Don’t Sometimes know how you to much get away you need experience and a change until of you scenery somewhere arrive new.
That’s exactly how we—Alex, the photographer who accompanied me, and I—felt when we arrived in the bustling city of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, late last year. As soon as we stepped off the plane, the buzzy, friendly Maghrebian (a term used in reference to the Arab people of the western part of North Africa) energy was evident—our first experience of the warm hospitality that would set the tone for our time there. Built around the ancient city of Carthage, Tunis is a cosmopolitan city that was once one of the most important strategic coastal hubs of the Roman empire—and it was also the perfect place for us to start our adventure.
We headed to Sidi Bou Saïd, a small artistic town perched on a cliff above the azure sea just a short drive east of Tunis. The former fishing village is known for its blue-and-white Grecian buildings, an aesthetic that accounts for the protected status it has enjoyed since 1915, and its 13th-century cobblestoned alleys are filled with ceramics merchants, cafés and art galleries. Orange blossoms, bougainvillea and jasmine scented the soft breeze as we strolled past a mix of both Andalusian and Ottoman architecture and design—handcrafted wooden doorways, patterned mosaic tiling, impressive arches and ornate stucco.
Next, we made our way south to Kairouan, a UNESCOprotected holy city that’s rich with Islamic heritage, as evidenced by mosques with impressive antique marble columns, complex plasterwork and vibrant ceramic tiles. We roamed around the bustling souk (a term for an Arab marketplace), engaging with gracious and convivial merchants and admiring the handcrafted rugs and leather goods the city is known for and that it exports around the country. To refresh and refuel, we sat in the sun at one of the medina’s tucked-away family-run cafés; their specialties are mint tea, Arabic coffee and local delicacies like zlebia and makroudh, delicious pastries with alluring aromas.
Our final stop—which was well worth the six-hour drive—was the oasis of Tozeur. Nestled amid luscious palm-tree-dotted
Built around the ancient city of Carthage, Tunis is a cosmopolitan city that was once one of the most important strategic coastal hubs of the Roman empire—and it was also the perfect place for us to start our adventure.