Tunisia
Gouvernorat de Monastir

Here you’ll find travel reports about Gouvernorat de Monastir. Discover travel destinations in Tunisia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

6 travelers at this place:

  • Day1

    Everything started with this nut.

    The evening I arrived Walid, who would soon become my guide, my bodyguard and then my loving friend, drove me directly to “The Wedding”. The Weddings are the long awaited events in Tunisia and they mainly happen in August, when most of expat families come back from their hosting countries to spend their holiday home.
    Should I change myself and wear something more appropriate? Walid answered to that question by shaking his head. Here, nobody cares. Not only do people wear what they want as if it was an ordinary day but they do not have a standard, meaning that if you want to dress up and wear the smartest outfit you have in your wardrobe, you can; you can wear a jeans and a T-shirt or, like most of middle-aged women, you can wear a traditional Tunisian dress with gold and burgundy or green and ivory or any other color combination you can think of. You can also dress in the “European” way with smart black trousers and a red jacket and high heel shoes at your feet matched with the perfect bag.

    We are at Zeramdine, a dry and dusty village in the southernmost part of Al Munastir: the closest thing to a desert I have seen in my life. Indian figs plants and olive trees reassure you this piece of land is alive and there is water somewhere.
    It was The Wedding day 6, that means I missed most of the celebration week culminating in day 7, when bride and groom and their families finally meet for the big feast.
    Despite the tiredness, the flight delay, the missed exit on the motorway from the airport, despite the late hour, Walid and I finally arrived at the Grandfather’s House. Shining under a blind spotlight, at 1am the spacy court of the house was crowded with people. Men lazily lying on a carpet aside a sleepy groom waving hello at our entrance and women wandering about to offer nuts and candies in straw baskets. Their kisses and their looks penetrated me and unexpectedly triggered the start of what was going to be a journey into myself.
    I took a nut from a basket but there was not nutcracker. I smiled and asked with a gesture how could I open it and they smiled back to me without an answer. That nut was telling me there isn’t always an answer to questions but also, sometimes there aren’t questions to ask.
    Read more

  • Day2

    Le marriage

    August 16 in Tunisia

    Le marriage.

    My friend Feiza, Walid’s mother, is my student in Milan. My feelings to her are difficult to explain. When I look into her eyes I see my mother, my grandmother, and the female side of the family I grew up with in Napoli. We are Mediterranean women and we know the same language, and that is enough to understand each other. This language is love. Love for her children and her husband Mansour, for her house, for her cooking, for her house at the top of a road with no asphalt. Half of her family lives between Italy and Belgium. The other half stayed in Tunisia: Walid and his sister, Hanane.

    I sleeply open the door and a pair of cosy slippers show up at the threshold. They say welcome.
    Walid advices staying in Zeramdine today, there is so much to do for the wedding.
    We go back at the Grandfather’s house under a boiling sun. On two sides of the big court two shelters reassure me I can find shade to my body already longing for water.

    I was just figuring out what would be the soundtrack for such a spaghetti movie scenario (of course Ennio Morricone’s "A Fistful of Dollars" theme https://youtu.be/i_UD-zxgRUs ) when slowly the protagonist entered the scene.

    My senses were taken by the supernatural aura of this man in his tunic and with his straw hat on. I shook my hand with the Grandfather.

    Under the shelter two beautiful women were peeling dozens of garlics and in one of the rooms two women were preparing couscous in a huge casserole. As a guest I had to be the first one to try. I shared the delicious dish with Mansour, amazed by the habit of sharing but happy for such a generous offering.
    Read more

  • Day2

    Men's dance

    August 16 in Tunisia

    Men's dance (includes videos)

    At 7pm in the open space the musicians were singing and playing their instruments sitting on a carpet by the wall of a house. A bunch of women on the other side of the wall gathered together each placing her chair in the spot to get the best seat for the show. In front of us a psychedelic sunset would already be worthy the ticket.
    More women arrived kissing each other and placing their chairs one tightly next to the other forming a colorful crowd. One after the other they started to connect with the musicians, some dancing, some beating the time by whisking their red and green drapes.

    The show was about to start. Two children by a fire warmed up wooden-framed drums that they would hand out to the musicians in exchange of a cold drum. Chants and music created a score that everybody knew, except me.

    Then arrived the men. Wearing long tunics, ivory and white, they placed themselves in a long row facing the public. Behind them another row of young guys whose role was beating the time by clapping their hands. In front of them on the two sides two bunches of men with wide-sleeve brown tunics moved their steps in two circles by waving their arms in and out. In and out, in and out, like lazy seagulls until their steps speeded up in a dance. The two circles proceeded synchronized, slowly and then fast and the dancers suddenly spinned around themselves by lifting their feet for one moment. The music and the dance created a mesmerizing scene (video)

    https://youtu.be/JcM-QHk5aoY

    More than two hours of dancing and the excitement grew bigger and bigger, the musicians beat their drums stronger and stronger and the women whisked their drapes more and more energetically. No conventions, no afterthought, no limits, no rules. They will hate me for that but it looked more like a fascinating pagan rite to me than anything else.
    Dancers and women were now all standing and they joined the musicians for the final song. They shouted in a stadium chant and shaked they bodies despite their age, despite the late hour, despite the energy already spent, until a sort of trance caught the young ones as in an initiation rite.
    This video will explain better than I can do.

    https://youtu.be/a4-IU5mUQ0k

    Thousands impressions had struck my senses, I felt like both longing for more and needing a sleep. I followed the others to the Bride’s house for a picture I didn’t take and then back to the Grandfather’s house to attend the final ceremony.
    I had attended just one day and I felt exhausted. I put myself in the bride and groom’s shoes and felt released for them after a whole week celebration.
    Read more

  • Day7

    Eid Mabrouk! (Happy Eid!)

    In the morning we wake up sleepy Hanane who is been travelling all night long from Djerba.
    The Belhadj family is frantic, they have a lot to celebrate: Eid, Hanane, and...what else?

    Mansour goes to the kitchen, takes half a lamb out of a bag and cut it into pieces while Feiza puts a massive quantity of a greenish spice called Corcorus into boiling oil. The incredibly rich dish called Mloukhya takes many hours to cook and I can't wait...
    Meanwhile we receive the visit from the lovely nearly 90-year-old Grandmother. She appears from the garden after a long walk on her own with a stick for wishing us Eid Mabrouk!
    Her tales from her youth, when her father didn't let her study as she wishes make me smile with compassion. The family reunited is really happy. "I'm sad when you're gone", she tells them.

    Talking with Granmother about a real tattoo she's got on her chin, Feiza and Hanane prepare a surprise for me. With the complicity of Walid a young beautician comes home to make me the best of henna ever!
    My thankfulness is growing in my chest.

    People come, people go in a Tunisian home. There is not a fixed time to eat lunch. The members of the family are freed from this convention: when you are hungry, you eat. So I decide to wait until evening to try Mloukhya.

    We decide to go to visit El Munastir. Its massive Rībat was used for centuries as a fort against the Christians. The wide pavement leading to the huge Mausoleum of President Bourghiba suggests me this is the closest thing to Taj Mahal I have seen in my life: such a tomb for just one person!
    The nearby white cemetery and its leaning trees, the quite port and Marina and the yellow Rībat shining against a rosy sunset make me feel happy and lucky to be here.
    Read more

  • Day4

    Monastir

    February 6, 2012 in Tunisia

    Nächste Station auf unserer Tour ist Monastir mit dem Mausoleum von Habib Bourguiba, der Tunesien in die Unabhängigkeit geführt hat.
    Und dann gibts da noch in einem Reiseführer dieses Foto von der Festung mit der blendend weißen Stadt zu ihren Füßen - ein Traumbild, welches wir unbedingt in echt sehen müssen.
    Nun, die Stadt stellt sich zwar eher als eine Nekropolis heraus, aber der blendend weiße Friedhof mit den herausragenden Marabouts vor dem Ribat ist trotzdem unheimlich sehenswert :-)
    Monastir als die Geburtsstadt Bourguibas profitierte sehr stark von seiner Herrschaft. Das zerstörte Denkmal Ben Alis, der ihn 1987 stürzte, ist das einzig sichtbare Zeichen der Jasminrevolution, dem wir auf unserer Reise begegnen
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Gouvernorat de Monastir, Monastir

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now