Huntly – Sahara

A train journey from Huntly to the edge of the Sahara
With my daughter Deborah May


17 March Huntly to London
Huntly, Insch, Inverurie, Dyce, Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Montrose, Arbroath, Leuchars, Kirkaldy, Inverkeithing, Dundee, Edinburgh Haymarket, Edinburgh Waverley, Berwick upon Tweed, Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, York, London Kings Cross

8.38 train, Ron is there, and 2 other folks I know, Christiane, from Stuttgart, Petra, from Glass, Ron off to Washington, we chat about the Hielan way, limbs still aching, from the slow marathon trial yesterday, he leaves at Dyce, I do last round up of work documents, still left, before I go, Michael joins in Edinburgh, talk about granddad, and Oma, and old age, and what comes after, in Wimbledon, we see granddad’s house. Rachel is there, from Tunis, Nick too, Deborah too, all together, we go the pub, with the other Mays, the next day we put granddad to rest, in style, with Third Man music.

Oddity of the day: 3 folks on train from Huntly
Highlight of the day: seeing all the family for first time since Christmas
Lowdown of the day: buffet car runs out of sandwiches

19 March London to Mechelen
London St. Pancras International, Lille Europe, Bruxelles-Midi-Eurostar, Mechelen

Brought Michael to Kings Cross, with his massive bag, full of granddad’s stuff, Deborah, and I, go to the British museum, but, cloak room full, we go to Monmouth coffee house instead, sip a Guatemalan booster; delicious, including a chocolate croissant, overhear Dutch table sharers, beter dan in Frankrijk,swing past Neil’s yard, where I hung out in my London day, Deborah never seen it, Monty Python plaque, he lived there, exactly the same years as I did in London, never met him, we spot Dinah, our former au pair, from Berlin, funny, in this big and monstrous city, Dinah, has her own baby now, funny, had just seen her just ten days ago, surprised at a talk I gave at OSE, share a soup and poppy seed lemon cake, at Wellcome gallery, Medicine Now, exhibition on the state of modern medicine, since 1936, when Henry Wellcome died, interpreted through art, must be great, to be a curator here sudden rush, too much chatting, too much cake eating, try to run, between the masses, to Kings Cross St Pancrass, Eurostar train, hell, need Vodaphone top up, through passport, luggage control, quick photo, off we go, Brussels Zuid, change, Mechelen, here they are, Sascha and Natasha, our good old neighbours, from Leiden times, 20 years passed, they look the same ,it if feels like the other day, ate, pre starter, caviar croustini, Shuba: Russian fish-beetroot dish, Russian mushroom soup, Indian curry, French-Flamish strawberry tart, a multicultural multicourse meal, wished Nick was here, he, like I, used to love our neighbours, we do the Mechelen rounds, a lesser known Flemish gem, with brick houses, and big churches, and gouden schaap, once a center of artistic production during Northern Renaissance.

Oddity of the day: misshapen body in Welcome gallery
Highlight of the day: Meeting the Volodins again after almost 20 years!
Lowdown of the day: almost missed the Eurostar

Familie Volodin
Familie Volodin
London St Pancras Station
London St Pancras Station

20 March Mechelen to Bremen
Mechelen, Bruxelles Noord, Liège-Guillemins, Aachen, Köln, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Essen, Bochum, Dortmund, Münster, Osnabrück, Bremen

Mechelen was once the capital of Belgium, we are told, before 1600, like every morning, Deborah runs, wander to station, after breakfast, catch the train to Brussels Noord, then train to Köln, get my first Bretzel, start a tea cosy, with Norweger muster, blue and red, not sure if nice, Susi, my beloved cousin, picks us up, lots of Nuss und Mohnkuchen, wonder round town to Karstadt, auch nicht was es mal war, no assistant, get some wool however, and a Norweger jacquard pattern, a chore of a head band, to make during the train days, Italian dinner with Klaus-Dieter, Prosecco, to mark the occasion, shame I am on lent, talk about retirement, KD taking it soon, Lotterie ticket, got a number, think of our summer holidays, in Taubertal, radeln.

Oddity of the day: Osterkitsch in Karstadt
Highlight of the day: sitting on balcony with Mohnkuchen
Lowdown of the day: Karstadt wool department

With Susi at Bremen HBF
With Susi at Bremen HBF

21 March Bremen – Würzburg – Nürnberg to München
Bremen, Hannover, Kassel, Fulda, Würzburg, Nürnberg, Ingolstadt, München

Deborah runs, the streets of Bremen, great bio Frühstück, Karottenbrot, get the Lotterie prize, funny, get the sleeper reservations, for Rome train, swing past the Überseemuseum, a temple for all life long Anthropologists, Afrika exhibition, need to give it a miss, sadly, catch train at 10, good bye to Susi, finish my Norweger tea cosy, Deborah starts woolly cushion, pink and green, I the headband, Ina not at Würzburg, Leberkäsesemmel in station café, without her, annoying man on train next to me, he thinks DB owes him money, all trains late, people tutting at the state of Germany’s efficiency…. , meet Juliane, lovely ex-aupair, with her little boy Vincent, Literaturkaffee, Lekker Kaesejohannisbeerstreuselkuchen, Eiskaffee, train late, München, Germering, Oma, Mutti, Gulaschsuppe, Rote Grütze, marble chocolate cake, Oma’s cooking, the best.

Oddity of the day: tombola, where we win a glass of pasta sauce at Bremen station.
Highlight of the day: Kaesekuchencake in the Literaturkaffee of Nuremberg
Lowdown of the day: Deutsche Bahn consistently delayed

Unterpfaffenhofen-Germering Station
Unterpfaffenhofen-Germering Station

Saturday 22 March, Germering / München
Unterpfaffenhofen-Germering, Harthaus, Neuaubing, Westkreuz, Pasing, Laim, Donnersberger Brücke, Hackerbrücke, Hautbahnhof, Karlsplatz, Marienplatz (and back)

Hanging out day, with Oma, head to town, Schuster Sport, my favourite of all shops, via Viktualienmarkt, coffee with Gabriele, at the Müllersches Volksbad, Himberschokoladetorte, , Deborah, Kirschkaesekuchen, then concert, unheralded music, of Queen Mary, by Purcell, sneak in a quick Leberkäsesemmel on way back, S Bahn delayed.

Oddity: the choir, like funeral guests
Highlight: the Himbeerschokoladekuchen and refurbished pool
Lowdown of the day: S Bahn problems everywhere

Sunday 23 March, Germering – Roma
Germering, München, Rosenheim, Kufstein, Woergl, Innsbruck, Fortezza/Franzensfeste, Bressanone/Brixen, Bolzano/Bozen, Trento, Verona, Bologna, Firenze, Roma Termini

Lazy morning, in Germering, Vater and Heidi come at 12, lunch at Parsberghof, talk about the Leica, good photos, black and white, Friedhof, put down a bunch of red gerbera, not sure about gerbera, a bit plastic-y, but nice colour, orange, Hannelore, its 23 years ago, this week she would be 46, unbelievable, if you die young you never age, must be nice, daughter, mother, grandmother play rummikub, as is tradition, when we assemble, rainy walk, round Germeringer See, with Oma’s cooking and delightful baking, one feels better, 9 pm, sleeper to Roma, share with 3, a German conflict resolution specialist and Italian couple, man snores, at loudest, train rattles us sleepy, ear plugs help, they all get off at Firenze, enjoy the views of Umbria, Roma here we come.

Oddity: war memorial in Pucheim
Highlight: Leberknödelsuppe
Lowdown of the day: rain

In Puchheim

Monday 24 March, Roma all day
Arrival in Rome, like 9.30, after great sleep, super lovely conductor, brings us tea, fresh to crack the ancient citta, latte macchiato, orange squeeze, luggage to the baggagli place, off we go, Colosseum first, Forum Romanum, meet Ilaria and Elisa, kiss kiss, Frida Kahlo exhibition, at Triennale, lots of self portraits, followed by lunch in Antica Birreria Perroni, canelloni, delicious, Piazza Spagna, espresso shot, over the Tevere, to the Vatican, security check, altro espresso, surrounded by marble sculptures, San Piedro basilica, miss the queue for the balsamed bishop, Poste Vaticana, two postcards to Oma, and to Paul and Clea, sun on the giant piazza, march along giardino, in the rain and through Trastevere, walking, walking, always walking, un gelati, in the rain, pistacchio gusto, via Campo Fiori back to Termini, metropolitana to Via Tuscolana, Ilaria’s flat, once the one of Gaetano’s mama, full of film travesty, and her own painting, decor nice, on the fine border between taste and kitsch, Nino and Alessandro join us, pizza, exhausted, from city walks, what is the difference between city and country walking?, city certainly more tiring, latter more my thing.

Oddity of the day: the waiter who laughed when Deborah ordered latte after lunch
Highlight: lunch at Birreria Antica Peroni; pistachio gelati in Trastevere
Low down: exhaustion at the end of 8 hours city walking


Poste Vaticane
Poste Vaticane

Tuesday 25 March, Roma – Napoli
Roma T., Campoleone, Cisterna di Latina, Latina Sezze Romano, Privemo-Fossanova, Monte S.Biagio, Fondi-Sperlonga, Formia-Gaeta, Minturno-Scauri, Sessa Aurunca, Faciano-Mondragone-Carinola, Villa Literno, Aversa, Napoli Centrale

Deborah off running, through antique landscape, good girl, brings back cornetto, off on the slow train, to Napoli, at 10.36, through the fruit basket of Europe, cherry trees, apple, oranges and grapes, buffalo pastures, passed Fondi, fond memories, of holiday with
Susi, a few years ago, weather turned nasty, 8 degrees, and rain!, did not spoil our mood, used to it,walked through the myriad of alley ways, find a pasticceria, with the famous sfogliatelle, a kind of Mille feuille pastry, stuffed with cream, head to the harbour, check out the sailings, to Capri, to Sardegna, to Tunis?….. great exhibition with Caravaggio, and contemporaries, a bar, chat to the Syrian waiter, who married a Neapolitan girl he met during her studies in Damascus, world famous pizzeria, veramente delicious, bar with spritz, Ginnio airbnb, great flat, makes out the duomo complex, stitched up cupit, in view, from window, talk with our Bnbsharer, a Norwegian writer, read on salmon fishing in Yemen.

Oddity of the day: the stitched up cupit from our window
Highlight of the day: the first sfogliatelle
Low down: Scottish weather

Napoli Centrale

In Napoli

Wednesday 26 March, Napoli – Tropea
Napoli Centrale, Salerno, Sapri, Paola, Lamezia Terme, Pizzo, Vibo Marina, Briatico, Zabrone, Parghelia, Tropea

Biscotti breakfast, at Giannio’s, headed for pasticceria, latte macchiato, waiter in beautiful uniform, meander to piazza Giovanni, board train, gulp down a sweet espresso and one more sfogliatelle, this time with some pistachio stuffing, sfogliatelle pastry choices are extraordinary, from blood orange and ricotta to Nutella and chestnut, on train, see Vesuvio, snow covered, en route, must be 25, or more years ago, when I walked up there, with Massimo Cavallaro, from his parents’ farm, train leads through one of Europe’s most beautiful routes, Salerno, Sapri, buffalos for the mozzarella, plenty of them, a couple, obviously catolico, accompanied us till Lamezze, lady in black, gives us a religious charm pendent, will it bless our way, help with the karma? Change in Lamezze, time for Orange juice, always squashed, in front of your eyes, stroll about, find a poster, announcing the amount of young people, that died, due to car crashes, in Lamezze, car cruisers, in Lamezze, like in Huntly, scenic train route, esmerald blue sea, orange gardens, lemon gardens, carved out villages, Fellini scenes, and then Tropea, I NEVER thought I would get here, never, it was my sister Hannelore’s hide out, now I know why, it’s the most beautiful, ancient spot lacing the mediterraneo, Tropea getting ready for its visitors, later in spring, made use of the sleepiness, of the place, little walk, on empty beach, low under the ancient town, found a lovely restaurant, giant fish platter, followed by gnocchi with camerone.

Oddity of the day: the holy Mary on Deborah’s neck (joined by Fatima’s hand)
Highlight of the day: massive frutta de mare platter
Low down of the day: couldn’t eat the whole fish platter

Napoli - Tropea
Napoli – Tropea

Thursday 27 March, Tropea to Palermo
Tropea, S.Domenca, Ricadi, Nicotera, Rosarno, Gioia Tauro, Palmi, Bagnara, Scilla, Villa S. Giovanni, Messina Maritima, Messina Centrale, Milazzo, Bacellona-Castroreale, Capo d’Pramdo-Naso, S.Agata di Militello, Cefalu, Termini Imerese, Palermo Centrale

Started with multi cornetti, Buffallo mozzarella, oranges, freshly picked, at our Portercole B+B, swung another round through Tropea, shrieked, turning round the corner, the sea in sight, local signore make fun of us, shouting OH MY GOD!, stop train, leaves at lunch time, via Rosarno, trains like a market place, offered torches, mops and socks, San Giovanni, intercity train, from Roma, went on the boat, to Messina, now in Sicily, in Messina, train splits, Siracusa and Palermo, arrive in Palermo, late, despite miscommunications, get into the palazzo of Anna Maria, AirBnB host, good mix of ‘engliano’, recommend, late dinner, at trattoria Torremuzza, kitsch, linoleum aesthetics and the octopus salad, fried seafood, cooked before our eyes, on a street barbecue, sea only a street away, another fulfilled day, in every sense.

Oddity of the day: the train going onto the boat to Sicily
Highlight of the day: street seafood barbecued before our eyes
Lowdown of the day: none

View of Stromboli from Tropea
View of Stromboli from Tropea

Friday 28 March, Palermo
Earl Grey at Anna Maria’s, fresh oranges, strawberries, weave our way through Palermo’s streets, alleys, sea front, book ferry passage for two, for tomorrow, to next destination, Tunis, to meet rest of Zeiske-May clan, haircut at a perruccheria, a hairdresser that dares cutting short, great enthusiasm, past Vacciria mercato, funny postcards, for Anna, and Cat, of mums, and babies, walk Palermo, cover city, as much as we can, Via Roma, with luxury antique builds, crumbling buildings, piazzas overgrown with weeds, architecture European oriental mix, church after church, piazza after piazza, via after via, delicious gelato, focaccia, espresso, artichokes, salami, cheeses and the so very wonderful mandarinas at Balaro mercato, finish off day with buffalo mozzarella pizza.

Oddity of the day: Meeting Tim Clifford at the Chiesa Capitulare di San Cataldo
Highlight of the day: the food market (what else?)
Lowdown: rain most of the day


Chiesa Capitulare di San Cataldo
Chiesa Capitulare di San Cataldo

Saturday 29 March Palermo – Tunis
Finish off the salmon fishing in the Yemen, Deborah running, head to the harbour, cafe with cornettos first, postcard writing, mother/daughter ‘bicker’, greeted by a mass of people, queuing at border control, getting on board with all sorts, great joy, looking at the overloaded cars, like sculptures full with furniture motorbikes, whatever sells, day on the boat is beautiful, spent on deck, think of Hannelore, 46 today, unbelievable, maybe it was never meant to happen, plenty of picnic, from Palermo market, salami, mandarinas, peccorino, mortadella…, deck full of Tunisian families, spreading out on the floors, with blankets, picnic, prayer mats, see shores of Sicily, for a long time, passing Trapani, Faviana, Marettimo, other islands, sea quite, almost still, it gets dark, meet Giovanni, moved to Tunis, from Sicily, like other Italians, when retired, when the crisis kicked in, with the low pensions, it’s cheaper there, he says, it’s ok, there, but doesn’t t speak French, or Arabic, his son in Palermo, he cooks pasta in Tunis, every day, it’s getting dark, on deck, the sun set makes it cold, read a bit of Song Lines, Bruce Chatwin, a clever man, a bit of knitting, the jacquard pattern, the 6th star appears, on the pattern, talk to some boys, who like to test their English, some man, who bike to the Sahara, view the lights of Tunis, exciting, almost there, almost there, passport control, Rachel, Nick, kiss, hug, kiss, xxx.

Oddity of the day: overloaded cars making their way to Tunis
Highlight of the day: viewing Tunis/Africa from the distance
Lowdown of the day: cheesy feet on deck, Salmon fishing finished

DSC03149 Palermo Harbour[/caption]

Sunday 30 March, Sidi Bou Said, Zagouine
House like stuff dreams made of, white washed walls, blue woodwork, veiled beds, red light above ours, roof terrace, view over the sea, towards Sicily, and Sidi Bou Said, home to many artists, like Paul Klee, head off with a louage, small pick up bus, common in Tunisia, to Zaguine, with a roman well, full of roman reminders, en route the viaduct, it’s cool today, back at our Tunis home, we cook, with the things you get here, artichokes, fennel, oranges, olives, there comes Michael, from London, we are complete. Again.

Oddity of the day: ostrich in restaurant garden at lunch time
Highlight of the day: the sea, the house, the village; Michael’s arrival
Low down of the day: a bit cold for Africa



Monday 31 March, Sidi Bou Said, Tunis
Sunny, head down to sea, mint tea at the bay, with pine nuts, delicious, taxi to Tunis, tourist office, map, medina, souk, tourist tat, view over mosque, rug trap, ochre coloured woven rug in rucksack, Rachel’s friends, en route, Ayman, an architect, in charge of the renovation of Tunis medina, Ben an American, talks a lot, tasty snack, called Malawi, or so, wrapped chapatis, with egg, and salad, and tuna, back to Sidi, cook again, aubergines, Rachel moody, nervous, not sure about future, here, there or everywhere?

Oddity of the day: pine nuts in the tea
Highlight of the day: haggling with carpet sellers; pine nuts in the tea
Lowdown of the day: haggling carpet sellers

with Michael

Tuesday 1 April, Tunis
Resty day, digest the travels, try April fool on Nick, not real success, this year, Rachel stares at computer, undecided, the email from Switzerland comes in, stunned, both of us, reality sinks in, steaming up party mood, head for town, meet Emi from Sardinia, quick round of École des Belles Artes, visit to Mass’Art, visit to Rachel’s first host family Mouna, Souheil, Maya and Neil Ben Halima in La Goulette, a new experience, chauffeur takes us home.

Oddity of the day: being driven by a chauffeur
Highlight of the day: Rachel’s news, meeting Emi
Lowdown of the day: exhaustion from travels in the morning

Wednesday 2 April, Tunis – Tozeur
Tunis, Hamm-Lit, Gromballa, Sousse, Msaken, Sfax, Graiba, (Gafsa, Tozeur)

Early start, at la Gare de Tunis, SNCFT, Société Nationale de Chemins de Fer Tunisiens, breakfast, with orange, giant lemon, train late, it comes, seat collapses, very comfy, nevertheless, open carriage doors, drop down to rail tack, beautiful views, best one out of the back, open door, never mind the delay, Bruce Chatwin in mind, song lines, Grombalia, Hammamet, Sousse, El Jem, pass massive colosseum, Sfax, El Ghrayba, train stops, a crash on the single line, between two freight trains, THIS IS HOW FAR THE TRAIN TOOK US FROM HUNTLY, sit on platform, one hour, two hours, train arrives from opposite direction, people go on strike, squat the track, three hours, quick peanut and cashew snack, night kicks in, replacement bus arrives, great rush, get the back seats, night looks like the Tunisian flag, moon crescent, like a sharp sickle, and a bright star, watch it till sleep kicks in, would it look the same from Huntly, or if Mutti looks at it, from Munich? few bumps, head meets bus ceiling, head rests on shoulder, a few hours sleep, get to Tozeu, at midnight, receptionist, at the hotel, awaking from his waiting sleep.

Oddity of the day: waiting people squatting the train track
Highlight of the day: the sky at night
Lowdown of the day: the end of a long train journey from Huntly to the edge of the Sahara

Graiba, the end of the train journey
Graiba, the end of the train journey

Graiba Train journey

Thursday 3 April, Tozeur – Sahara
Tozeur, an oasis, famous for its dates, Medina, uniquely made of brick, a quite place, man with bicycle joins, with some information, the ornamental doors, with bronze knockers, left for men, right for women, small below for children, 4×4 car takes us to Douze, past the 200000 palm trees and the salty Chott el-Djerid, get a desert shawl, then the Sahara, a dream comes true, people used to drive through here, with their Unimogs, to Kenya, to South Africa, not anymore, too dangerous, borders closed, are we constantly going backwards, in our liberty?, driver called Nomad, ? to make our lives easy?, dunes mesmerising, golden, white, yellow, brown, past Park Café, mint tea, Park museum, lots of info, camels gestation is 356 days, lions once here, and elephants, not now, up and down the dunes, up and down, shaky business, arrive at the camp, jebel next to it, climb it, wishing tree, like Norma’s?, sun sets, Bedouins bake bread, in the sand, it’s easy, they say, make charcoal, heat the sand, put the dough in, half an hour, presto!, host in gallabia tells us, at the fire, under the stars, about impending wedding, how it takes four days, one for the family, one for the men, one for the women, one for the couple alone, if the wife is not good, then he can give her back, gets the goats back too, we get brique, goat meat, chips, mint tea, 8pm, bed time, all 5 in a room, cosy, at night, I get up, there are a million stars… or maybe two…

Tozeur Chott
All the family at Tozeur Chott

Camel Karavanserai

Friday 4 April, Sahara – Tozeur
Desert likes an early rise, trek in the sand, fine as talcum powder, just more runny, walk bare feet, walking bare feet in the desert, like a continuous massage, over the dunes, wind changes topography continuously, should be used to show how landscape is made, how geography forms, like a geography lesson, through a time speed machine, beetle draws attention, creates a spur, like a miniature 4×4 car, fast, what does it eat?, reach a well, Nomad/Ghassan says it is 50 m deep, takes time to get water up, but it’s fresh, clear, cool, return to base, lunch like some sultans, and its harem, with melon, fresh bread, mutton, Nomad fixes the tire, hoots the jeep, off we go, Rachel on steering wheel, past a fiesta style convention, with camels, anthropologist’s heart beats, Douza, hand back 2 guilty dinars, must look after my Karma, the chott, the palmerie, wedding, with couple in camel hump, back to Tozeur, its wonderful medina, the Dar, the nicest ever been, a place to die, if one had the choice, one day, it’s beauty beyond expectation, beyond explanation, host cooks us dinner, share it with family from Tunis, children play with puppy.

Oddity of the day: beetle creating tire pattern
Highlight of the day: walking in the desert dunes
Lowdown of the day: sand in ear, hair, eyes and iPad

Sahara trek

Sahara trek

Family at Sahara trek

Saturday 5 April, Tozeur – Kairouan
Breakfast in the Dar full of tastes for all the senses, head to louage station, market offers bling haberdashery and camel wool, Othman, driver, takes us, to Kairouan, past long road, with camel warnings only, olive trees left, right, unclimbed mountains, jebels without names, at least on the map, gets greener, as we pass the country, north, and then Kairouan, the holy city the 4th most holy, after Mekka, after Medina, after Jerusalem, the most holy in North Africa, women not welcome in cafés here, the guidebook says, it’s not obvious, we feel welcome, medina is ancient, houses white washed, doors blue, woodwork intricate, smells spicy, Dar is from Aladin’s cave, 1001 nights, blue tiles, veiled beds, roof terrace, all there, Nick and I, destined for girls suite, town invites for a stroll past market stalls, taste gum Arabica, little girls promote it as chewing gum, not sure, buy dried roses petals, for the tea, Dana in the Dar cooks fish in brique, mouton, calamari, strawberry, mint tea, another Tunisian feast…

Oddity of the day: local chewing gum
Highlight of the day: Dar Hassine Allani bedroom
Lowdown of the day: Tourist attraction Camel on the first floor, turning a water wheel


Sunday 6 April, Kairouan – Tunis
La grande mosque, the Uqba mosque, center for pilgrims, from 9th century, the size of the Vatican, but no tourists, a bliss, for us, we the only ones, all scared off, by their governments’ propaganda, in Ramadan 1500 people come here, every day, the guide tells, fountain in the middle, scared by the millenniums pulling of the rope, to wash one’s feet, 5 times a day, a round of rug shopping, 2 golden yellow ones, one for Deborah, one for us, for Berlin, off to the louage stop, what a great system, should be introduce in Scotland, a running vehicle, when full it goes, off to Tunis, past spring flowers, on both sides, of speedy road, arrive at Fatima’s, Rachel’s host, her Tunisian Oma, she says, her family is there, 2 daughters, 4 grand children, Melik, son in law, like every Sunday, house is full of food, and fruit, couscous, fish, more, more, have I ever ate so well?, Rachel so lucky, so happy here, but soon off, to Switzerland, Fatima and her sister, Asiya, take us to exhibition opening, intriguing Italo-Byzantine frescoes, on plaster/wood/cement, Asiya is an artist, shows me her work, intriguing photographs, ship mirrored in the sea, put upside down, looks odd, a bit like the loaded cars in Palermo harbour, more tiramisu and tagine at home, good bye to Fatima.

Oddity of the day: the rope carves in the marble at the mosque fountain
Highlight of the day: la grande mosque, a real gem
Lowdown of the day: last day departure sentiments


Monday 7 April, Tunis – Munich – London – Aberdeen
Taxi at 5am, no flight to London, Munich instead, re-route via Munich, why Munich?, can’t go to Munich without seeing Mutti, man behind the counter understands, but offers no option, he is sorry for me, he would need to see his mother too, if he was passing his home town, flying over the alps, while writing, I love the alps, they are my home, see the onion shaped church steeples of Bavaria, they are the icons of my heimweh, the translation for tartan into Bavarian, why Munich? Fight with tears, the houses are black now from the solar panels, no more red brick slates, it does not feel right, why not anywhere else? why Munich? I won’t get into the details of the odyssey around London and its airports, London has never forgiven me, it always feels like that, the karma? at least I picked up a good man from there, Nick, likes to do all the adventures with me, and our children too. The view from the plane window to Aberdeen looks like the view from the car run along the chott, near Douze, white grey below, light orange above, clouds here, salt there, landing, Deveron Taxi, get the gossip, back home in Huntly,10 pm.

Oddity of the day: being rerouted via Munich
Highlight of the day: seeing the steeples around Munich
Lowdown of the day: seeing the steeples around Munich


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