**Travel Alert : due to the terrorist acts in the very heart of travel in 2015 Tunisia tourism lies in the very balance and may not recover for years.**
Tunisia is a country that'll astound and bewitch you. This is a place where the shores of the Mediterranean beckon, the Sahara desert enchants, Roman ruins wisk you away to a time of gladiators and emperors, and where you're transported to the far away galaxy of Star Wars.
What's even better is Tunisia is a very modern country, and a very Westernized Muslim country where the wine flows freely and women's rights are the norm. Amazing how they manage to have it all in just 163,000 square kilometers.
Located just 100 miles south of the island of Sardinia, Tunisia borders Algeria and Libya, while the southern part of the country meets up with the Sahara Desert. Perhaps this is why the food is a blend of French (it was once a French colony), Mediterranean, Arab, and Middle Eastern influences. Try the couscous with some mint tea or Ahwa arbi (Turkish coffee). Delicious doesn't quite cover it.
Once you're well-fed, you'll find it easy to get around the country with an excellent network of roads if you're adventurous enough to drive on your own, although it can be an expensive option.
Good thing the rail system is much more affordable. Just remember to book early during the summer high season, especially if you're traveling first-class (just one of three classes of service).
FYI--the restored early 20th century train from Metlaoui to Redeyef is a trip in itself. A chance to turn back to a more genteel time, if you will.
The train means nothing if you don't know where you're going. Start off in the capital city of Tunis, whose Bardo Museum is said to be the best of its kind in the country--detailing a few thousand years of history. Tunis' Medina is exceptional (start practicing your haggling skills before you leave), and the city is bustling with cafes and cinemas. Who cares if they're mainly in Arabic or French, the country's official languages.
Kairouan started as a 7th century medieval town, now its Medina is a great place to find sculpture made from olive wood, pottery, and copper and brassware.
A desert safari is quite exciting, and the choice is yours if you want to do it on a camel or 4x4. Tunisia's desert is where the iconic film Star Wars was filmed at Matmata, where the Berber caves are more than a millennia old. You can spend a night at the Hotel Sidi Driss, a hotel that acted as the movie's "cantina".
Over at El Jem, the UNESCO Collosseum once held more than 30,000 spectators who cheered for their favorite Roman Gladiators. The Bulla Regia Roman Ruins is another locale for seeing the architectural genius of Ancient Rome--the awesome part is to see what they built underground.
Prefer to be above ground? The Chott El Jerid is a good place to be. These lakes run all the way to Algeria, and flood during the winter months; which coincides with the country's rainy season. Don't worry, winters are quite mild, while summer can be quite hot.
If you're soaking yourself in one of Tunisia's Hot Springs, that've been therapeutic since Roman times, you won't care one bit about the weather--as every care or worry seems to float away. Isn't that the point of a vacation?
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