Tozeur, Tunisia

photo: A minaret of white stone, sandy bricks and green tiles, seen against a rich blue sky with puffy clouds.
Minarets are towers that broadcast the call to prayer several times each day.

We travelled to Tozeur by louage, the name for a long-distance taxi that only leaves once it's driver has found enough people who want to travel to the same place.

We didn't find Tozeur to be very charming. Boys in the medina were trying to coerce us into entering an empty-looking room, though we didn't hang around to find out why. The medina seemed to have been restored with ill-matching bricks, which caused parts of it to look like a thin façade.

photo: A giant, dark-brown, metal eagle sits atop a rock.
The giant metal eagle of Tozeur.

Outside of the medina, to the west, are the Belvedere Rocks, noted in the guide book as offering a beautiful view. However, when we visited, serious construction projects on what looked like several resorts had begun. Access roads and hotel buildings were under construction, and, for reasons that I couldn't fathom, a giant, metal eagle statue had been placed right below the rocks that once offered a view over natural landscape. Tozeur seems to have embraced tourism whole-heartedly, but it may cost the city some of its old appeal.

It wasn't all bad, though. The Restaurant Pizzeria Aguzza, not very far from the giant eagle, was a nice place to have a pizza and some mint tea. And our accommodation, the Hotel Niffer, was very presentable, although the poorly-supported breeze-block roof extension made my friend very nervous. Luckily he was asleep before the wind caused the unfinished construction to creak and moan under stress.

We had hoped to visit ruins at a place called Tamerza, but we did not wake early enough to join a tour, and it's not a place that's easy to get to otherwise.