Rumskys Repositioned from the Caribbean to Europe and Back Again travel blog

First stop, treats!

Tea for the driver...

Tunisian gas station!

Lamb shops make sure customers know the meat is fresh...

I love how they built nesting spots for storks on top of...

Greeted (tolerated?) by the resident camel!

The long hike up to our room...

Worth the hike!

Home sweet home! Our room at Residence Kenza

Sleeping in a cave!

An absolutely breathtaking view from our room...

You will not go hungry at Residence Kenza!

Exploring old Chenini...

Fran strikes a pose!

And another!

Ancient granaries abound...

Glad to see they recycle...maybe...

A local explains how the camel-driven olive press works.

We start our journey to the Mosque of the Seven Sleepers

This mosque is Tunisia's leaning tower

Our friendly guide explains the Bedouin culture

Love this little post office!

And this local transport!

Residence Kenza, a rustic airbnb run by locals, was a huge reason that I was willing to brave the State Department's travel warnings and venture into southern Tunisia. Someone reviewed it as "the jewel in airbnb's crown." OK, I was hooked. If you are considering Tunisia, you must do this.

Thinking that we were staying in an unlocked, open cave in Africa, we left the majority of our things back in our Tunis airbnb. This precaution was unnecessary, as our thick wooden doors at Residence Kenza were lockable. We headed to our little nondescript, hard-earned Tatouine louage station and waited anxiously while our driver worked on the van. No worries! We were ready to go by 9:00 am! We could hardly believe we had finally made that happen.

The drive itself revealed a wonderful slice of Tunisian life. The crude (is that really the word?) "gas station," the mandatory treat store, the bloody lamb carcasses hanging outside the butcher shops, the smiling road-side tea seller, and Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore. It was almost sad to have the journey end in the "new Chenini" bus station. But wait, there's more! We then had to negotiate a taxi to old Chenini. Equipped with advice from our airbnb hosts, we haggled with an English speaking man who offered us a taxi ride at just above the rate suggested by our hosts. We got in the car, smiling at the scenery and bouncing along to the funky Tunisian rap music played by our driver. We arrived at where he said was old Chenini, plunked in front of a hotel that was not our hotel, and that was that. He complained about the fare in French but we assured him in English that we had agreed on it with the man at the station. Shrugging, he headed off and we looked around. Friendly locals offered guiding services and directions to our airbnb. Noncommittal, we began the steep but spectacular climb to the Residence Kenza. Jewel. Yes.

As all things in Africa, it's a bit loose and informal, but everything you could possibly need will happen. Our experience was magical. We could have done tours, and I'm sure they would have been fabulous. But we had been moving quickly, and we needed a place to clear our heads, take a deep breath, and just absorb the experience. Quiet. A vast and filling breakfast was included. Additional food was available at the very limited but very functional restaurant on the hill. We decided to eat some of our snacks that we brought "just in case," with Fran asking about bread for sandwiches in the restaurant. Before we knew it, they had brought a huge vegetable tagine, bread, tea, and desert, and refused to take any payment for it. Absolutely delicious. The rest of our time was spent in sheer exploration. No agenda. Every bit as wonderful as it looks, and then some. Go.

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