Thursday, July 07, 2005  

There and back - Part three.

I didn’t want this to be a report about how nice the hotel was and who we met and how fabulous the staff were, but obviously some of that is going to creep in; I’ll try and keep it to a minimum.

This was essentially a relaxing beach holiday, and the only thing we did different was to alternate between the beach and the pool. You can take it as read that the hotel was very nice, and importantly very clean. The staff were excellent and the food and drink was first class. I know it’s a cliché but you do have to be up very early to get your towel on a sun lounger before the Germans but it’s worth it. In my opinion there are few things in the world as relaxing as lying on a sun bed, on a beach, in the heat of a summer day with a soft breeze tickling your skin. If you also manage to lose yourself between the pages of a really good book then you are getting close to a perfect day.

Port El Kantaoui is a purpose built resort and does have a more European feel than the other resorts in Tunisia. The resort is centred around a man made marina full of all manner of craft from small two seater dinghies to million pound yachts. The marina is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants and really comes alive at night. Most people staying in the hotels make their way here after dark for a drink or a bite to eat. Unfortunately all the shops seem to sell is cheap tat and tacky souvenirs. We usually like to bring something back to remind us of our stay, but here we tried all week to find something and failed dismally. Eventually we gave up and had a trip to Souse but found that to be exactly the same; even in the labyrinthine maze of the medina the shops sold the same old tourist crap. Things really had changed in the ten years since we had been there. It’s not really a complaint because we didn’t go for the culture experience, it was just sad that such a strange place was being irrevocably changed into something that seems bland and homogenised. Sad because it doesn’t need to change. I suppose it’s the eternal cry of the tourist and in the end it’s our fault, if we didn’t go to these places they would stay exactly the same as they always have. Marmaris in Turkey is a prime example, 30 years ago it was a nice quiet fishing village and now it’s a fucking awful place with Burger king and McDonalds on every corner.

Swimming in the sea is a real treat for me, I know I live 30 seconds from the beach but would you swim in the same water that passes Sellafield before getting to you ? No I thought not. The Mediterranean was warm and calm and much safer than swimming in the hotel pool. For those who feel energetic, or just easily bored, there are plenty of water ports to have a go at. A 20 minute row around in a canoe was the extent of my physical exertions and it was soon back to the sun lounger for me. I suppose a condensed version of the holiday would look like this:

1. Get up ridiculously early to claim a sun lounger.
2. Back to bed for a couple of hours.
3. Breakfast.
4. Laze on the sun lounger until lunch time.
5. Lunch.
6. More lazing in the sun.
7. Siesta.
8. Evening meal.
9. Wander around the town and marina.

Sprinkle in a few insane taxi drivers and some really inventive carpet salesmen and you have our holiday in a nutshell. It was just what we wanted; the only thing left was the nightmare of getting home.

| posted by Simon | 12:12 am | 0 comments
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