Sidi Bou Said: a quick visit to this white Mediterranean village and a meal in a restaurant with a high risk for me
We had reached the end of the trip! And not only of the trip to Tunisia, but also of my trip with Isa… It was our last day in that country that had treated us so well. But we still had 24 hours left to continue visiting Tunisia. That day, we weren’t as lucky for breakfast as we were for dinner the day before. As in the hotel in Douz, there was a breakfast buffet. After looking a bit at the options, we saw that the risk of cross contamination was too high. We ordered an omelet and the rest of the shopping just in case. That day we would go with part of the group to visit Sidi Bou Said and then we would end up going to a see if we could find gluten free restaurants in Tunis (city). You can see the video of the trip here or by clicking on the image below.
That was the last day of the trip already. We were no longer going in groups as we had organized ourselves for the desert days. Now we were all together and separated at the same time. We were still with the couple from Toledo. We had established a very good relationship with them.
Some went to see the ruins of Cartagena. Others stayed at the hotel enjoying the amenities it offered. Others went with one of the Territori 4×4 guides to Sidi Bou Said.
Although it’s been a little over a year since this trip (and I take this opportunity to say that after this post I will share a trip to Greece that I did at the end of 2021) I was equally amazed with the price of diesel. Filling the tank cost me 30€. Filling it up today in Spain costs me 150€… it’s a nightmare! I spend more on gasoil than on food! Anyway!
Back to the trip, getting to Sidi Bou Said didn’t cost us anything, it was quite fast! Also, on the way there, we saw a bit of the ruins of Cartagena (from the car).
You could tell we were at a tourist site – it was full of people! Most (like us) with cameras and looking everywhere.
It’s interesting to see how similar some of the villages in different parts of the Mediterranean are. If you showed me a picture and told me it was Cadaques in Spain or San Torini in Greece I would believe it. I really enjoyed walking through a village like that. We had been seeing endless shades of brown in the desert for many days. Seeing white colors, blues and, above all, the sea, was comforting.
After walking through this beautiful village and seeing the sea framed by the white and blue houses of this beautiful village, we met in a bar to have a typical tea there. Or so we were told. It was a tea with pine nuts, it was delicious!
Gathered all those who had gone to Sidi Bou Said, we went back to the car to go to Tunis city in search of a restaurant that had been recommended to the guide of Territori 4×4.
The restaurant was called La Maison de la Grillade at street 01 Rue Farhat Hached in La Goulette and it was a fish place. Yes… a restaurant specialized on fish… although they also had meat, the main dish was fish. For me there was a double risk…. The gluten and the fish! Especially because the same thing could happen as in El Djem… I was afraid that they would cook both products (meat and fish) on the same grills or with the same cutlery… cross contamination by fish is really dangerous for me.
Here I would face two adventures… the first was communicating with the waiters. The restaurant was really busy and it would not be easy to talk directly to the cooks… the second was the more critical one… eating what they brought to me!
I used every tool at my disposal. To explain the celiac disease I used the gluten-free travel card in French. I also used the gluten-free travel card in Arabic. And to explain the fish allergy I tried to remember all the French I had learned in school so I could talk to everyone who came to take notes… I’m sure my French teacher would have been proud of me haha.
The goal was clear! I had to survive eating meat in a fish market in Tunisia. Being allergic to fish! Of course…
The key was to insist and repeat things a lot. I showed them the adrenaline shot so that they understood that it was not a joke and that I needed them to take it seriously. Their response was always “yes, not to worry”. I was… and very much so! Although I didn’t show it to them so as not to offend anyone.
I ordered salad and lamb WITHOUT fries. The first salad came with tuna… although he hadn’t ordered it, one of the other travelers took it when he saw it. The next one came without fish. Good! As for the lamb, it arrived with a rather suspicious empty space. I deduced that it was for the fries… they weren’t there, but they probably would have been there and had been put away… I’ll never know!
Luckily everything went well, as I had no symptoms of either fish allergy or gluten contamination. I had made it!
After leaving the restaurant we went to the medina of Hammamet. When we arrived, unfortunately, the stores were already closing. I was both sad and happy at the same time. The advantage of visiting a medina with the stores closed is that they don’t drag you in to see and buy everything they have. The disadvantage is that it looks sad and dull. Totally different from a medina… we were able to walk through its streets and, although we did not visit the museum, it was interesting to walk through that white and blue labyrinth.
Back at the hotel, we packed our bags. We divided them in two: the suitcase to get on the ship, and the suitcase with the rest of the clothes to leave in the car. Then we rested for a while before going down to dinner.
Kader had already left us but it was not difficult to communicate with the waiters. With the help of the gluten free travel card and my “super” French (I hope you read that with a lot of irony) we managed to eat well. With the company of Dani and Beatriz (the couple from Toledo) we had rice with veal for dinner.
The sadness of the end of the trip was already beginning to show. We didn’t want to get separated from such a lovely group.
The next day, after breakfast, we went to the port to embark. We had 30 hours of sailing ahead of us to return to get back to Italy.
As on the first day of the journey, we would sleep in Savona. We would have liked to go back for pizza at the Barbarossa but it was closed. We had to make do with what was left of the “just in case shopping” in the room.
And that’s all for the amazing trip to Tunisia. A wonderful few days discovering a new country and meeting exceptional people.
Before finishing, I would like to share something else with you. Throughout the posts about this trip, I have made some comments about our relationship with Isa. Two weeks after returning (more or less), when she came back from visiting her parents in Cuenca, we decided that the best thing for both of us was not to stay together any longer. At least not as a couple. This is, in part, the reason why it has taken me so long to share the trips I had left pending. Since shortly after I started Gluten Free Adventures, she has been a part of my trips (even if she didn’t accompany me on all of them) and has helped me a lot in designing the site, and reviewing and improving the content I shared. For this, and everything else, a really thank you Isa!
You can see the pictures of the trip here.
BY CLICKING ON THE MAP OF GLUTEN FREE RESTAURANTS YOU FILL SEE ALL RESTAURANTS WE DESCRIBED IN THIS POST LOCATED IN THE MAP OF GLUTEN-FREE PLACES:
AND HERE WE LEAVE THE CELIAC TRAVEL CARD IN FRENCH:
AND HERE WE LEAVE THE CELIAC TRAVEL CARD IN ARABIC:
P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!
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