IN HONOUR OF TUNISIA AND ITS WONDERFUL PEOPLE

This post was supposed to be about something else altogether: the gorgeous summer, wine and garden parties celebrating the Wimbledon tennis tournament with strawberries and champagne. However recent events in Tunisia, a country I have visited and have come to love very much, made me change the subject and write this short post in honour of Tunisia and the wonderful people who live there.

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Their kindness and courage deserves at least a couple of lines.

A few days ago during the terrorist attack the Tunisian people tried to save as many tourists as they could. They hid tourists inside their houses and shops, bravely facing personal danger. Risking their own lives, Tunisians formed a human shield in front of the victims, preventing the shooter from hurting more. Thank you.

The terrible tragedy of the two terrorist attacks which have recently befallen this beautiful and so welcoming country has made me very sad. It will badly affect their economy, based as it is on tourism, and hurt the Tunisians more than any other people. I’m not encouraging anyone to go there now as it is dangerous, but I am trying to make us not forget about this great country and to encourage us to return there when it’s safe again because it has so much to offer.

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I was there last March and it’s breaking my heart that two amazing places in Tunisia that I visited were hit, first the Bardo Museum and now Sousse, and that I will not be able to go back any time soon to see them again. But I have beautiful memories and photos I would like to share.

Tunisia is breath-taking land, so diverse and unique that it can’t be compared with any other country. I met there the most open and friendly people in the world. Everyone seems happy, everyone smiles and wants to talk to you, to ask where you are from and help you. As a tourist destination it has it all: the beautiful lush and green north, with emerald hills and vineyards, scorching hot desert in the south with the ever-changing sand dunes and beautiful oases, the Mediterranean coast with long, golden sand beaches and warm blue sea, and spectacular ancient Roman ruins, the like of which even Italy doesn’t have. Also Muslim historical sites, fantastic cuisine, and souks bursting with life and colour.

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The Bardo Museum has a collection of Roman mosaics I have not seen anywhere else, and is probably the biggest in the world. The desert safari was a once in a lifetime experience that I want to repeat. I would like to see the ruins of the ancient city of Douga, called by some ‘the North African Pompeii’ and the El Jem amphitheatre, because one visit was not enough. I fell in love in Tunisian sweets which I can’t get anywhere except from my friends who from time to time send me a box. Every time I bite into one of those fragrant sweets, scented with pistachio, almond and rose water, I am immediately transported to Monastir where I first tasted them.

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Our Tunisian adventure – and it was an adventure because we drove through most of the country, from Tunis in the north to Douse in the south and then sideways to Douga, seeing things neither of us expected or even imagined we would be able to experience – was so far my best holiday, and it’s a place I would like to return to. Many times I hope.TUNISIA_-19

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