Djerba, Tunisia trip – 1. Plans

10 years ago I finished doing an IT work in the Portsmouth and Southampton areas of UK where I am from, to go and volunteer in Jerusalem Israel helping a Christian charity helping Jewish people.

Since then, I like to go on small trips to different places, but particularly with places of religious significance, as well as lots of parts of Israel where I lived between 2009-2013, I’ve seen amazing Christian places in Turkey, and Jewish places in the diaspora in Europe, and more exotic places like Fez Morocco.

So I am excited to be going to Tunisia in November 2019.

Djerba is where I am going to.   Its an island connected to the west coast of this North African nation.

I really want to find out about:-

  • The small remaining active Jewish community which was this island is most famous for.   Possibly the very last thriving Jewish community in a Islamic country.
  • Star Wars filming locations, Luke’s village in the original 1977 New Hope is not far from here in a village called Matmata
  • How the tourism industry operates since threats of terrorism and recent collapse of British tour operator Thomas Cook
  • Food
  • Is their Christians there in the past or today
  • Landscapes especially The Sahara Desert
  • What do Muslim and Jewish people think of Star Wars

I thought this place would be extremely close culturally to Morocco, but from the research I’m doing, they are quite different, although both are French and Arabic speak Muslim nations.

IMG_20190928_104741694They are not many recent travel books.   This Rough Guides I found on ebay is from 2001, doesn’t appear to be a more recent one, and seems to have come from a library.

1. Plans – 2. French Connection – 3. My hotel in Djerba – 4. El Griba synagogue outside – 5. El Griba synagogue inside – 6. Markets – 7. Christianity in Tunisia – 8. Ferry to mainland Tunisia – 9. Getting to Matmata, Tunisia – 10. Sidi Idris Hotel New Hope Star Wars filmset – 11. Secrets I learnt about the famous Matmata Star Wars set – 12. Cave homes for would-be Jedis – 13. More what you don’t see in Star Wars at Hotel Sidi Idris – 14. How hospitable is Sidi Idris? – 15. ATM machines and drought – 16. Matmata Nouvelle (New Matmata) – 17. Tunisian butchers and fisherman – 18. Libyan and Algerian neighbours – 19. Jewellery businesses in Djerba – 20. Tunisia and Israel relations – 21. Hara Kebira, Jewish school, soap and TV repair shops – 22. Jewish community of Hara Kebira – 23. Going home

Cheap flights to Israel from Belgium

Found out today there is another budget airline from Europe to Israel, Jetairfly (which I guess are owned by Thomson, given their logo looks the same)

They only go from Liege, in Belgium.  Given you could get there from UK or France via high speed down the Eurostar tunnel in less than 2 hours from £39, this might be a good deal if Easyjet doesn’t appeal, or indeed for travellers from continental Europe.

The other nice thing about this, some Belgian Christians told me there are lot of Jews that live in Antwerp but they don’t seem to be interested in Aliyah (immigration to Israel)  maybe this is good to give them a taste of what living here is like.

Flights to Israel from Belgium start at 79 Euros each way but there is a 15 Euro admin fee and usual annoying credit card fees too.

Heres a map I made:-

You can see the annotations I made closer.

I assume its simple to get a bus or train from Brussels to Liege, but not been to Belgium in a long time.