The Sousse shared taxi station is on the edge of town, my apartment also seemed to be out of town in a different direction, and I wasn’t sure what local shared taxi would get me there. So I splurged on a private taxi! The apartment was brand new construction and a block from the beach. It was fun to see people walking on the beach and surf fishing. Also interesting was the texted warning from my host – drinking alcohol, being “bare”, and kissing were allowed in the Porte El Kantaoui area to the north, but not in the neighborhood. Nowhere else has anyone bothered to caution me about this – perhaps evidence of the larger and less sensitive tourist presence in Sousse at times.
That said I really like Sousse, at least in March. The “liberal” area my host was referring to was built in the 70s especially as a destination for tourists.
There are shops, restaurants (that serve alcohol, as noted) and a a small children’s amusement park around the harbor. It was full of people…all of them Tunisian families or couples out for a nice evening! It was a very positive atmosphere – no carousing that I could see.
The next day I headed to the Sousse medina. Logistical note – turns out you can flag down a local shared taxi really fast on the north-south road, they take you to “Hammam Sousse”, a commercial district one road inland and somewhat to the south, and there you switch to another shared taxi to Sousse medina. On the way we went through “Place Lublijana” – I wonder what the story is behind that! In any case, the Sousse old town is gorgeous, right on the sea, with the highlight being climbing the Ribat tower.
Built to protect against marauding Christians (hah – each were the others marauders) the Ribat is an unadorned fortress but the location and history is evocative. From the top you can see the active working port of today.
Walking around the walls of the city was also beautiful.
Alas the kasbah, which is now the archeological museum, is closed on Mondays.
There are some strongish attempts in the medina to “guide” but there were not very many tourists there at all and it is clearly an operational local souk and neighborhood.
And just outside the walls was this inspirational mural – two sci-fi Tunisians telling you, “You are bigger than you think you are!”