I was never a big fan of “all inclusive” holiday package, but there you go, there are things one must try once in a lifetime. The idea behind it is simple – you do not need to spend any more money while staying in the hotel as all your drinks and food is already paid for. Obviously there are some rules to it – you are wearing a band around your wrist (don’t forget to take it off when you are going out to the town as otherwise you will be constantly informed by random people that their cousin/brother/sister works at the hotel you are staying in) and all your drinks should be coming out from one of the bars, which means that you need to stick to certain hours and certain places.
I do not think this arrangement is bad for anyone who want to stay in a hotel and just simply relax, lying on a beach and drinking whatever they wish to drink, within a choice offered by hotel “all inclusive” package. At the end of the day you are on your holidays and want to relax without stressing out over the budget.
In our case, after 2 days in a hotel we were certain that this way of spending holidays is not even near of what we really need in order to feel relaxed and adventurous. We definitely needed something else… And there you go, it was waiting for us just around the corner…
We decided to visit Tunis by train. We were staying near Hammamet so the journey was not very challenging. The train was absolutely fine, we knew how long our journey should take, where to start it and when to finish. In our preparations I even have a list with train times and the times each journey should take. So, armed with all this you might think very important and necessary information we headed to catch our train. Without any problems at all we were in Tunis within an hour.
Tunis is full of live and very colourful. It does not have many exciting beaches on offer but still – it was nice to have a wander around.
When it was time to go back to our hotel, we headed for the train. A lot of people were traveling from Tunis to smaller places on their way from work. The train was full but we had managed to secure two places on a bench in a first carriage behind the locomotive. And off we went. It was getting dark quite rapidly (we were in Tunisia in October) but we were on the right train on the right road so what could possibly happen???
The man with the food and drinks trolley! He was resting comfortably but started to push his trolley when the train stopped in Hammamet. By blocking the passage completely he did not leave any chance for us and 4 other Tunisian youngsters to get out before the train started to move again. In a panic all of us went to the locomotive trying to find alternative escape route but to no avail. My husband and I do not speak French or Arabic so there was no way we could possibly understand what was happening. We just stayed with the youngsters who were in the same situation as we. We tried to approach conductor but he simply ignored us and started to argue with the youngsters.
After about 10 minutes the train stopped and we got out into a pitch black and very small train station. We had no idea where we were. The youngsters waived at us to come with them to the town which was glowing within a 15-minutes walking distance. We decided to go. I did not feel in any way threatened and the whole situation was rather funny. On a way to the town one of the youngsters made a great effort of trying to find out where we supposed to go. As we were heading in the same direction after reaching the town the boys found a big taxi to Hammamet which we offered to pay for and they did not accept. We paid 2 dinars as that was our share in the bill. In Hammamet the same guy who was concerned about us from the beginning found another taxi which took us to the hotel and before we drove off he made sure we will be paying the fair amount for the ride.
So, that is our story and that is why you should get on a train in Tunisia as you never know who you meet and what kind of brilliant memory about country and its people you might treasure.