 5-star. It really needs closing for a couple of months for refurbishment.
After freshening up, we met and went to dinner. There’s a good selection, but, oh dear, why can’t these hotels get the temperature of their Ban Maries right? They need to be turned on at least an hour before service to get hot. It’s a worldwide problem. It’s also a major cause of food poisoning with food like rice sitting at a lukewarm temperature for an hour or more.
Luckily the staff were all helpful and heated my food on the planchar. There was also a good salad bar, plus fresh food cooked for you, and a tempting sweet selection.
I was glad to be reunited with one of my favourite wines, a Magon Rose.
I love a good rose wine and Magon ticks all the boxes. It’s one of Tunisia’s most popular wines and it is named after Mago, the Carthaginian who apparently wrote the first guide on wine-making. Good man!
Tunisian wine dates right back to the Phoenicians. The production died down, but didn’t stop, with the arrival of Islam. But it thrived again in the 19th Century when Italians followed by the French arrived. And now it’s on the increase all the time.
They produce a selection of quality wines, red, white and rose, at very reasonable prices.
We returned to our rooms quite early, ready for the morning’s departure. The beds are king size and oh, so comfy! I slept like the proverbial log.
Tunisair flies daily either from Heathrow Terminal 4 (Sundays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays) and from Gatwick South Terminal (Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays)
Flight duration around 2h.45mn