Mediterranean Cycopaths

Salamma Tunisie!

23rd January 2007

We left Sfax with our eyes firmly set firmly on Gabes, 140kms down the road.  It was a hard slog along a poorly surfaced, single carriageway road (Tunisia’s #1 Highway!) and with a strengthening headwind we had to fight tooth and nail for the last 50 clicks.  The following day we cycled to the Island of Jerba, a 100km journey broken up by a short
ferry ride.  We spent 2 nights here in the main town of Houmt Souk, before cycling a further 133kms to the Tunisa/Libya border at Ras al-Jedir, where we arrived a day early to meet our Libyan contacts, neccessitating a night in the tent, allowing me to reflect on our time in Tunisia…

The reception we have received throughout the country has been remarkable.  From suited man to shepherd, border guard to barbar, every person has acknowledged us with a smile, a wave or a guess at our nationality via a Bonjour, Grazi, Marhaba or Hello.  Virtually every driver that passed by would toot approval and wave through the back windshield. 

We gave plenty back too, with Sean ‘King of the Kids’ Smee leading the way – whether it be waving and/or smiling at them, sticking his tongue out, showing them digital pictures of themselves, nothing was too much trouble.  The youngters absolutely loved it and if they weren’t running or cycling to try to keep up with us, they would stick out there hands for high fives as we rode by.  Cycling past school bus stops was nothing short of hazardous.  The phrase ‘two dicks’ doesn’t
even begin to describe it.

The landscape and architecture (some of which have provided settings for movies such as The English Patient, Star Wars and Life of Brian) is amazing and we have heaps of great pictures.  The diverse scenery from the bike saddle ensured we never got too bored – if there wasn’t camels, flamingoes or oil refineries to marvel at there was never a dog too far away to nip at our heels.

The arid environs and abundance of Eucalypt trees also made us feel quite at home.  In fact, as I write from the tent at Ras al-Jedir, I would almost expect a kangaroo to appear if it wasn’t for the minefield 100 metres to the East.

Salamma Tunisie! All going smoothly, we will return in five and a half months.


P.S. Until the fully fledged version of the website is up and running, you can view the pictures here


January 27, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hi Sean and Jon,
    I’ve been wondering when you boys were heading off and thrilled to get the email and read about your adventures so far.
    Good luck with your massive adventure.
    Looking forward to hearing about your progress.
    Happy travels.

    Comment by Rachel Taylor | January 29, 2007 | Reply

  2. Jon,

    Would suggest you refrain from using the phrase ‘two dicks’ when referring to riding past school bus stops as it may give people the wrong impression.

    Sounds like things are going well so far. Hats off to you and Sean. A great adventure. Look forward to reading more on your progress.



    Comment by Simon Carlyon | January 29, 2007 | Reply

  3. Jon and Sean,

    Guys great stuff boys! Sounds like you guys are off on an amazing journey…I look forward to reading your updates.



    Comment by Colin Stobo | January 29, 2007 | Reply

  4. Entertaining blog with great hints of humour! Almost feel like we are on the road with you guys…I mean,just almost ….:-)!!!! Very nice nature pictures too.
    Good luck for the rest,


    Comment by audrey | January 30, 2007 | Reply

  5. What an inspiring adventure!
    After so many kms on a bike that cologne might come in handy Jon! Wishing you all the best for happy & safe travels, and look forward to the next lot of photos and commentary!

    ps – those tan lines will be with you for life! 🙂


    Comment by Tamie | January 30, 2007 | Reply

  6. Looks like it’s all under control so far. I’m just impressed at how you managed to find a place to fix your gear shift without speaking the language!

    Beware the dodgy shwarma and good luck for the rest of the trip!


    Comment by Rob K | February 1, 2007 | Reply

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