“1000 thneya and thneya”: Le Kef, between Hammam Mellègue, flavors and weaving

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Perched on the heights of north-western Tunisia at 175Km from the capital Tunis, the Kef is one of the most well-known regions of Tunisia, notably for its numerous Roman ruins, its Muslim religious edifices and its cultural festivals such as ” Sicca Jazz “,” Le Kef sings “,” Le Festival du court “… It is” the city of the throne “where the dynasty of the Husseinites which will reign until the advent of the republican regime in 1957 was born with the birth of its founder Hussein Bey, son of Sidi Ali Turki.

The Kef is also known for its famous “borzguene”, a couscous with lamb with nuts, which puts us in the mouth, its “margoum”, a weaving of wool used as carpet, which brings us back to our origins Berbers and its Roman Baths, “Hammam Mallègue”, which can only regenerate our senses more and give life to distant memories.

It is precisely at the heart of this cultural walk rich in history that takes us the first episode of “1000 thneya and thneya” (1001 roads). Broadcast during the weekend on airwaves of Express FM http://www.radioexpressfm.com , this capsule is supported by the hotel La Badira https://www.labadira.com and its Spa by Clarins https://www.labadira.com/fr/content/spa-experience. An emission concept that enhances the talents, territories and emerging destinations in Tunisia.

For this route, our first station is le restaurant «El Walima», where you can taste the most refined delicacies of the terroir. From the “borzguene” to the “ghrayef” through “chakhchukha”, Mrs. Souad knows how to do everything. With two other women in the kitchen, this generous grandmother will give you a multi sensory experience. If you are fond of couscous with lamb and  nuts, do not hesitate to order the local recipes in advance. El Walima is also a caterer! A guaranteed treat!

The adventure continues elsewhere, in a farm teaching, Sidi Ali Ghofrane, whose owner is none other than the son of our dear Mrs. Souad. President of the Association Bio El Kef and a member of Slow Food, an international movement whose main objective is to raise citizens’ awareness of eco-astronomy and alter-consumption, Moez works on enhancing the agricultural heritage of the Tunisian northwest and preserving local varieties and seeds.

The products of the farm, the products of the terroir of the whole region which are coming from the social and solidarity economy, are sold on the Internet through an Economic Interest Grouping ( GIE) : site etiktfood.com/ They are also available and tasted at Dar Alyssa, where we stopped for the night and dinner.

The guest house has a fireplace, ideal for family evenings by the fireplace during the long winter nights. And that’s not all ! The owner of Dar Alyssa has thought of the amateurs of bronze. This property has a swimming pool to cool off after a good lunching session in the sun.

Think of booking before disembarking. But if you have not been able to get there, if you do not have a place, we suggest you try other authentic and pleasant places such as guest houses of Dar Sidi Boumakhlouf, Dar Chennoufi or the magnificent house of Besma; Dar Sidi Abdallah.

If you are a fan of baths and can not resist when they are married at the pomp of an archaeological monument, be sure to head for the thermal baths of Hammam Mallègue.

Located at 20Km from the town center of Kef, these thermal baths of 2200 years old, offers a framework of relaxation rudimentary but atypical. They are also known for their highly sulphated waters and numerous therapeutic virtues. The Hammam will only cost you 500 millimes (0.5TDN) and you may be lucky enough to cross the legendary frog! And think again, it does not affect the fairy account of the Princess and the frog who turns into a prince if we embrace it! Legend has it that here, offerings were made to ask fertility for women. The appearance of the frog with its babies was considered a good sign. She then announced the number of children to be born from the bed. Not far from the vestiges of this Roman spa and if you are nature lovers and sporting activities, you can go hiking. The course is dented, so think about suitable shoes.

On the road, do not forget to pay attention and visit “Lella Chliguia”, a sacred olive tree that stands on the road leading to Hammam Mallègue between Km 7 and 10. Ornamented pieces of tissues which represent as many wishes of the people, the tree is considered a protector.

Now that you’ve stretched your legs, brightened your taste buds and naturally cleansed your body, it’s time to take you on a colorful journey to meet a talented craftswoman, Ms. Mehria Cherni. Awarded by the Crafts Office at the 2017 Crafts Fair, Mehria is a reference in dyeing and wool weaving. These “margoums” are true masterpieces that will not fail to add a touch of fresh design to your interior. Mehria uses traditional techniques to dye its wool. She makes natural vats with vegetable oils of orange blossom, lavender, thyme and rosemary where she plunges her wool and leaves it in ten different shades as needed.

A last break is necessary! it’s at  la grotte d’Althiburos which Ammar Belguith has set up as an artistic workshop that 1001Tunisie takes you. Its camping area, located in the middle of the most beautiful archaeological sites of the region, inspires reflection and creativity. Have your boots and your tents, camp!

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