The Pilgrimage to MatAmata

Matmata Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 94 › view all entries
Having brought my letter 'A' with me to 'fix' up a sign
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am traveling with the bare minimum of clothing, but one of the ‘luxury’ items I have taken with me is my ‘What’s the Matamata with you bro?’ t-shirt and while I was in Matmata, Tunisia I got to wear it.

Matamata, New Zealand - the location for the Shire in the blockbuster movie Lord of the Rings and the place where Frodo Baggins leaves on his adventure to Middle Earth to go to Mordor to rid the world of the evil Sauron.

Matmata, Tunisia - the setting for Planet Tatooine in the epic film, Star Wars and it was the place Luke Skywalker left to save the universe and battle Darth Vader.

Matamata New Zealand is a booming town in the middle of the North Island that is frequented by movie buffs wanting to have their picture taken beside the statue of Gollum, or just enjoy the casual dining and shopping within the town and tour the Shire.
The Matamata Chronicle


Matmata Tunisia is a quiet town in the middle of Tunisia popular with fans wanting to visit the Hotel Sidi Driss (also known by it’s more common name ‘The Star Wars Hotel’) and have their photo taken outside the room George Lucas stayed in (Room 8) when he was making the first movie ‘A New Hope’ in 1977.

But this is not where the similarities cease.

Many moons ago (two for the Star Wars fans), I went to the local high school in Matamata and to link us together completely, I was born on the day Star Wars Episode IV was released in America. It was only a matter of time I came home.

No longer an obscure village, Matmata, Tunisia is a well-known tourist destination with many overseas visitors coming to visit the area and the hotel.
In fact, a result of this tourist influx has meant a lot of the local Berber people have left their traditional troglodyte homes and moved up and into modern houses out of Matmata itself. Some of them now charge money to enter their former homes, similar to an open-air museums.

So how did I find the town visiting the town that had been described to me as ‘an unusual place and you are unlikely to encounter a similar town anywhere in the world?’ I felt like a knight on a crusade who finally got to reach the small township in Tunisia after a long and boring journey which included three hours sitting on a border and a long drive through the mountains in the pitch black of night with steep drops to the ground below; I was happy to be home. I had reached the Holy Grail.
Hotel Sidi Driss (The Restaurant section)
Furthermore the locals received me like I was a long lost member of their family. Having saved my clean t-shirt for this momentous occasion, the locals (and tourists alike) spent the evening and following day asking me about Matamata.

A real highlight of the visit was when I got to see the library at the Hotel Sidi Driss. Prior to this trip the Matamata Chronicle had written an expose on my plans. Ok, sure it wasn’t an expose, but how often do you get to use this word in everyday speech? The answer is never and I really wanted to use it.

Anyway, the Chronicle had written an article about my travel plans and how I was going to visit Matmata and I had taken this along with me. Oh yes, as well as a large letter ‘A’ for any Matmata signs I could see to pose in front of (MatAmata). Therefore during my visit to the library, and after explaining our link, they asked to see the Matamata Chronicle article I had been traveling with. The troglodytes are now in possession of a recent Matamata Chronicle, which as if perfectly planned, had the front page about the Lord of the Rings. The two worlds had become one. The planets had aligned.

Having spent one night in Matmata, it is time to more on, because the force is strong in this one. Oh come on, you couldn’t really expect me not to add some Star Wars quotes in there could you? I was just a little disappointed I didn’t visit 15 days earlier so I could use my ever-popular line (read corny line), ‘May the fourth be with you’.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am traveling with the bare minimum of clothing, but one of the ‘luxury’ items I have taken with me is my ‘What’s the Matamata with you bro?’ t-shirt and while I was in Matmata, Tunisia I got to wear it.

Matamata, New Zealand – the location for the Shire in the blockbuster movie Lord of the Rings and the place where Frodo Baggins leaves on his adventure to Middle Earth to go to Mordor to rid the world of the evil Sauron.

Matmata, Tunisia – the setting for Planet Tatooine in the epic film, Star Wars and it was the place Luke Skywalker left to save the universe and battle Darth Vader.

Matamata New Zealand is a booming town in the middle of the North Island that is frequented by movie buffs wanting to have their picture taken beside the statue of Gollum, or just enjoy the casual dining and shopping within the town and tour the Shire.

Matmata Tunisia is a quiet town in the middle of Tunisia popular with fans wanting to visit the Hotel Sidi Driss (also known by it’s more common name ‘The Star Wars Hotel’) and have their photo taken outside the room George Lucas stayed in (Room 8) when he was making the first movie ‘A New Hope’ in 1977.

But this is not where the similarities cease.

Many moons ago (two for the Star Wars fans), I went to the local high school in Matamata and to link us together completely, I was born on the day Star Wars Episode IV was released in America. It was only a matter of time I came home.

No longer an obscure village, Matmata, Tunisia is a well-known tourist destination with many overseas visitors coming to visit the area and the hotel. In fact, a result of this tourist influx has meant a lot of the local Berber people have left their traditional troglodyte homes and moved up and into modern houses out of Matmata itself. Some of them now charge money to enter their former homes, similar to an open-air museums.

So how did I find the town visiting the town that had been described to me as ‘an unusual place and you are unlikely to encounter a similar town anywhere in the world?’ I felt like a knight on a crusade who finally got to reach the small township in Tunisia after a long and boring journey which included three hours sitting on a border and a long drive through the mountains in the pitch black of night with steep drops to the ground below; I was happy to be home. I had reached the Holy Grail. Furthermore the locals received me like I was a long lost member of their family. Having saved my clean t-shirt for this momentous occasion, the locals (and tourists alike) spent the evening and following day asking me about Matamata.

A real highlight of the visit was when I got to see the library at the Hotel Sidi Driss. Prior to this trip the Matamata Chronicle had written an expose on my plans. Ok, sure it wasn’t an expose, but how often do you get to use this word in everyday speech? The answer is never and I really wanted to use it.

Anyway, the Chronicle had written an article about my travel plans and how I was going to visit Matmata and I had taken this along with me. Oh yes, as well as a large letter ‘A’ for any Matmata signs I could see to pose in front of (MatAmata). Therefore during my visit to the library, and after explaining our link, they asked to see the Matamata Chronicle article I had been traveling with. The troglodytes are now in possession of a recent Matamata Chronicle, which as if perfectly planned, had the front page about the Lord of the Rings. The two worlds had become one. The planets had aligned.

Having spent one night in Matmata, it is time to more on, because the force is strong in this one. Oh come on, you couldn’t really expect me not to add some Star Wars quotes in there could you? I was just a little disappointed I didn’t visit 15 days earlier so I could use my ever-popular line (read corny line), ‘May the fourth be with you’.
Having brought my letter A with …
Having brought my letter 'A' with…
The Matamata Chronicle
The Matamata Chronicle
Hotel Sidi Driss (The Restaurant s…
Hotel Sidi Driss (The Restaurant …
Matmata
photo by: maycek