Regency Hotel and Spa is where we have been staying the past few days, and one of the lovely animation team led five of the guests (which included us) for a guided tour of the small city of Monastir.
It was a hot day, so we were glad it was only about a 10 minute walk up a slight hill to the square where the Ribat was. The sky here seems to be so blue.
Across the road is a paved open square.
There before us is a camel. We had our fair share of riding camels this time last year in Morocco, so we give it a miss, but there is plenty of opportunity to ride a camel in many places if you do decided to come to Tunisia.
On the side is the cemetery.
This lovely mosaic paved area has some really great Tunisian architecture.
Before us appears looming magnificent iron gates and we discover there is history to learn behind them.
We head on in using the side entrance, and to our delight it is free.
Today is a day for world-schooling. It is the Mausoleum.
Habib Bourguiba mausoleum is the place we are in now. He was the first leader after their independence from the French.
We see some of his possessions and office, and learn about his French wife.
Upstairs you can look down on his tomb, and there are some very gracious lights and coves like this one.
Our guide from Regency Hotel and Spa then takes us to the market area. We would never have gone in here. Firstly I doubt we would have found it, but also we had no reason to buy food.
Yet it was so exciting to visit.
We saw local life, and no tourists.
The aroma of the herbs was just fabulous!
We then hit the back streets – literally. I stubbed my toe on a rock. But it was worth it to see the locals, and not feel like a tourist, but a traveller.
Now these tiles below are something I wish I had bought. If you come to Tunisia can I recommend to buy up and ship home. Postage is so reasonable. You need to supply your own carton, and tape and there are fabulous rugs, and wool blankets. We will write more on this later, but here you can see the great tiles and if you look closely, they are stuck on card and fold up for transportation.
This nice seller explained the stories behind each tile. You can pick the right one that represents your family.
It is a small market area, but if you go to the Souk or the stores you can find some great pottery dishes.
Again – a regret I did not buy one of these ornate patterned dishes, and a cut out patterned tea lamp.
They are so pretty!
Love these targienes too.
Oh and did I mention plates?
We purchased one of these mosaics in Sousse, but we were pleased to see them here.
And less expensive here than the Sousse port where we bought ours too. Do you like the design below that Explorason selected? We are going to use it as a trivet one day in the centre of our table. It also has good meaning as we are off to stay in a traditional Tunisian home like this next.
Sadly there are only a handful of tourists. These people have families to feed, and bills to pay. This pouffe is leather and you can pick one up for about $20 – $30. They come in assorted shapes, sizes and colours, and can fold flat in the bottom of your bag. How nice is this!
Then we met this lovely gardener.
He called Explorason over. He beaconed for him to place his hand on his shoulder.
And then he smiled. This old man was working in over 40oC heat, and he was happy to befriend us. We paid him for the the photo, and again he beamed. When people do not rip us off. When people do not expect to be paid, it is then I want to bless them. So we gave him about $7 for the photos and to him he was really happy with this.
As we walked back, we met a beggar old lady in the shade. (See top photo of this article).
She had a wheel chair. But she wasn’t actually holding her hand out for money. she was just genuinely poor. I had been feeling really sorry for myself this day.
But after we helped her I felt so much better. We didn’t end up buying much at the market, but I came back to the hotel a changed person.
I came back having forgotten my troubles, and had helped a few others instead. The western world has so much, and it felt so nice to take my eyes off of me, and to help them. I felt richer inside.
A big part of our world journey is a decision for us to help people who have less along the way. To give them human touch. To show them love and acceptance. We often do not have a lot to give, but we try to help a few when we can.
The more you give, the more you want to give – when it comes from the heart. 19 years ago today my Mum passed away to cancer. She taught me to love and accept others. And I want to set an example to my son to do the same. So that is in my heart. He surprises me with his kindness and great attitude, and we both so enjoy this part of our world journey.
I saw tourist merchants with no customers. I saw empty shops. The tourist area is deserted. These people have fabulous wares, and it is less expensive than Sousse, and no-one is buying anything.
You can come and bargain a fair price and they would be so thankful.
If you are considering coming to Tunisia, spend a couple of days in this area. Come and stay at Regency Hotel and Spa – and be warmed by their amazing hospitality.
We had a great time. Thanks ever so much Regency Hotel and Spa for offering the guided tour to the Monister Medina.
It was a great day.