Beach at Port El Kantaoui, a few paces away from my hotel (Vincci El Kantaoui)
Following on from the previous
year's week-long stay in Marrakech, the man-made resort town of Port El
Kantaoui in Tunisia seemed like a suitable enough destination to
'compare and contrast', and although this place lacked the distinctly
unique feel of Marrakech, it did seem as if the tourist infrastructure
was firmly in place. Oddly enough, this was the second visit to
Tunisia, and a 30-year gap had separated the two trips, so it is fair
to say that recollections of the first visit were but a faded, distant
memory, therefore it was enough to consider this trip a fresh
experience. Port El Kantaoui is a largely artificial resort, the
centrepiece of which is a pristine marina, where the town gets most of
its Mediterranean allure from. Nightlife is relatively muted, and you
might gain the overall impression that unless you are seeking
souvenirs, shopping is very much a low-key affair too.
Cathedral in the main street of Tunis, the nation's capital
The town has a
sizeable golf course within its environs, and I revelled in the chance
to go quad biking on a route which I honestly thought offered some of
the prettiest views of the surrounding area. Nearby Sousse provided a
much more authentic shopping experience in the shape of a bustling
medina, despite having less of an overall 'polished' allure than PEK. A
day trip to the Tunisian capital city, Tunis, proved to be an all-round
winner, since the city's main boulevard revealed it to be very much a
contender for North Africa's most pristine-looking street, and the
bazaar and market-style shopping which covered a sizeable area provided
the right kind of atmosphere for an otherworldly travel experience.
Many points of interest can be found along Tunisia's rail network, and
one such town which most definitely warranted a visit was the compact,
but significant town of El Jem, most famous for its highly attractive
ancient ampitheatre, which allows a visitor to explore the premises of
the great structure from seemingly any angle or level.
Roman-style ampitheatre at the town of El Jem - a true 'jem' of a place!
sideline trip to the pleasant resort town of Monastir rounded off the
whole proceedings nicely, and the conclusion was that a cross-section
of yet another country had been satisfactorily condensed into a
week-long stay, thus validating the whole idea of using a basic, cheap
package deal as a means of seeing the sights on a more universal scale.
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