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Tunisia - 2005


Tunisia in October 2005 took advantage of an opportunity to take a brief holiday with our eldest two grand-daughters during their half term break. This fitted in well with our own ability to take time off together and a hastily arranged trip was agreed - and what a great break it turned out to be!

Our choices were limited as most destinations were fully booked but we found flight times and dates that fitted in perfectly with the girls' holiday dates, through Thomas Cook, flying with My Travel on an all-inclusive deal to the Abou Sofiane in Port El Kantoui. This wouldn't have been our first choice but, as things turned out, it was absolutely perfect for a short break with a fifteen year old and a thirteen year old!

Flights, both outbound and inbound, could not be faulted - perhaps we had been wrong about charter flights for all this time!

Port El Kantoui Beach

Beach at Abou Sofiane, Port El Kantoui

Abou Sofiane pool

We arrived at the Abou Sofiane on the tour operator's coach after, seemingly, going all around the houses in the late evening, after dinner was finished. Checking in was a bit of a slow process but we were shown to adjacent rooms on the second floor of the hotel, overlooking the gardens. The rooms were dated and in need of redecoration, but were clean and perfectly adequate for our stay. We quickly unpacked, freshened up and nipped into PEK town, for a drink and a snack (we had eaten on the aircraft). The stroll to and from the port did us good and we were ready to sample the all-inclusive drinks at the hotel, before retiring. Not the strongest of beverages, it must be said, but the idea was not to get sloshed!

It would be fair to say that food and drink were not of the highest standard at this hotel, so it was to our surprise that the girls seemed delighted. They could pick what they wanted (especially pastries) from the breakfast buffet, enjoy pizza and BBQ sausages by the pool at lunchtime and choose their own buffet dinner (we had two more formal a la carte meals while we were there, which were greatly enjoyed by grandparents, but we are convinced that the buffet food was preferred by the girls).

The routine was therefore set, especially as there were many others of their own age staying at the hotel and the pool and animation team provided just what they were looking for on a holiday! The beach at Abou Sofiane deserves a mention - good quality beach, various water sports available, but rather crowded.

In general, we fell into a routine. Get up, shower and dress; have buffet breakfast; go to pool; have lunch by pool; time at pool or on beach; get showered and changed; drink in bar followed by dinner; stroll to the port; have final drink in the bar and then bed - starting over the following day.

El Djem
Grand Mosque

El Djem Amphitheatre

Grand Mosque, Kairouan

The girls were obviously enjoying themselves too much! A car and driver were hired and we took them away on a trip to see some of the sights that Tunisia has to offer. When asked what they wanted to see, the answer came back, "a camel". We could do better!

We whisked them off through the countryside, where I think they were rather surprised at the way of life outside of the tourist area, stopping at, in particular, the Grand Mosque (Mosque of Uqba) at Kairouan, built originally in about 670 AD and extended in the 11th century, and the amphitheatre at El Djem, dating from the 3rd century AD.

Strangely enough they were quite interested! Both of these sights (and many more) are certainly worth a visit.

Finally, below, we also found a friend for the girls - a rather tatty, dribbling, working camel which was way past its prime!

Past its Best?

Past its Best?

We can honestly say that this was a great break with the girls - we will look back with fondness!

In short, we found the Abou Sofiane to be absolutely ideal for a one week break for some sun in October. The girls loved it. We don't think that we would have enjoyed a second week - a better class hotel, on a B&B only basis, with good food and evening entertainment available, would have been required.

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