Day By Day

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tunisia Trip -- Part Twenty Three

The next stop on our tour was Tamerza, only a couple of miles from the Algerian border. Tamerza is the largest of the mountain oases and once was the Roman outpost of Ad Turres. To get there we drove over the mountain through some truly spectacular scenery.

That's the oasis far below us. When we got there we disembarked, walked past the stalls of local vendors, and found ourselves staring into the beautiful "Gorge of Tamerza" noted for its interesting rock formations. It was here that portions of "The English Patient" were filmed.

At the head of the gorge we found the second of Tunisia's two waterfalls.

Even in the middle of the desert kids love to play in water.

You want to buy a bird? For you, special price. Another blatant example of animal cruelty so common in Tunisian culture.

A riot of color in a sea of brown.

Then we traveled on to the small oasis of Mides, the "Village of the Canyon".

And when they say "canyon" they mean "CANYON!" I was told that parts of "Star Wars" were filmed here.

It's a very small oasis so the locals have to squeeze out every potential inch of arable land.

After all that walking and climbing we were getting a bit hungry, so it was off again, this time for a leisurely repast at the Tamerza Palace Hotel, one of Tunisia's most luxurious resorts, overlooking the abandoned town. That's what remains of Tamerza. The town was evacuated back in 1969 due to, believe it or not, flooding. There was an exceptional amount of rainfall that year and the structures were not built to withstand water. So now Tamerza is simply a picturesque setting adding an exotic touch to the local landscape.

Sated and happy we again climbed into the cruisers and headed over the mountain and back to our hotel in Tozeur where not everything was brown.

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