woman's world Tue 04 July 2017

Tunisia, sand and fun

That year I discovered the desert, I still was a dead weight, three months later, in my 40s I put myself out there and I took my first motorcycle. The travel done in 2005 was a discovery trip around a continent about which I heard talking a lot but I would have never believed that it could captivate me this much.
In 2009, Miky and I decided to go back there with our friend Marco.
Marco goes down with a van which allows us to go on the road till the doors of the desert, to avoid a lot of “tar” and to put immediately the off-road wheels on the motorcycle! So for fun, I decided (since it fitted) to put my beloved XL200 Paris-Dakar inside the van too, the motorcycle I had just taken… the motorcycle which will be forever in my heart, my first motorcycle! As soon as we arrived in Tataouine, in the southern part of Tunisia, I asked for my “flea” (this is its name) to be unloaded and I tried.
Matchmaker was that moment! I haven't got off anymore! I knew that the “flea” wouldn't have deceived me, it would have allowed me to have fun like a child on the carousel! There was immediately such a feeling! I didn't even put the “sand shoes” on it! Since it should have stayed inside the van or gone only on some unlaced roads, I didn't change its the semi-road wheels!
But here it is, in all its magnificence! A beautiful experience, made of falls, pick ups, sweats, challenges and satisfactions but most of all fun!
But all good games come to an end. The week flew, but on the ship, going back, we already planned our next trip.
In 2010 another adventure sees us as protagonists. We’ll call it “Sea of sand”.
7 days full immersion in the desert! Only dunes, tent, the sound of silence, getting lost in the nothingness to find yourself in a natural paradise… this time I take with me my new motorcycle. I introduce it to you, its name is “the bug”, my Kawa 250 KLX! An indelible experience. In the evening the atmosphere becomes more magical. Our guide, who takes us the baggages (tent, sleeping bag and other personal stuff), welcomes us to a beautiful 5 stars B&B! Everyone around the fire, listening to the desert, while Moubar friend prepares hot bread cooked in the sand followed by the unavoidable mint tea! This was a really demanding trip, but really captivating as well. Feeling so close to nature, like we did, it's priceless and offerse you a baggage of emotions which only who lives the desert can understand.
Bye Tunisia… see you soon! Inshallah

Tunisia 2017
After the trip of 2010 we immediately thought “next year we’ll be back!”. The “Africa ache” is inside of us, we can't live without thinking about being back there. Some issues, unfortunately, kept us apart for a too long time from Tunisia, every year we couldn't leave. Finally this year, on 21st of April, after 7 years we came back to these places, like we were attracted by an imaginary magnet!
It's time for Tunisia Raid 2017
They have been 7 days of pure fun! This time we're four!

1st DAY: left El Jem, after almost 200 km of asphalt we went in a track which goes towards El feja chot, crossing mountains which go from east to west. Those tracks were amazingly beautiful, even though difficult at some points.

2nd DAY: let's taste the sand! After a quite soft beginning from Douz to Ksar Ghilane, we lost the track so we had some difficulties with coverings with sand, falls and limited view because of the backwards dunes for the whole afternoon. Sometimes we couldn't even do ten meters without covering up with sand. Finally the unavoidable natural pool of Ksar Ghilane gives us physical and mental refreshment!

3rd DAY: a great day, even though we risked to run out of gasoline, but this too means “adventure”. The direction is Ksar Ghilane - Tataouine, all off-road, then Matmata and return to Douz! The previous day on the dunes made us use more gasoline than what we expected, so we travelled the last 40 km out of the 130 km to Tatouine more slowly. I think that my motorcycle only contained a tea spoon of gasoline at that point… my tank cries. At this point I take some gasoline from my companions, so that I'm ready to travel Matmata-Douz during the night!
(ah…ah… looks like I have a catheter in my hand!)

 becomes slippery ooze, mud.
It was really difficult to stand, but we couldn't lay down otherwise we would have covered ourselves in mud… so we hoped for the best

5th DAY: we visit Star Wars site and then, across the dunes, we arrive to Rommel’s track! Super high temperatures today as well! Rommel’s track was difficult in the last part, but still amazing! An incomparable view. Can't wait to post the video of the descent. Then, after going back to Tozeur, a police car followed us till our hotel, certainly to give us a sense of safety. This shows the effort to go back to normality. Cheers to the reborn Tunisia!

6th DAY: we start going back towards North. We visited the canyons and the waterfalls of Tamerza and we didn't even miss a little of off-road long the river. A unique landscape, with indescribable natural beauties.

Not even quicksand was missing! During the evening we arrived in Le Kef. The next day was for the return.

7th DAY: from the suburbs of Le Kef, we reached Bizerte (at 3.00 pm we had to be at the airport in Tunisi, unfortunately). In Bizerte a great feast waits for us: grilled gilthead bream, rice with curry plus side dish and to conclude ice cream! All this for 8 € each! And the cats were waiting for the fishbones!
7.00 pm: we're at the port of Tunisi, the Excellent raises anchor, another trip comes to an end… everything was fine and we had a lot of fun. I learned a lot of new things this time too, and I fell in love a little more with this magical continent!
Thank to all my trip mates, to my husband Miky who first organizes it all predicting the unpredictable, thank to Marco, always present in our trips, and thank to Alessandro, who was missing till now to complete the group!
This time we won't wait seven years to be back… Inshallah Ori

Ore 19.00 siamo al porto di Tunisi l'Excellent salpa, un altro viaggio sta tramontando, tutto è andato bene ci siamo divertiti e tanto. Ancora una volta, se ce ne fosse bisogno, ho imparato cose nuove, mi sono appassionata ancor di più di questo magico continente! Grazie a tutti i miei compagni di viaggio, a mio marito Miky che in primis organizza tutto in maniera maniacale prevedendo sempre l'imprevedibile, grazie a Marco, sempre presente nei nostri viaggi, e grazie ad Alessandro che ci mancava fino ad ora per fare un poker d'assi perfetto!
Di certo non passeranno più sette anni prima di tornarci... Inshallah

Servizio a cura di Orietta Miconi

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