Monastir, Tunisia

photo: An asymetrical round tower of sandstone flies a Tunisian flag at its top.
The tower of the ribat in Monastir.

Monastir was our last stop before returning to the airport. The coastal town is home to a ribat, a historic military fortification built of sand-coloured stones that have remained standing despite more than a thousand years of exposure to the elements. A small entrance fee lets you wander around the ribat, though it's pretty empty inside. A narrow, uneven, dark and treacherous flight of stairs takes you up to the top of the ribat's tower, which gives a great view of Monastir.

photo: A view of the beach and the seafront in Monastir, with hotels clustered together in the distance.
The view from the top of the ribat tower.

From the tower it becomes clear that Monastir is a serious destination for package holiday tourists. The beach is crammed with sun loungers adjacent to big resorts full of people who are looking to take advantage of Monastir's hot and sunny climate.

While ordering a pizza at a local café, the waiter mistook boisson for poisson. So instead of telling us what drinks were available, the waiter disappeared for five minutes, only to come back to the table to show us a fine-looking fresh fish on a plate. He was not in a good mood when we cleared up the confusion.