Thursday, March 31, 2011

another day along the way

Off this morning to Monastir.  But first I get up early and drop off laundry as well as buy an internet connection so I can post the last two days on the blog. Joined the others for a kind of bizarre breakfast where the buffet style items were served to the table – so for instance- everyone at the table got a bowl of corn flakes…LOL. Also banana yogurt and there was meat and cheese but no bread – only sweet rolls and cake.  We muddled through and headed out of town. 

About an hour later we arrived at the seaside town of Monastir and started our sightseeing at the Ribat (fortress) which overlooks the Mediterranean.  We heard about the history of the fortress, visited a small museum there and then climbed the walls to the overlooks.  Howard and Carol climbed the 88 towers steps – we will all have to rely upon their photos as no one else ventured up.  From there we went to the mausoleum of the first president of Tunisia – Habib Bourghia (may not have spelled that correctly so will have to check it later.)

Then back on the bus and head out to El Jem.  Along the way we stop at the mosaic factory where they still do the handmade mosaics in traditional ways.  From there we headed into town – clearly visible from our approach is the amphitheater which is taller and larger than anything else in the town.  We stop first at the Museum but just for bathrooms.  Then we go on to the restaurant where we had a tagine for a starter and then a grilled/roasted rabbit or lamb with vegetables stewed in a red chile sauce which was quite zippy.

After lunch we walked to the amphitheater – alleged to be the biggest one outside of Italy.  It held 33,000 spectators for its grisly entertainment.  And by the way was located in a town of 9,000 inhabitants when built (can you say boondoggle? – or maybe pork barrel? LOL)

After touring the sight and some free time we head back on the bus and go to the museum.  This is an exquisite museum of moderate size with an outstanding collection of mosaics – easily rivaling the ones we saw in the Bardo.  We are granted time to see the museum at our own pace and to visit the roman villa on the grounds.  Really first rate and a great way to end the day.

Back to Kairouan and to dinner at the hotel (the only game in town apparently.)  We leave in the morning to go into the south and west to the Sahara.  Our next three nights will be in the oasis town of Tozuer. 

Will go through the photos and see what I can get posted tomorrow AM before we leave.  I know there will be wifi in the lobby there as well so I should be able to keep up for a few more days.   Off to meet Jen for dinner.

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