“The Isle Of Forgetfulness”: Tunisia’s Forbidden Fruit Can Now Be Easily Explored
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
When Ulysses stumbled upon the shores of Djerba in Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, his warriors nearly deserted him after being fed the hypnotic lotus flower by the women of the island. Seduced by the intoxicating powers of the forbidden fruit, the men remained hypnotized and unable to depart. 3,000 or so years later, this whimsical paradise still charms all who visit with its mystifying allure.
Known as “The Isle of Forgetfulness,” Djerba’s palm-fringed beaches of sugary white sand and deep-blue waters stupefy even the most seasoned travelers. Once a remote location with limited accessibility, The Independent is reporting that Djerba can now be reached via Tunisair on twice-weekly flights from Gatwick .
Located off the southern coast of Tunisia, the Mediterranean island is connected to the mainland by a three-hour drive over a Roman causeway. Touring the lush countryside by bike or moped offers an intimate experience as one peddles between thousands of olive trees sprinkled among fields of apricot, fig, mandarin, and pomegranate orchards. In Houmt-Souk (market center), traditional clothing, local fish, silver, pottery, spices, and leather goods, sit in a lavish display of striking color.
Another draw to this destination is its proximity to the Tunisian Sahara. After a three-hour drive from the coast, one can trek gracefully through the shifting dunes atop a local dromedary to The Pansea Ksar Ghilane desert camp and experience the nomadic way of life suited in luxury.
As a modern day explorer, I find myself envious of Ulysses and his men. Several months ago, I researched a prospective journey to Tunisia with the hope of sitting among nomadic Berbers as they performed the ritual of bread-making using smoldering sands of the Sahara to solidify a concoction of meats cradled in a crusty flatbread. Visions of bustling souks, glowing white menzels (houses), and calls to prayer from the minaret of the mosque teased my travel addiction. Eventually, I abandoned the search because I could not find an accessible way of visiting sea, sand, and city within my time and budget constraints. Thanks to these new flights, I may now have a chance. What if I don’t make it back, you ask? Then I’m doomed for paradise.
By Maria Russo
About the Author
Maria Russo is a freelance writer who loves natural wonders, good eats, ethical travel, and boutique hotels. Her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, USA Today.com, People.com and A Luxury Travel Blog, among others.
When Maria is not writing for her all-time favorite site (that would be The Expeditioner), she spends her time blogging about foreign jaunts and delectable food experiences for her site: Memoirs of a Travel & Food Addict. She is also up to no good on Twitter (@traveladdictgrl, @expedmaria).