We have made it to Libya, and are now happily showered and cleaned up after an amazing ride through some of Africa’s lovely scenic desertscapes. Tunisia was fully of olive groves, while Libya’s treasure so far has been a visit to Sabratha – an ancient roman ruin. Can’t stay, unfortunately, because it’s Ramadan and everyone wants to go home. Will try again in Cairo if not before.
We arrived on the ferry, the M/V Splendid, at 9am local time (1 hour ahead of the UK). A few hours before we docked, we got chatting to a couple of other overlanders, and so by the time we were finished with passport checks and customs, and were ready to find a place to stay for the night, we were luckily able to tag along with them to their planned stop – a campsite 30 miles south of Tunisa, and the Port of La Goulette. It took a while to get there, because we took a few wrong turns – nothing we ourselves wouldn’t have done at 1am in the morning! (Customs took a while!) A dram of whiskey and a couple of good laughs around the camplight (not fires – no time for one of them) and it was off to bed, exhausted by happy. Patrick and Petra were visiting Tunisia for 3 weeks, trying out their newly purchased Landcruiser which they hope will see them round the world in a few years’ time. Grit and Matthais, however, had already started their journey. They’re taking a very similar route to us, but slightly longer to do it. Then they hope to jet off somewhere else in the world. They are in a massive ex-Swedish army monster of a think which one can only nickname, ‘the beast’. It’s enormous – you can see it at their website.
After some argument about whether or not we had the time, we finally decided to visit Carthage the following day. At the time, because of our disagreement over whether we should go or not, it felt more trouble than it was worth; especially when the hot Tunisian sun beat down on our heads, the Med lapping gently away at a distant shore and sweat dripping down every limb of our bodies! However, it is a magnificent place, even if you only have a couple of hours. Would definitely like to see more of it, although must also admit that by the time we got to Leptis Magna (3 days later), I was a bit ‘Roman ruin’-ed out!! Still, it seems sensible to see such key sites as we’re passing through! (The latter was the point of debate on the day in question – our midnight search for a campsite had taken us 30kms south of Tunis, and Carthage is north, necessitating a long drive there only to return again!). Nevermind! We have some good memories of the day, even if it’s the memory of a cold coke and ice lolly at the site of one of Rome’s most impressive outposts! :)
We have made it to Genoa! Woohoo! Nice short ride from the mountain tops through seemingly endless tunnels to the Mediterranean port where, tomorrow, we will catch our ferry across to Tunisia and thereby commence the African”leg” of our journey. Genoa made an odd impression, reminding us somewhat of Cape Town (specifically Camps Bay) but without the glamour and certainly without the pretentions to being a seaside resort. Think it’s more the steep sloes with housing facing out to promenade and sea that has this effect.
Spent some time searching for an internet cafe, which we eventually found (tucked away below the Meditarinno Hotel – how original!!) but to no avail – seems he was closed for the day. This weblog will therefore have to be post-dated when we eventually get the chance to write it up (and so we did in Cairo, on 12th Oct!)
We are having a blast, as Glyn says. Tempers frayed a little towards the end of the day, after each had commanded the other one too many times to do their bidding! But besides this, all has gone extremely well, and we are very much looking forward to the next part of the adventure!