Country Information: The capital of Tunisia is Tunis and the official language is Arabic. Many Tunisians learn to speak French fluently as well. About 12 million people live here and the main religion is Islam. In the capital, Tunis, travelers can walk around the Medina to get a taste of the culture, restaurants, and old shops. Stay alert, as some people may approach tourists pretending to be friendly but actually will want to show travelers around in exchange for money at the end.
When flying into Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, one cannot help but notice the stark visual difference to this city of 2 million inhabitants. It is painted white, and I mean the entire city is white! An interesting combination of European in Moorish architecture awaits.
Tunisia grows a lot of wheat, and it is very proud to be the fourth largest producer of all of oil in the world! With 86 million olive trees (did you know olive trees only produce olives every two years – who knew?) … There’s plenty of shade to be found with all of these trees. Tunisian’s are known to be excellent fisherman, and do so on 900 miles of shoreline. And with consuming fish and olive oil Tunisians have The highest life expectancy in all of Africa. Speaking of, this is also a young country with 45% of the population under the age of 20.
Hey, did you know that Muslims follow the lunar calendar, which has 11 days less than the Christian calendar? It also begins in June of the year 622, 10 years before Mohammed died in 632 A.D. therefore, as of 2019, they are living in the year 1397 (2019 – 622). Who knew?
Here is another interesting tidbit for you: Ramadan is in the ninth month of the Muslim year and lasts either 29 or 30 days. This year it started May 17 so next year it will start 11 days earlier. The pilgrimage to Mecca or Medina is two months and 10 days after the end of Ramadan.
Took a nice trip about two hours through the countryside of Tunisia to see the Roman ruins at Douga. They are well preserved and it was definitely worth the trip. However these ruins pale in comparison to those at Leptis Magna in Libya.
The highlight of my time in Tunisia was visiting the Medina (old city), and souks (markets). I’ve seen a lot of souks in my travels and this was one of the best and cleanest. Learned all about the “chechia”, The traditional hats worn by Tunisians. Also made some fig newtons with some locals!
After being on the road for a while I decided to splurge and stayed at the FS Hotel, a brand new luxury hotel on the ocean. It was an amazing hotel and definitely earned its five star distinction. The rooms were oversized and all faced the ocean. And, with a 3 to 1 dinar to dollar conversion rate, the price was right at this hotel!
On an off day, while waiting for my next flight to Niger, I played golf at the Residence club golf course, a five minute drive from the Four Seasons. I didn’t expect much, and that’s pretty much what I got. The course was decent … but the greens were fluffy. What can you expect when temperatures routinely hit 120°F!
As the French were in Tunisia for around 50 years that is their official language. And they don’t speak much English here – even at the Four Seasons! And, this is not a service oriented culture … So if you’re heading here on holiday, beware!