The MSC Cruise was an amazing cruise for my family and I because we got to explore some amazing places in a week time! As you saw on my last two posts; we went to Portofino, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain. We also went to Tunis! Tunis is the capital of the North African country of Tunisia. It was a culture shock and I believe that is what made me love it so much!
We decided to book an excursion when we arrived to Tunis just because we did not know what to expect nor did we know the area. We booked a shopping/culture excursion. We started the day quite early, at around 8:00 am. When I stepped foot off the ship I truly felt like I was in the movie Aladdin! The buildings in the Port looked just like the castle in Aladdin to me.
Ok ok, maybe I was exaggerating now that I look at a photo of the castle in Aladdin, but I still can see a slight resemblance. Anyways, as we were leaving the port we were greeted by men playing music for us with various instruments they had. Each instrument was hand-crafted and I later saw them being sold by vendors in the Medina(the city’s old quarter). I even bought a small one for myself to take home as a souvenir.
Our excursion required us to leave the Port on a bus and began by taking us to the city. Once we got to the city, we explored different government buildings, learned about the culture/religion of Tunis residents, and took many photos! Residents of Tunis are 98% Muslim, 1% Christian, and 1% other. It was actually Ramadan when we were there, so we learned that during this time Muslims refrain from food and drink from dawn until sunset. I even got to witness some praying on the street, which I thought was very neat and interesting to see. Another interesting fact we learned that day was that Tunisia had just experienced a recent revolution. You can read more about the revolution through this lovely link on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunisian_Revolution
After we visited the newer city area, we moved on to the older area which is called the Medina. The Medina is home of many mosques, palaces, museums, and monuments. It is also home of a large market. Here you will find hand-made perfumes, oils, incense, rugs, instruments, etc. It is definitely a place to go with a group though, because even locals can get lost in the hustle and bustle of this market.
After looking at many shops and learning about the hand-crafted rugs, we made our last stop in a little store where we were then escorted in a back room (sketchy I know). In this room we received a coke and a Tunisian pastry as we watched a traditional dance with music. It was amazing to watch and a great way to end the day.
I cannot forget to mention my day really ended on a good note at the Port where I got to ride a camel for the first time ever!!!!!!