"A Dark Swede in Sousse Tunisia" Darkswede's Profile
I was once apon a time I was an Scandinavian Head rep. for a major Tour operator in different parts of the world incl. Tunisia.
I am today based in Stockholm Sweden but live part time in Sousse (Tunisia) due to the fact that I have my holiday home in this country, by the mediteranian sea and spend all most all my time off of work here.
Tunisia is a very different world to most westerners even though it might be the most openminded and westernized, arabic/moslim country in africa.
Having worked in the Travel industry there I can say it mostly adds up to either u hate it or love it. There is selldom anything inbetween.
Me having had the opertunity to dig deeper in to this country and its culture and history, I must say I love it.
It has so much to offer its visitors, all from wild pig hunting in the Atlas mountains to sun slicks white sandy beaches, roman history and findings, wonderful antiques and the great experiance of the all mighty Sahara desert, and much much more.
Having looked at different inputs and questions about Tunisia, I have seen here that many travelers are in dought about if they should choose Marocco or Tunisia for there travel experiance.
Well I have been alot to both country´s, and too me they are just as fare or different from each other as USA and ENGLAND. If u include the cuisine of these to country´s than they drift even more apart in my opinion. the choice depends on what you want to get out of your vacation and what u want to experiance.
Marocco being more there for the rich and famouse for many years now, has also a more mystique thouch to it that Tunisia, whith 1000 and 1 night city´s like Marrakesh and Fez.
Marocco is also alot more expensive than tunisia, and To find the 1000 and 1 night feeling of the country you would have to travel inland away from the costal areas.
Tunisia I would recomend for the first timers to an arab nort african country, its infra structure is great, its easy to travel around on your own with bus or train or louage or even by air. And you will find some beutyful upscale small traditional accomodations/hotels around the country for a much better price than in Marocco.
Crime is also much lower than in Marocco and the beaches are also much better compaired to the Maroccain Atlantic coast if u ask me.
Shopping...... if thats what u want... interior design stuff.... then Marocco is the Place to go. Tunisia gets pale compaired to Marocco in this matter sorry to say, most things found in one shop in a medina in Tunisia is also to be found in the next shop and the next and the next. And still the shop owners complain every year that the tourists dont buy enough and are all ways holding back. I say go on a study trip to Marocco guys and learn from your shop owner colleuges and maybe things will change even for you.
Feel like doing a trip around Tunisia on your own? Well why not take the train to Julius Cesars Amfi theater in El Jem, or take the train or louage to the capital Tunis and visit its huge Medina, or the worlds biggest mosaic collection at the Bardo Museum or Concore Carthage like the romans did.
You can do alot on your own ... the transportation network in Tunisia works!!!
Go to the state owned railway´s website and find out where u can go by train and what the time table is for didderen lines.
Sorry to say but the websites English section has been under construction for the last couple of years ;0) So use the French one. Its easy to understand even if you like me dont speak much more than bon jour.
then click on Horaires for the different time tables for different lines, grandes lignes = major or big lines going through the country, and regional lignes for thoses around the Tunis capitol area.
I recomend to take a first class or even better a Comfort class ticket because in these classes the aircondition works better and they are less crowded and the price difference is minimal.
Bus... = not fun anymore after the first 1-2 hours, I did it to Douz (the entrance to Sahara) once and dont think I will do it again all the way from Sousse, 8 hours or so. But OK... you Can take the train (comfort class) to Gafsa and then the bus from there ...
Anyway bus is a functional way of traveling in Tunisia even though the train is more comfortable it does not go to all places of interest.
In addition to buses you can always take a Louage.
white taxi cars that go between two places or city´s from special louage stations and are shared with others, there are no time tables, the car leavs when it is full or if you pay for the empty seats. Warning, many louage drivers drive like crazy and have many working hours and litle sleep behind them. And there is not much room for big people and there luggage in the car. Being born American its allowed for me to say that ;0)
Before going on a bus trip or a louage trip on your own, contact the office du Tourism in your vacation town and get the latest info on times and prices and hepl with hotel recomendations in your coming destinations. The tourist offices are VERY good and helpful and English is no problemas there. Make sure that u get the phone number and adress to the different tourist offices where u are going as well.
Petit Taxi´s = yellow small taxi cabs.
They are driving around picking up people that hawl then down on the street, I dont think its possible to call a taxi unless u have a cell number to a driver, wich is good to have by the way during the busy summer months when it at times can be hard to find a taxi.
So in the beginning of your stay, if u find a nice, safe , good , honest driver :0) tip him abit extra and ask for his cell number and if he is interested to drive u on a regular basis. In Sousse I know that after 8pm there is an extra night charge to the main fare. think its 30% more. but I am not sure. What I am sure of is that it is against Tunisian Law to drive a taxi without a working/fuctioning Taxameter, so always ask and then also check so that the couter/taxameter is working, if not tell the driver to stop and change cabs, I know I always do. And this especialy aplies to taxis from the airport to your accomodation.
Yellow taxi´s with a blue stripe on them and a taxi sign onmy in arabic is something like a louage but goes between too areas or towns in the regions area, so these can not be taken like a petit taxi (yellow cab) from one adress to the other.
So pack your night bags and get out there and experiance Tunisia the Tunisian way.
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