Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tunisia Trip Day 8

I'm back from Africa and posting the rest of the trip from home.

After a night of sleeping is a stuffy "cave" bedroom, we're off again. Our driver took us to see a few more surrounding hotels, including Hotel Sidi Driss where George Lucas chose to shoot scenes from the original Star Wars. It's pretty run down now (almost 37 years ago) but you can still see some of the sets. Our destination tonight is Monastir which is on the eastern coast... so lots of driving today.

Pool at our hotel

Real Berber-style cave hotel

Hotel Sidi Driss Star Wars set

Goodbye Matmata

Crazy Libyan drivers... though according to our driver, not as crazy as Algerian drivers

The first stop of the day was El Djem, a town with the third largest Roman amphitheater left standing and in very good condition. We arrived in town and had lunch at a restaurant right across the street. Workers were setting up a stage on the floor of the amphitheater; pretty cool that they are still using it as a venue after 2,000 years. There was also a museum nearby where they moved all the artifacts found at nearby archaeological sites.

El Djem amphitheater; maybe Gladiator dude went through here on his way to Rome

Camel nap time

Grilled lunch

Inside the amphitheater

Some figurines at the museum


... and more mosaics

The rest of the day was spent driving to Montasir. We did make one stop to see the mausoleum for Habib Bourguiba, the founder of modern Tunisia. Afterwards, we drove to our 5-star resort for the night, Hotel Amir Palace. Once again, I was very disappointed: tired looking rooms, room right over hotel disco (loud music until 2am), room smelling like cigarette smoke, and no air conditioning. Tried to change rooms but front desk guy was less than helpful. Wifi also only available in lobby and sucked; there appeared to be only one wireless router and hundreds of people were trying to connect. Lame.

Mausoleum for Bourguiba and his extended family

Not sure what these were but they were in the same square as the mausoleum

Moonrise over fort

The person that is handing out official hotel ratings should be fired... I've stayed in real 5-star hotels before (Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La) and Hotel Amir Palace is barely a 3-star in comparison

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