Pictures Camel Trek into the Sahara and a Night with the Bedouins

IMG_6388Getting me dressed for the DesertIMG_6389IMG_6390Waiting to use the last real bathroom before I get on the Camel! IMG_6387IMG_6476IMG_6367IMG_6370IMG_6371IMG_6372IMG_6374IMG_6380IMG_6382IMG_6479IMG_6482 IMG_2945 IMG_2946Getting to know my Camel IMG_2949Getting Used to the independence of Mr. Camel IMG_2951Here I realized I didn’t give up Yoga! Oh My HIPS! IMG_2964Voila! Success! IMG_3004 IMG_6394 IMG_6395 IMG_3009 IMG_3015 IMG_3022 IMG_6393 IMG_3030 IMG_3032 IMG_6401 IMG_6400 IMG_3033 My Camel celebrated when I got off his back with a Sand Bath!!! IMG_3034 IMG_3035 IMG_3036 IMG_3037 IMG_3038 IMG_3039IMG_6403Corner of Bedouin tent IMG_6405 IMG_6406 IMG_6410 IMG_6411 IMG_6412 IMG_6413The fabulous Bedouin Cameleers IMG_6414 IMG_6415 IMG_6417 IMG_6418 IMG_6416 IMG_6419 IMG_6420 IMG_6421 IMG_6422 IMG_6429 IMG_6434 IMG_6435

DSC_5219-e Em selfie in Desert Tunisia Sahara 3 Em in desert tunisia 5 Sahara Sand IMG_6436 IMG_6437 IMG_6438 IMG_3043 IMG_3045 IMG_3047 IMG_3050 IMG_3051 IMG_3052 IMG_6438 IMG_3052 IMG_3051 IMG_6444 IMG_6448IMG_6447This shows a bit of the Wind that was raging IMG_6450 IMG_6452 IMG_3059 IMG_3060 IMG_3063 IMG_3066 IMG_3067 IMG_3069 IMG_3073 IMG_3077 IMG_3079 IMG_3088 IMG_3089 IMG_3091 IMG_3092 IMG_3099 IMG_3101 IMG_3102 IMG_3103 Em in Desert Tunisia 2 Em in Sahara IMG_3123 IMG_3149 IMG_3150 IMG_3151Sand blowing at night Breakfast Bread being made on the desert Sand IMG_3157 IMG_3158 IMG_3159 IMG_3160 IMG_3161 IMG_3162 IMG_3163 IMG_3164 IMG_3165 IMG_3166 IMG_3167 IMG_3177 IMG_3178 IMG_3181 Yum!!! IMG_3182 IMG_3183 IMG_3184 IMG_3186 IMG_3188 IMG_3194The Camels enjoy the Watermelon leftovers IMG_3197 IMG_3199time to leave the Sahara

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Final Travel Thoughts from my Journeys to Spain, Iran, Turkey & Tunisia


15 Flights

3 Trains

5 Buses

Umpteen Vans

Many Many Taxis

1 Hot Air Balloon

Several Trollies

13 Metros

2 Boats

2 Few Private Cars

2 Camels

Lots of Walknig

Some Hiking

5 Languages that I butchered but attempted nonetheless

4 (actually 5 since Iran had the Rial & the Toman) Currencies

I can’t even count how many Mosques

8 Churches

3 Synagogues

7 Palaces

4 Castles

10 + Roman Ruins(they certainly did a lot of conquering!)

10 Bazaars

Cave Hotels(But the best in Chenini Tunisia) & all sorts of other type of Hotels

Valleys & Mountains

Cities & Countrysides

Lots and Lots of deserts

Fabulous Food adventures

Some new sweets & some oldies but goodies

New Spices and Old ones used new

Too Much Cola

Fabulous Teas

Squat Toilets in all levels of cleanliness and then not so much

Throne Toilets with a twist

No Paper down the pipes…only in trash cans

Greta Music

Interesting Smells

Trash Cans constantly eluded me…seems in the US we like the idea of Public Trash Cans, the rest of the world not so much!

It’s amazing how well I could ask for directions using hand signals…broken Spanish, Farsi, Turkish, French, some version of Arabic…peppered with a little English AND a Map.

There are lots of Dopplegangers in this World…

Rules for Lines/Cues are not usually followed…especially Older Women…they just cut all lines…I am looking forward to being an unabashed Line cutter when I get old.

Each Country was distinctly Different!

Bags of wonderful unique Chocolate

I thought it would be hard dressing in a hijab and tunics BUT it turned out to be quite easy and freeing since I rarely worried about my hair! But at times, the tunics were a bit warm, especially in 115 degree desert

Very Easy area of the world to travel

Fruits & Veggies much tastier & Juicy

CNN is a far better Network outside the US…Show tons of short documentations on all sorts…

…and 6 Incredible Weeks of Memories

The world is an amazingly fabulous place…but my garden and home own my soul!

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pictures of Tunisia-the Coastal Villages of Mahida & Sidi Bou Said and the Capital of Tunis

IMG_3517 IMG_3519 IMG_3520Coastal Fishing Village of Mahida

IMG_3521 IMG_3523 IMG_3526 IMG_3527 IMG_3530 IMG_3534 IMG_3537 IMG_3539 IMG_3541 IMG_3542 IMG_3543 IMG_3545 IMG_3546 IMG_3553 IMG_3556 IMG_3557 IMG_3561 IMG_3569 IMG_3574 IMG_3576 IMG_3577 IMG_3588 IMG_3595 IMG_3602 IMG_3607 IMG_3622 IMG_3626 IMG_3628 IMG_3630 IMG_3632 IMG_3633 IMG_3641 IMG_3643 IMG_3644 IMG_3646 IMG_3649 IMG_3652 IMG_3654 IMG_3656 IMG_3658 IMG_3659 IMG_3662 IMG_3665 IMG_3667 IMG_3669 IMG_3670 IMG_3671 IMG_3672 IMG_3674 IMG_3677 IMG_3678 IMG_3679 IMG_3682 IMG_3690 IMG_3691 IMG_3699 IMG_3700 IMG_3701 IMG_3702 IMG_3705 IMG_3707 IMG_3708 IMG_3717 IMG_3718 IMG_3719 IMG_3724 IMG_3730 IMG_3731 IMG_3733 IMG_3740 IMG_3745 IMG_3752 IMG_3755 IMG_3759 IMG_3761 IMG_3763 IMG_3764WHY did the Chicken Cross the Road?

IMG_3766To Visit the other Chickens who crossed too! 

IMG_3767 IMG_3771Carthage IMG_3768 IMG_3769 IMG_3772 IMG_3773 IMG_3774 IMG_3775 IMG_3776 IMG_3777 IMG_3780 IMG_3782 IMG_3784 IMG_3788 IMG_3791 IMG_3792 IMG_3797 IMG_3798 IMG_3800 IMG_3804 IMG_3806 IMG_3809 IMG_3811 IMG_3814 IMG_3816 IMG_3818 IMG_3820 IMG_3825 IMG_3828 IMG_3830 IMG_3829 IMG_3835

Sidi Bou Said-Coastal Town close to Tunis

IMG_3836 IMG_3837 IMG_3838 IMG_3839 IMG_6498 IMG_6499 IMG_6500 IMG_6501 IMG_6503 IMG_6506 IMG_6508 IMG_6507 IMG_3841 IMG_3842 IMG_3843 IMG_3844 IMG_6512 IMG_6511 IMG_6515 IMG_3845 IMG_6513 IMG_3847 IMG_6520 IMG_6519 IMG_6521 IMG_6523 IMG_6524 IMG_3853 IMG_3857 IMG_3859 IMG_6533 IMG_6532 IMG_6535 IMG_6538 IMG_3859 IMG_3864My Guide Juanita…a far  better photg then me

IMG_3866 IMG_3875 IMG_6542 IMG_6548 IMG_3873 IMG_3876 IMG_3878 IMG_3879 IMG_3881 IMG_6554 IMG_6555 IMG_3883 IMG_3885 IMG_3890 IMG_6559 IMG_3895 IMG_3898 IMG_3901Best tea Ever(even though it’s super sweet. Mint tea with Pine Nuts

IMG_3902 IMG_3904I found this poor little guy and bought him some food…


IMG_3905 IMG_3906 IMG_3908 IMG_3909 IMG_3910 IMG_3913 IMG_3914 IMG_3915 IMG_3916 IMG_3919 IMG_3920 IMG_3925 IMG_3927 IMG_3928 IMG_3929 IMG_3930 IMG_3935 IMG_3936 IMG_3941 IMG_3940 IMG_3946 IMG_3953 IMG_3950 IMG_3956 IMG_3968 IMG_3971 IMG_3972 IMG_3973 IMG_3974 IMG_3981 IMG_3988 IMG_3984 IMG_3997 IMG_3995 IMG_6567 IMG_6571 IMG_6572 IMG_6574 IMG_6575 IMG_6577 IMG_6583 IMG_6586 IMG_6585 IMG_6589 IMG_6592 IMG_6593 IMG_6594 IMG_6596 IMG_6597 IMG_6598 IMG_6599 IMG_6600 IMG_6604 IMG_6606 IMG_6608 IMG_6609 IMG_6610 IMG_6611 IMG_6614 IMG_6616 IMG_6617 IMG_6620 IMG_6623 IMG_6626 IMG_6628 IMG_6631 IMG_6632 IMG_6633 IMG_6634 IMG_6637 IMG_6640 IMG_6641 IMG_6642 IMG_6643 IMG_6646 IMG_6650 IMG_6652 IMG_6653 IMG_6654 IMG_6659 IMG_6660 IMG_6663 IMG_6664 IMG_6665 IMG_6667 IMG_6670 IMG_6672 IMG_6676 IMG_6680 IMG_6682 IMG_6683 IMG_6684 IMG_6685 IMG_6686 IMG_6687 IMG_6688 IMG_6689 IMG_6690 IMG_6694 IMG_6695 IMG_6696 IMG_6698 IMG_6700 IMG_6702 IMG_6703

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures – The Drive North…Tozeur…Chebika and the Gorge &Waterfall…Kairouan…El Jem, the Ancient Roman Colosseum

IMG_6456 IMG_6465 IMG_6466 IMG_6469Camels Everywhere IMG_3205 IMG_3210Bathroom Stop in the desert

IMG_3214Hitchhiking to Algeria on a Hot and Windy Day!

IMG_3215 IMG_3216Dog chasing cars roadside bathroom stop

IMG_3217 IMG_3219 IMG_3222 IMG_3223 IMG_3224 IMG_3226 IMG_3228 IMG_3230 IMG_3231 IMG_3233 IMG_3234 IMG_3237 IMG_3241 IMG_3242 IMG_3244 IMG_3245 IMG_3249 IMG_3252 IMG_3256 IMG_3257 IMG_3258 IMG_3259 IMG_3261 IMG_3264 IMG_3265 IMG_3266 IMG_3270 IMG_3271 IMG_3274 IMG_3276 IMG_3277 IMG_3286 IMG_3288 IMG_3289 IMG_3291 IMG_3299 IMG_3318 IMG_3322 IMG_3329 IMG_3336 IMG_3339 IMG_3345 IMG_3346 IMG_3348 IMG_3352 IMG_3356 IMG_3359 IMG_3361 IMG_3363 IMG_3366 IMG_3368 IMG_3369 IMG_3377 IMG_3378 IMG_3380 IMG_3381 IMG_3382 IMG_3388 IMG_3391 IMG_3393 IMG_3397 IMG_3403 IMG_3406Kairouan IMG_3407 IMG_3409Kairouan Mosque

IMG_3411 IMG_3412 IMG_3414 IMG_3415 IMG_3417 IMG_3420 IMG_3421 IMG_3425 IMG_3426 IMG_3427 IMG_3431 IMG_3434Kairouan IMG_3435 IMG_3436 IMG_3441 IMG_3442 IMG_3444 IMG_3445 IMG_3446 IMG_3447 IMG_3448El Jem the Ancient

Roman Colosseum

IMG_3450 IMG_3451 IMG_3452 IMG_3456 IMG_3457 IMG_3459IMG_3464 IMG_3471 IMG_3474 IMG_3479 IMG_3482 IMG_3484 IMG_3487 IMG_3490 IMG_3491 IMG_3494 IMG_3498 IMG_3501 IMG_3502 IMG_3505 IMG_3508 IMG_3515 IMG_3509

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures of all sorts of Fun Places in Southern Tunisia and Chenini, Including Star Wars Set Pics

IMG_5693El Ghriba Synagogue (the oldest synagogue in North Africa)

IMG_5694El Ghriba Synagogue (the oldest synagogue in North Africa)


El Ghriba Synagogue (the oldest synagogue in North Africa)


IMG_5697 IMG_5698 IMG_5699 IMG_5700 IMG_5702 IMG_5705 IMG_5706 IMG_5707 IMG_5708 IMG_5709 IMG_5710 IMG_5711 IMG_5712 IMG_5713 IMG_5714 IMG_5715 IMG_5716 IMG_5717 IMG_5718 IMG_5719 IMG_5720 IMG_5721 IMG_5722 IMG_5723 IMG_5724 IMG_5725 IMG_5726 IMG_5727IMG_2731IMG_2767IMG_2762IMG_2778IMG_2808IMG_6193IMG_6189IMG_6165IMG_6140IMG_6194IMG_6205

IMG_5728 IMG_5729 IMG_5730 IMG_5731 IMG_5732 IMG_5733 IMG_5734 IMG_5735 IMG_5736 IMG_5740 IMG_5741 IMG_5744 IMG_5745 IMG_5746 IMG_5747 IMG_5748 IMG_5749 IMG_5750 IMG_5751 IMG_5752 IMG_5753 IMG_5754 IMG_5755 IMG_5756 IMG_5757 IMG_5758 IMG_5759 IMG_5760 IMG_5761 IMG_5762 IMG_5763 IMG_5764 IMG_5765 IMG_5766 IMG_5767 IMG_5768 IMG_5769 IMG_5770 IMG_5771 IMG_5772 IMG_5773 IMG_5774 IMG_5775 IMG_5776 IMG_5777 IMG_5778 IMG_5779 IMG_5780 IMG_5781

Star Wars Set and Recreation of Tataouine

IMG_2671 IMG_2669Here is a choice…continue to Tataouine or head to Tripoli…so close…

IMG_2860IMG_2868 IMG_2867 IMG_2866

IMG_2870IMG_6215 IMG_6214 IMG_6213IMG_6212IMG_6216 IMG_6217IMG_6220 IMG_6221 IMG_6222 IMG_6226 IMG_6228IMG_2892 IMG_6229

IMG_6232 IMG_6231 IMG_6230IMG_6219 IMG_6218 IMG_6217 IMG_6216IMG_6129 IMG_6128 IMG_6126 IMG_6123 IMG_6121 IMG_6119 IMG_6117 IMG_6116 IMG_6114

IMG_6112Last of Star Wars

IMG_5782 IMG_5783 IMG_5784 IMG_5785 IMG_5786 IMG_5787 IMG_5788 IMG_5789 IMG_5790 IMG_5791 IMG_5792 IMG_5793 IMG_5794 IMG_5795 IMG_5796 IMG_5797 IMG_5798 IMG_5799 IMG_5800 IMG_5801 IMG_5802 IMG_5803 IMG_5804 IMG_6092 IMG_6093 IMG_6094 IMG_6095 IMG_6096 IMG_5811 IMG_5812 IMG_5813 IMG_5814 IMG_5815 IMG_5816 IMG_5817 IMG_5818 IMG_5819 IMG_5820 IMG_5821 IMG_5822 IMG_5823 IMG_5824 IMG_5825 IMG_5826 IMG_5827 IMG_5828 IMG_5829 IMG_5830 IMG_5831 IMG_5832 IMG_5834 IMG_5836 IMG_5839 IMG_5840 IMG_5844 IMG_5849 IMG_5853 IMG_5857 IMG_5860 IMG_5861 IMG_5862 IMG_5863 IMG_5864 IMG_5865 IMG_5866 IMG_5867 IMG_5868 IMG_5869 IMG_5870 IMG_5871 IMG_5872 IMG_5873 IMG_5875 IMG_5876 IMG_5877 IMG_5878 IMG_5880 IMG_5881 IMG_5882 IMG_5883 IMG_5884 IMG_5886 IMG_5887 IMG_5888 IMG_5889 IMG_5890 IMG_5893 IMG_5894 IMG_5895 IMG_5896 IMG_5897 IMG_5898 IMG_5899 IMG_5900 IMG_5902 IMG_5903 IMG_5904 IMG_5905 IMG_5906 IMG_5907 IMG_5909 IMG_5910 IMG_5911 IMG_5912 IMG_5915 IMG_5916 IMG_5917 IMG_5918 IMG_5919 IMG_5920 IMG_5921 IMG_5922 IMG_5923 IMG_5924 IMG_5925 IMG_5926 IMG_5927 IMG_5928 IMG_5929 IMG_5931 IMG_5933 IMG_5934 IMG_5935 IMG_5936 IMG_5938 IMG_5939 IMG_5940 IMG_5941 IMG_5942 IMG_5943 IMG_5944 IMG_5945 IMG_5946 IMG_5947 IMG_5948 IMG_5949 IMG_5950 IMG_5951 IMG_5952 IMG_5953 IMG_5954 IMG_5955 IMG_5956 IMG_5957 IMG_5958 IMG_5959 IMG_5960 IMG_5961 IMG_5962 IMG_5963 IMG_5964

IMG_2813 IMG_2818 IMG_2817 IMG_2844 IMG_2857 IMG_2854 IMG_2849 IMG_2850 IMG_6104 IMG_6101 IMG_6099 IMG_6098 IMG_5965 IMG_5966 IMG_5968 IMG_5969 IMG_5970 IMG_5971 IMG_5972

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures Matmata, A Traditional Troglodyte Home Visit with dress up …

IMG_2885 IMG_2887 IMG_2902 IMG_2903 IMG_2904 IMG_6246 IMG_6252 IMG_6253 IMG_6254 IMG_6255 IMG_6256 IMG_6257 IMG_6260 IMG_6264 IMG_6265 IMG_6267 IMG_6276 IMG_6277 IMG_6278 IMG_6280 IMG_6289 IMG_6292 IMG_2914 Em and baby girl Mamata IMG_2933 IMG_2935 IMG_2937 IMG_2940 IMG_2942 IMG_2943 IMG_6303 IMG_6308 IMG_6312 IMG_6314 IMG_6321 IMG_6323 IMG_6338 IMG_6334 IMG_6339 IMG_6340 IMG_6342 IMG_6343 IMG_6345 IMG_6347 IMG_6349 IMG_6351 IMG_6352 IMG_6354 IMG_6355 IMG_6356 IMG_6357 IMG_6360 IMG_6364 IMG_6365

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures of the Fabulous Art Village of Erriadh Tunisia-June 2, 2015

IMG_5689 IMG_5690 IMG_5691 IMG_5692 IMG_5693 IMG_5577 IMG_5578 IMG_5579 IMG_5580 IMG_5583 IMG_5582 IMG_5581 IMG_5584 IMG_5585 IMG_5586 IMG_5587 IMG_5588 IMG_5589 IMG_5590 IMG_5591 IMG_5592 IMG_5593 IMG_5594 IMG_5595 IMG_5598 IMG_5597 IMG_5596 IMG_5599 IMG_5600 IMG_5601 IMG_5603 IMG_5602 IMG_5604 IMG_5607 IMG_5606 IMG_5605 IMG_5609 IMG_5608 IMG_5610 IMG_5611IMG_5619 IMG_5612 IMG_5613 IMG_5616 IMG_5615 IMG_5614IMG_5620 IMG_5621 IMG_5622 IMG_5623 IMG_5624 IMG_5625 IMG_5626IMG_5628IMG_5629IMG_5632IMG_5634IMG_5635IMG_5636IMG_5637IMG_5638IMG_5639IMG_5640IMG_5641IMG_5642IMG_5643IMG_5644IMG_5645IMG_5646IMG_5647IMG_5648IMG_5650IMG_5651IMG_5652IMG_5653IMG_5654IMG_5655IMG_5656IMG_5657IMG_5658IMG_5659IMG_5660IMG_5661IMG_5662IMG_5663IMG_5664IMG_5670IMG_5669IMG_5668IMG_5667IMG_5666IMG_5665IMG_5671IMG_5672IMG_5673IMG_5674IMG_5675IMG_5676IMG_5677IMG_5678IMG_5679IMG_5680IMG_5681IMG_5682IMG_5688IMG_5687IMG_5686IMG_5685IMG_5684IMG_5683

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tunisia and it’s Secrets…A Spectacular Journey

Tunisia and its Secrets
June 8, 2015
Why did I chose Tunisia for this trip…a few reasons…first off, I was trying to decide between Morocco and Tunisia because I really wanted to spend the night in the Sahara…I have trekked in the Himalayas and wanted a sort of opposite experience AND to see the Stars in the desert…Morocco seemed over visited and to be honest did not have a welcoming feel as I investigated(especially for a single woman)…I like places that people don’t think to visit…mainly because it feels more like a real adventure and also because usually they turn out to be the true gems…Tunisia did not disappoint and proved that final point to a tee.

Arriving in Tunisia after 4 ½ weeks of intense traveling, I was tired and worried that I would not have the stamina to handle to itinerary my hired guide had in store for me. But it turned out to be perfect. I hired a guide in hopes of getting to understand more of the country as I traveled and I would hugely recommend it. Tunisia is exceptionally easy to travel solo but you would miss the best parts as well as the back stories. Most tourists come only to Tunis and then see Carthage & Sidi Bou Said and spend the rest of the time at one of their beautiful beach resort towns of Djerba, Hammet or Sousse…but that would mean you completely miss the south and that, along with some other amazing places in the north misses the heart of Tunisia.
Juanita, a Canadian expat, who has lived here for 10 years(before the Revolution, during and after) is an incredible guide. At first I was surprised when she met me at the Djerba airport…I didn’t expect a Westerner…all my guides in these countries have been locals…BUT I must say I had the most fun with her…maybe because she understood what I was looking to experience since she once came here with wide eyes and curiosity…She didn’t just focus on Mosques and Palaces etc…She immersed me into people she knew throughout the country and little known places(for tourism) that were absolute marvels of history and time like the old Berber city of Chenini built on top of and into the mountain. It was built in the 12th century to hide from invaders so there are all sorts hidden marvels to protect them. A small group of Berbers still live in parts of it and depend on the sale of their incredible Olive Oil pressed by camels as well as Tourism, which there is definitely not enough…

Tunisia has been really struggling since the Revolution that tossed Ben Ali out. They are the epicenter of the Arab Spring. A vegetable vendor was arrested for selling his vegetables and told he could not do it anymore…as his only source of income and as Ben Ali was strangling the people more and more, he was so desperate that he set himself on fire and that sparked a huge reaction from the people and a Revolution ensued that brought the end to Ben Ali and began free elections. Tunisia just a few months ago Democratically voted in a government that seems to be working for the people. After Tunisia, the Arab spring spread to Egypt and so on…but Tunisia is the only country that has been successful…After the Revolution, the economy took a nose dives and it was just beginning to lift itself out with the great help of tourism(it’s lifeblood with cruise ships from Europe) when ISIS attacked the Bardo Museum 2 months ago and has threatened to do more damage and kill more tourists, especially those visiting Star Wars places…This have absolutely destroyed the Tunisian economy. And they are the one country fighting to stay Secular and Democratic. That is the final reason I really wanted to come here…I wanted to show support. Throughout my travels here, so many Tunisians have thanked me for coming and told me how sad they are that tourists have stopped. They take great pride in their country and feel very protective of anyone visiting. So the attack hurt them on a personal level as well…They felt shame that vandals would do such atrocities.
With no tourists here, I got to see places, usually teeming with people, all by myself…and I loved that…but I am so saddened and worried that if tourism doesn’t pick up, their economy and thereby their government will collapse and ISIS will take hold as they are hoping to do and go right across to Morocco and turn this whole region into a caliphate…Trust me when I tell you the people do NOT want that. Having said all of this, I went to all the places that had threats made against them and saw only wonderful locals who were welcoming and, like Iran would come up to me on the street just to say Thank you for visiting. They are still quite hopeful but we all need to help…The West cannot let them collapse

Ok…back to Chenini(a little Star Wars trivia is one of the Moons of Luke Skywalkers home planet was named Chenini- George Lucas shot parts of several Star Wars movies in and around Chenini, Tatouine etc)…Chenini is a mountaintop Berber Village with cave houses built into the Mountain. We arrived in Chenini and Juanita hired a local guy from our restored Berber Cave Home(now hotel) to do a guided walk of the old city…He was hysterical…he ran up these steep stairs and then would look back at us and realize that we were several flights below since, let me tell you, these were steep and slippery stairs of stone and gravel and one wrong move and I would be a ruin too! This young man was so proud of his town and would delve into some great stories of how the Berbers would allude those trying to invade their city and steal their foods…They would build huge pots in the walls and ground and then make the holes quite small. They created a system , that they knew but others didn’t, to retrieve their oils and breads etc…

He showed us their Camel Press room that is still used today to make Olive Oil…There is a circular structure & trough where a camel walks around in circles to crush the olives…then they are put into a flat sort of basket into a hole in the ground…a stone press is put on top of the basket and squishes the oil…it runs off and voila: Olive Oil!

Camels…they are quite the popular animal in the south…used for all sorts of things…I learned that people usually only own males OR females but not both…as with cats and dogs, the Tunisians don’t fix any animal except the racing camel(so while racing if a female is around the camel doesn’t just stop and throw his jockey!)…so they don’t want them intermingling until breeding time. Males are the workers on treks etc and the females are sent out into the desert to hang out, once impregnated, to have their baby and spend up to 2 years raising it. As we drove through the south, we saw many many herds of these females roaming around…they are all owned but usually just roam on their own…every once and awhile an owner will come out and check on them…or if they suspect a problem pregnancy, they will send a vet. They have quite the good life…

The Tunisians, because they are Muslim and live by Halal, are very respectful of their livestock , which means they believe an animal MUST be happy, well fed and live a very good life before they can slaughter it for food and clothes…They will not eat any animal that has lived badly or died by an accident or suffered.

So it is quite common to see goats and sheep wandering without a Sheppard in towns …But most of the time a Shepard is guiding them for their grazing everyday…as with Iceland the Sheep are everywhere grazing freely….goats too….Cows are treated the same but there are very few.

When it is time for slaughter, incense is burned as a calming feature and their throat is slit in a way that death comes instantaneously. They really are strict about this. The animal must not suffer and they must have lived a happy life until that moment.

Berbers are the main indigenous people of Tunisia…The Bedouins live in the desert or Villages. Tunisia is one of the few, if only countries to still allow the Bedouins to live in the desert, legally. When the Arabs came across this region centuries ago, they were able to capture lands fairly quickly…but not with the Berbers…It took over 50 years to capture these lands. Tunisians also speak their own version of Arabic(Interspersed with French…since they were the Overloards for quite awhile)…so if you are fluent in Egyptian Arabic, you would find it difficult to completely understand Tunisian…Juanita has lived here 10 years and still is trying to make it work…There are no books so it is a hard language to master.
Juanita took me to the Oldest Synagogue in North Africa , El Ghriba Synagogue…which dates to 572 BC…but the structure is not that old…They say that the oldest Torah is there. We also visited the Art Village of Erriadh & a Houmt Souk…we toured around Tatouine where we saw 2 Berber Villages, one which is still inhabited. Tatouine is now famous for a more recent history:Star Wars…Yep…several of the movies were shot all around these areas…We, of course, ventured into a few and I imagined how the crews squeezed into these delicate places…The locals must have been overwhelmed by the production…since their world is so quiet and simple. Actually several movies, including the English Patient have shot here…Seems film friendly.

Juanita filled me in on the lore of the Mosque of the Seven Sleepers(you might want to google it-you will learn the story of the 7 Christians and discover there is a bit of a controversy of the Cave location but in recent years archaeologists seems to have discovered Chenini is the “real” area )…and we had a lovely walk in and around it…The minaret is leaning so the Mosque is known as the “crooked” mosque. The cave part is the 7 sleepers. The Mosque is from 1323 but the cave where the 7 Christians slept is from 700AD

I had the incredible opportunity to visit with a Berber woman and her young daughter for Tea and play “dress up” in her Troglodyte home in Matmata. A troglodyte home is a house that is dug far into the ground and then caves and throughways are created for rooms…From above it looks like a big hole in the ground. It was an amazingly comfortable and cozy home..the home was quite large for her family. She & her husband had 3 kids and there were at least 5 bedrooms…she had 2 for guests…to say she was welcoming is an understatement…and her little girls was to die for cute. After a lovely fresh rosemary tea and fresh flat bread and homemade olive oil dip, she grabbed my hand and ushered me into one of the guestrooms where she proceeded to dress me up in traditional Berber Partyware…full with the jewelry and all…then she posed me on a bed to show me the life of leisure…but before I could get too comfortable she hurried me some kind of stone press…she positioned me with my legs sprawled around a very large Stone Press and put a stick in the round stone and demonstrated quite easily the rotation of the grinding she wanted me to do…Well it looked easy enough…that is until the stick was in my hand…Barley doesn’t look that hard to crush…but the 40-50 pound stone was quite a different story…after I proved a failure there, she had me climb up these stone indentations in the wall, using a knotted rope to get up… and still fully dressed in the formal garb…up to the 2nd floor to check on the chickens…yep the chickens and their chicks were all there I reported, as I shook with fear as my feet were beginning to slip…how embarrassing that would have been…but I hustled down and was undressed and put back into my regular clothes.

We could not understand each other verbally BUT we had the most wonderful afternoon and I understood her completely. I was so sad when we said our goodbyes…but Juanita and I had an appointment with the Sahara…so off we went.

Our drive to Douz, the town on the edge of the Sahara was a trip of gut wrenching twists and turns through and around and down steep desert mountain roads…and Nouri, our driver seemed to relish in the challenge of every curve…So much so both Juanita and I were both turning green.

Once we got to Douz, I was hustled into a place and asked to pick a scarf…this is not really a scarf but a Cheich…Some young man tied it on and by how tight it was, I was confident it would not come off! I felt like I was off to be an extra in the remake of Lawrence of Arabia by the looks of the Cheich.

Then it was off to meet my transport…a lovely camel whom I struggled to get on and once I accomplished it he quickly and I do mean quickly got up…Camels are quite wide AND I am not as limber as I once was…heck I have never been all that limber…It takes a bit of getting used to sitting on a camel but their gate is quite smooth…but when they are going up or down a dune, their back shifts and you NEED to hold on…It was my own private roller coaster…

2 ½ hours later, we arrived at our Bedouin camp for the night. Juanita has many cameleers (all Bedouins) who she uses…We had 4 and I was the only tourist…and Juanita as guide. They cooked the most amazing dinner over an open fire inside their Bedouin tent(made of animal skin-you couldn’t even hear the wind the tent was so well made) because the winds were blowing quite hard…The winds were so bad that they were worried we would have to find some desert brush to camp in so the tents wouldn’t blow away. Eventually they died down just enough to let me sleep in a dune, which made me happy but Juanita even happier because she really wanted me to have the Sahara experience…even if only for one night.

The sand in the Sahara is quite fine…more then any other I have seen…Let me tell you what blowing extra fine sand does NOT mix with…Contact lenses and Cameras! My lenses survived without me needing the googles but putting my new lenses in the next day made putting a contact lens in at 17 below zero in the Himalayas a breeze(and THAT wasn’t easy either)! Now my camera may be another story…not sure if it will survive…still working but the lens is kicking a lot.

We settled in on blankets on the sand…The guys made it so comfortable too…like sitting in a livingroom….then they made us a traditional dinner with Brik(a potato & egg & parsley with tuna or cream cheese in a thin pastry deep fried), then couscous with chicken and all sorts of root veggies…and this to die for dessert pastry called “Corned Gazelle” It’s a pastry with almonds in the middle put in a pastry deep fried and dipped in honey and hardened…OMG YUMMY.

After eating like queens, the Bedouins began to play music and sing and dance…and yes, I had no choice but to join them as they forced my feet to move…and no there are NO pictures. The moon was full so it took a bit more time to see the stars but when I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night I could see so many, including one shooting…but the silence was what was so spectacular…so quiet…and then the wind would whip up…I just stood there and felt the quiet and reveled in where I was standing…the Sahara! And at that moment it felt as if no one was out there…the Bedouins were a bit away and so was Juanita’s tent so I could feel that wonderful feeling of quiet alone I love so much…The Sahara is magical…and I know some may think it is only just sand…it is far more…even as I rode the camel out, I could feel something different…The desert here is magical and calming…and soothing…It surprised me. I really want to come back and do an 8 day trek to go further in and that says a lot since I was walking like a cowgirl the next day!)…The desert is white sand here but as you go deeper the color changes and the Sahara in other countries is more red…so this place is really one of the only white deserts of it’s kind in the Sahara. Other then the whistling of the wind and the whipping, every now and then, of my tent, I slept quite well…and I am NOT a camper.

Breakfast was homemade bread that I got to watch them make…looks so easy…and is delicious…but I am betting it’s a “don’t try this at home” kind of cooking.

After our desert trek, we headed northwest to Tozeur and on the way passed Chott El Jerid, the largest Salt pan. I did a little hitchhiking when I saw how close we were to Algeria(We got within 1 km of the border)….Actually many Tunisians vacation in Algeria. We walked through the Medina in Tozeur and looked around at the Medieval architecture…and then headed to an Oasis town and walked to a gorge. We had a lovely guide who was a geologist take us through the gorge. It is over 220 million years old…and he found me a lovely fossil to bring home while we were walking…He also pointed out yet another Star Wars AND English Patient area. The gorge was the area that Lucas used for the chase that is now part of Disney’s “Star Tours”.

We also visited the Tamerza waterfall, where we encountered a skinny dipping Libyan. I am not sure he was scheduled to be on the tour but he was a site to see for sure (-:

On our last couple of days we saw several Roman Ruins like El Jem Amphitheater, Carthage(theater and Roman Baths) and smatterings of ruins throughout Mahida which is a really lovely seaside(but not touristy) fishing village on the Mediterranean…We spent the afternoon wandering around, sipping tea, shopping and watching artists work the looms and spending the night on the ocean…listening to the ocean was so sweet…especially after just spending time in the desert…

Our last day was to Tunis and Sidi Bou Said, which is a gorgeous seaside town within 15 miles of Tunis that is known for it’s White and Blue motif…The white & blue is really to keep the structures cool…but has become so popular that many villages use it and Sidi Bou Said requires it…very Mediterranean. Here we slowed down even more and had tea overlooking the Mediterranean while taking lots of pictures…After a nice last meal together, Juanita found me a local guide in Tunis who took me to the Bardo Museum and around the ancient Medina(dating from the 700’s). Ahmed was my guide and he spent hours taking me to many places around Tunis and even a few we probably were not supposed to be in…One antique shop we climbed several floors with many gorgeous antiques until we got on the roof…and then the owner came up and by the tone of his voice I could tell Ahmed was getting yelled at…and we headed down…

Tunisia may be my favorite of all the places on this journey…and that is really a hard call but it just offered the most diverse experience….and all I can say is that I have had the most spectacular time here in Tunisia and never once felt afraid…as a matter of fact just the opposite. Please know that it is in the Koran and very much a foundation of Islam to be welcoming to all strangers and protect those who are your guests…So far, I have visited 3 distinctly different Muslim nations in different areas(Iran in the Middle East, Turkey straddling Europe & Asia & Tunisia in North Africa) and ALL, with no exception has been unbelievably friendly.

Traveling to Europe or the Americas or Asia or even the US, I have never felt as safe and welcomed as I have on this trip…so please, if you want a wonderful experience with everything from fabulous beaches and resorts(which I didn’t partake but saw) to Adventures in the Sahara or Mountains…or a wonderful Cultural experience with the Berbers…or a historical journey through the Roman times…or a geeky Star Wars tour of location shooting…Tunisia is the place…Easy to get to and worth a visit…5-7 days will give you enough of a taste that you will want to return for sure.

Well this is the end of my adventure and I start my transiting back to the states later today…I hope I have inspired a few ideas for future travel or at least you have enjoyed a bit of armchair fun…

I will do one final last impressions of my 4 places when I return home…And I will add all these to my blog along with tons of pictures of each place so you can just click on that link and then read whichever one interests you and looks at pictures from the various areas.

Thanks for reading my long winded stories.

I can feel a long sleep in my future…and I can’t wait to see my feline friends…if they haven’t forgotten me.

Your traveling friend

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pictures Turkey-May 23-31

IMG_4432 IMG_4430 IMG_4436 IMG_1723 IMG_1726 IMG_1725 IMG_4440 IMG_4448 IMG_4449 IMG_1730 IMG_1734 IMG_1736 IMG_4457 IMG_4460 IMG_4471 IMG_1738 IMG_4502 IMG_4511 IMG_4518 IMG_4523 IMG_4525 IMG_4527 IMG_4529 IMG_4532 IMG_1741 IMG_4537 IMG_1745 IMG_1748 IMG_1750 IMG_4542 IMG_1752 IMG_4544 IMG_4546 IMG_4550 IMG_4552 IMG_1759 IMG_1760 IMG_4552 IMG_1761 IMG_1762 IMG_1766 IMG_4565 IMG_4569 IMG_4573 IMG_1776 IMG_1786 IMG_1788 IMG_4603 IMG_4606 IMG_4647 IMG_1803 IMG_4652 IMG_4653 IMG_4656 IMG_4668 IMG_4669 IMG_4672 IMG_4676 IMG_4689 IMG_4697 IMG_4709 IMG_4713 IMG_4729 IMG_1812 IMG_1818 IMG_1825 IMG_1830 IMG_1838 IMG_1852 IMG_1853 IMG_1857 IMG_1860 IMG_1862 IMG_1863 IMG_4759 IMG_4764 IMG_4770 IMG_4775 IMG_1869 IMG_1872 IMG_4786 IMG_4795 IMG_4793 IMG_4820 IMG_4824 IMG_4827 IMG_4830 IMG_4833 IMG_1879 IMG_4837 IMG_4841 IMG_4847 IMG_4853 IMG_4855 IMG_4857 IMG_4859 IMG_4866 IMG_4871 IMG_4883 IMG_4884 IMG_4890 IMG_4892 IMG_4899 IMG_4901 IMG_4902 IMG_4911 IMG_4913 IMG_4916 IMG_4915 IMG_1887 IMG_1891 IMG_4923 IMG_4924 IMG_1900 IMG_1903 IMG_1911 IMG_1916 IMG_1922 IMG_1930 IMG_1932 IMG_1950 IMG_1952 IMG_1962 IMG_1966 IMG_4928 IMG_4929 IMG_1970 IMG_1976 IMG_1974 IMG_1977 IMG_4937 IMG_4944 IMG_4947 IMG_1987 IMG_1990 IMG_1992 IMG_4948 IMG_1999 IMG_2003 IMG_2042 IMG_2046 IMG_2054 IMG_2084 IMG_2085 IMG_2118 IMG_2130 IMG_2132 IMG_2142 IMG_2146 IMG_2148 IMG_2169 IMG_2177 IMG_2184 IMG_2190 IMG_2191 IMG_4951 IMG_4954 IMG_5044 IMG_5048 IMG_5051 IMG_5050 IMG_5055 IMG_5057 IMG_5058 IMG_5062 IMG_5111 IMG_5140 IMG_5142 IMG_5138 IMG_5220 IMG_5224 IMG_5232 IMG_5234 IMG_5236 IMG_5235 IMG_5237 IMG_5239 IMG_2218 IMG_2219 IMG_2222 IMG_5243 IMG_5260 IMG_5254 IMG_5262 IMG_2253 IMG_2256 IMG_2269 IMG_5264 IMG_5271 IMG_5276 IMG_5274 IMG_5282 IMG_2298 IMG_2327 IMG_2338 IMG_5310 IMG_2368 IMG_2380 IMG_2382 IMG_2390 IMG_5305 IMG_5327 IMG_5326 IMG_5334 IMG_5343 IMG_5352 IMG_2410 IMG_2412 IMG_2428 IMG_5378 IMG_5394 IMG_5408 IMG_5413 IMG_5421 IMG_5423 IMG_2461 IMG_2467 IMG_2469 IMG_2470 IMG_2472 IMG_2473 IMG_2476 IMG_2480 IMG_2483 IMG_2491 IMG_2502 IMG_2517 IMG_2534 IMG_2540 IMG_2543 2015-05-31 11.55.46 IMG_2552 2015-05-31 11.55.41 2015-05-31 11.33.49 IMG_2560 IMG_2561 2015-05-31 12.14.14 IMG_5425 IMG_2563key

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ephesus Et Al

Ephesus Et Al
June 1, 2015
Well our departure from Cappadocia to Pamakkule was by a 9 pass Mini Van with the 4 Singaporean women and the other couple from Singapore…We had the same driver, who we called Poncho…seemed to be a nickname he picked up because of his way with women. (-:
Well he treated all of us as if we were quite special…He bought me a lovely little bracelet with the “evil eye” to ward off bad spirits…so far so good…Our first stop was what is probably the most Conservative Muslim City in Turkey(and far more then anything I saw in Iran) called Konya. I think we really stopped here because the drive south was 8 hours and it’s almost the half way point…AND it happens to be the adoptive home of Rumi, the Poet and Sufi Mystic who founded the Whirling Dervish. Konya was also one of the most important trading centers on the Silk Road. But having said all of that, we all thought it was just OK…Mainly because Konya is a huge city and the Rumi Mosque and museum were packed with kids and other tourists. But I am told there are a lot more interesting things there…we just didn’t see them…But they do have a new High Speed Rail…soooo….The drive was uneventful and rainy most of the way…poor Poncho had to turn around and go back for another set of tourists…crazy…. and we finally got to Pamukkale at 6:30p. I was lucky enough to stay at the only Thermal Pool resort…The others stayed at different hotels….and it turned out we all ended up in different tour groups 
the next day…Mine was jammed packed with 14 people from Argentina, Chile, Singapore, Geneva, Indonesia…but I really enjoyed it because it offered a chance to meet more people with new perspectives…That is my favorite thing about traveling solo…you actually do meet and chat with more people. My friends, who I met the first day in Istanbul(from Ireland but lives in Bangkok and her Thai friend) keep teasing me about how many people I keep running into who I know from various areas…They tend to stay together more and don’t socialize except with me (-: And we ended up on several tour legs together as well as at the same hotel in Istanbul. Ok back on track now…:
Pamukkale is really known for the Calcium Thermal pools…Usually they are so very white but there has been quite a bit of rain so they were not as majestic as usual and a little yellowish.
Pamukkale is the home of St Philips Tomb(you know the same St. Philip of the Gnostic Gospels who writes of Mary Magdeline as an Apostle and funder of Jesus’s travels!) St. Philip came here to preach and was stoned to death…but they seem to have thought enough of him to create a monument for him by way of a tomb. There are also many Roman ruins and one very large Theater…as well as many tombs of the dead…although most of them were severely damaged…Seems the Romans were big on cremation so that is why no bodies can be seen in the broken tombs….unlike my Salt Man back in Iran who was a beauty at 1700 years old! Maybe we should all consider a little more salt if it will preserve us that well! (-:
After wondering around the Ruins, I hiked up a bit and then headed down to the Calcium Thermal pools…dipped my tootsies in but decided that was as far as this old body wanted to go. (-:
After another full day, we headed back to a meet point for my ride to pick me up and take me to Ephesus…That is where I met up and saw my old Singaporean friends from the Cappadocia and Konya tours…Back together again with some new faces from new places…
The hotel in the Ephesus area was spectacular…on the water…very relaxing for the few hours there!
We had thunderstorms every night since Cappadocia but the days have been great…until Ephesus…but we were spared a total drenching…
I must admit, I do tire of Churches, Mosques, Palaces etc…But I never tire of Ruins and artifacts…maybe that’s because I get lost in my imagination of whose footsteps I am walking in…who stood in these same places…Sometimes Castles offer the same feeling but just looking at those old artifact and imagining who wore that necklace 2000 years ago…or drank from that glass…or, in the case of Ephesus, sat on those communal toilets!

Oh I forgot…before we went to Ephesus, we went to the Virgin Mary’s house of her final years. Seems Jesus(there are verses 26-27 in John.) asked John to take care of his mother…well John was off to spread the word and was heading to Ephesus. Fearing if he left her behind she would suffer a terrible fate since Christians tended to not do well in those early days…He took her with him to Ephesus…Now there are various theories on this, as our guide pointed out..but they feel fairly certain the facts lend to the truth that she was here…First off, the house…2nd and more importantly is there is quite a bit of archaeological evidence from the fact that the 3rd ecumenical council was there and it was ALL about Mary, which made no sense unless she was there…They also built a Basilica in the 2nd century named after her to honor her life here…and there have been many Popes, including Pope John Paul & Benedict who have made pilgrimages here and left offerings…Soooooo

John was stoned to death and as I mentioned earlier, he is buried in Pamukkale…St. Paul came to Ephesus and preached for 2 years…there are lots of stories about him too…quite a pushy fellow so thought! (-;

After a long day of touring off to the airport we went…the driver took us a lovely route around the coast…reminded me of the Pacific Coast Highway drive…gorgeous.
Our flight was delayed but the 5 of us(me, the Singaporean couple, a girl from Singapore and her traveling friend from Geneva)entertained ourselves…
There was a complete mix up with my transit pick up and once again I got to the hotel quite late…must say, I felt rather empowered when I was giving the driver directions to my hotel in ISTANBUL!!!

I had 2 free days but I had not been to the Grand Bazaar and I had booked a boat trip up the Bosphoros to the Black Sea on Saturday…
I don’t want to offend those that love shopping and Bazaars BUT just like with Churches and Mosques, I had seen enough…YES, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the Grandfather of them all BUT I had zero energy for it…so I hustled back to be sure I wasn’t late for my Boat pick up.
Istanbul sits between Asia and Europe on the Bosphoros so I got a chance to shop a little in Asia when they dropped us off for a bit on the Asia side on the way back…I think this trip will cover 3 Continents for me…although they are 3 I have already been to but still 3 nonetheless.

I will do a last impression blog tomorrow and I do have some insights…I spent many meals and a lot of time chatting up people from all over…I had breakfast twice with an older Syrian woman who now lives in Saudi and her daughter who works in Southern Turkey for a Humanitarian group helping the Refugees…amazing stories…heartbreaking…I had dinner with a woman from Siberia Russia, spent several hours talking Economics and Politics with 2 Chinese businessmen on the boat…these are among the truly many people on this Turkey trip I have had the privilege to learn from…My brain is a fog right now so I hope while I am traveling tomorrow  to Tunisia(all day and night 5am-midnight!…via Barcelona & Paris) I will find some time to compile my thoughts…
But I can truly say that Turkey is incredible and if you are at all interested in History this is a must see country…and it is useful to get guided tours along the way…and Istanbul is one fabulous collection of people, unlike any other….
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Blog at