NEWSFLASH: flights have resumed from The UK to Sousse and Hammamet. Some avid Tunisia fans from the UK were still making the pilgrimage to PEK via France and Germany (and apparently paying through the nose to do so) however not enough for the Tunisian locals to get/remain sick of us. In fact, we were greeted with ‘welcome back’s and ‘it is good to have English back here’s everywhere we went.
On a personal level, it was surreal to revisit Tunisia after first holidaying there in 2009 and following the heart wrenching 2015 terror attacks. Nevertheless, it seems things have been ticking over and not much has changed in Port El Kantaoui. For sure, things are quiet but still beautiful. And there are still fucking pirate ships, leering… watching… waiting to take you on a swashbuckling adventure on which you’re likely to throw up and be verbally abused by men in bandanas.
Our holiday, in June, was mine and my family’s first proper holiday, all together, since Spain 2014. And even back then, I actually gatecrashed their holiday and probably shouldn’t have been helping myself to the all inclusive as I wasn’t TECHNICALLY a guest of the hotel they were staying in.
This time, Mum, Dad and I (plus our family friends) arrived early on day 1 – some of us in better states than others thanks to an impromptu drinking sesh with friends in Blyth the night before. Others being, yours truly.
My brother and his girlfriend weren’t arriving until lunchtime the next day, so naturally we all got smashed and fell asleep in the afternoon sun. In true Benidorm fashion we blistered the shit out of our shoulders, because a) we all thought wearing factor fucking nil was a good idea and b) when we’re at home, we’re vampires and none of us have seen sunlight since that holiday in 2014.
Once the remaining two of the party arrived, we wasted no time in getting the (£5 Poundland) unicorn inflatable out of the packet. I also used my secret weapons* to entice bar staff into delivering our drinks to the pool side as opposed to making several trips backwards and forwards myself without a tray for our expanding entourage (now attracting other English folk, as English folk on holiday do).
Occasionally we took strolls down to the Port, where we would almost certainly drink beer at 10am and attempt to order ‘nuts for the table’ – to no avail most of the time, I might add. One night we did get strawberries instead of nuts and a banana milkshake instead of a sex on the beach. Pretty sure we still paid the price of a SOTB. Thankfully the lack of alcohol did not hinder Audrey in coercing the whole cafe, and all the walkers by, into flossing… incorrectly.
The boat trip we booked at, and which departed from, the Port cost a mere £7 for an hours sail out to sea. This was more than long enough for the Seasick Dave’s of the group (Dad… mostly) and even gave plentiful time to dive in and swim around amongst the fishes.
The trip included soft drink refreshments, and fish food to throw over when we stopped. The catamaran itself had windows under the waterline, and if we had been lucky we might have seen dolphins. So they say, anyway. The deckhands and captain were fun and friendly, so I’d recommend a trip with the Albatross.
ANYWHO, aside from boat trips and beer, we met camels and cats. SO. MANY. CATS. And the cats were cuuuuute. Mum always said, ‘never touch an animal you don’t know,’ but then she feeds camels ice cream, so I dunno if I trust her anymore.
On that food note, we took a break from Tunisian cuisine (which although our hotel was extremely budget, we ALWAYS found something tasty to eat at all meals) and hailed a taxi down to the Hard Rock Cafe. This wasn’t here when I visited in 2009; at least, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t choose Hard Rock after multiple disappointing meals for extortionate prices but I have to get this off my chest…
IT WAS FUCKING INCREDIBLE.
10/10 would recommend. Staff wonderful. Meals huge. Sharer platter was ridiculously good. Sangria enjoyable. Like, I’m salivating just thinking about it. Amazeballs.
When we weren’t eating or drinking, or boating or feeding camels dairy products that they probably can’t digest, we went shopping! We spent two mornings at two different markets in Sousse. The first morning was geared towards tourists, with stalls set up within the medina walls. The second (called the camel market – not necessarily where camels are marketed) was more of a livestock boot sale, with precious little puppies hanging out of baskets and tiny birds calling from ornate cages. Both were fun. Both felt authentic. Both were colourful, if a little smelly.
And I wanted everything. Except the wasp covered nougat. That shit cray.
Most afternoons were filled with card games, and rum that tasted like vodka and vodka that tasted like rum and sometimes even whisky and milk because my Mum is a fucking renegade. And when things started to become too lary, we… actually, no we just continued getting more lary. But it’s ok, because we apologised right?
Now, I don’t know about you but I feel this post is getting rather wordy and I’m getting totes emosh because I miss my lovely family. So I’m just going to leave some REALLY ATTRACTIVE pictures down here as a highlight reel for our fabulous adventure in North Africa. Until next time, Tunisia.
PS. Thank you to my wonderful and supportive Mum and Dad, without whom this trip wouldn’t have happened, and without whom this trip would not have been the same fantastic experience. I love you X
*Manners and a healthy tip, what the hell were you thinking?!