Jerba gets a lot of hype (perhaps 3000 year’s worth) as it was the land of “Lotus Eaters: from the chronicles of Ulysses. Certainly, fields of olive trees spread over the rocky flat island are different then the semi-Sahara main land areas that surround it. It always had a causeway and thus the main town of Jerba was the end stop point for the camel caravans for centuries. It was a well fought over coastal area, Pirates and Sultans all had their parts. We stayed in a caravanserai on the edge of the old medina. A caravanserai is a walled in enclosure with camel stalls and shops of the main floor and rooms for their owners above. This was all converted to “tourist storage”. Our room was lovely—a cheap oasis for $18.00 per night that protected us from the souk sellers targeting the massive “tourist” zone on the east side of the island. We did not go there. If one wants to see white fat things basting, it is better to see the “fast food” chicken shops with the multiple layers of chicken roasting.
Being careful not to rub against the white washed walls our cozy chamber (reminiscent of a Vincent Van Gogh painting of his small rooms—which we just saw in Amsterdam) was a sanctuary. We found what found we wanted from the local soup and chicken shops. The fish restaurants clearly were tourist priced. The Kasbah fortress of the shore was impressive. It was also the scene of the beheading of 600 Spanish solders by the Turks who then cemented the skulls together in a conical tower on the shore. It stood for 300 years.
The site is a modern marina with not less than eight “pirate ships” with phony sails which are moored for the winter season. Obviously, in summer this is a busy town. Now, although we saw a few other tourists they are a few as the meager fish that the fishermen appear to be netting. We had planned to stay a few days here. After two nights, we were done—time to head to the city of Sfax to see the medina.