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25 Seasons of Travelling I've been to every continent three times over. Here is what i've learnt in the 25 years i've been travelling the world.

Tunisia at Ten

TUNISIA | Wednesday, 28 May 2014 | Views [205]

Tunisia at Ten
Lauren Hall 


A year after I had journeyed successfully through Morocco with my parents, my father decided that my travelling education should no longer be overlooked and so he began preparing, planning and prioritizing a two week long adventure in a little country in North Africa known as Tunisia. Travelling here at the age of ten was even more unusual to me than Morocco had been at the age of nine. I struggled for a very long time to even pronounce the name (something I may have only learnt recently but we won’t say that out loud) and was unsure of how to explain the holiday to my fellow year five classmates who were used to hearing names like Italy and England.


This trip ended up being one of the most memorable of my life and that wasn’t just due to all members of my family being violently ill at some point of the holiday. Sidi Bou Said is considered to be amongst the most picturesque villages in Tunisia and they’re not lying. The town is a smaller version of the entirety of Greece with its whitewashed walls and blue doorways all of which are endlessly covered in jasmine bushes and Bougainvilleas. Blue is everywhere as if it’s the only colour they know. A peacock blue, lit up in the daytime by the sun of summer and a glorified hue of mystery in the evening as it protects their ancient doors from the secrets within. It was an oasis in a country that up until that point had been too unfamiliar for me to enjoy. The country was harsh and strange and ultimately it had been a refresher course in where not to take a ten year old if you wanted an enjoyable trip through unknown lands.


Sidi Bou Said, fortunately for my parents, changed this mentality.  As we walked through the streets lined with carpets and crafts we stumbled into the medieval marina that sparkled with aquamarine water and had hundreds of merchant boats floating against the lapping ocean. It was like a painting, it didn’t seem real. It felt like those mirages that I had been warned about before leaving Sydney. “It’s never what you think it is Lauren,” but this was, this most certainly was! Bustling with vendors, restaurants and palm trees, the sails of the boats rested against the overbearing Mount Bou  Kornine in the distance and seemed to multiply when you weren’t looking. It was glorious and I never wanted to leave.


But something did make me leave, a love of Star Wars. Matmata, in Tunisia is host to one of the infamous scenes in the original Star Wars films. Troglodytes live here, they are also know more commonly as Tunisian cave people who live in houses that are vertically dug into the ground and are usually 3-4 stories deep. Each of the nuggets of houses are complete with doors, rooms and staircases but have no windows. As you may imagine if you are a fan of the original trilogy, my little ten-year-old brain went into overdrive and I proceeded to run up and down the stone steps into each of the houses, yelling (spoiler alert for those who haven’t lived) “Luke I am your father!” Becoming increasingly breathless and with my heart pounding, I wandered around the abandoned set, with my father, looking at the inscriptions that fans had etched into the ancient walls of the years.  I too wanted to make my mark but my father being a man of respect refused to let me graffiti my unknown name into a site that, in his eyes, should have been heritage listed. It was stupendously glorious and upon my return home, this was the first detail of my trip that was bragged about for weeks and if I’m being honest, is still to this day.


A journey that started off as increasingly difficult and tiring became a golden memory of mine and to this day, whenever I think of Tunisia, feelings of elation come to surface mixed with beautiful images of palm trees, blue doors and Lightsabers. 

Tags: 25seasonsoftravelling, lalaloh, star wars, ten, travelling, tunisia

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