I’d been surprised at how verdant Egypt had been, but it at least had the decency to look tropical, all palm trees and sugar cane. Despite being on the same latitude as Gibraltar, northern Tunisia looked more like France or perhaps southern Tuscany. Things got even weirder when I reached my destination, the mountains overlooking Algeria around the village of ‘Ain Draham. Here the profusion of pine and heather lent an almost Scottish feel to the highlands, one helped by the extreme changeability of the weather. I could go for a walk in glorious sunshine, sit out a hailstorm in a café, then walk home through sleet and snow.
The village itself had a slight alpine feel, no doubt because the French had built it initially as a hill-station to escape the heat. There were lots of beautiful old buildings with red, sloping roofs and contrasting green highlights. Sadly, as it’s cheaper to build a new house than maintain an old one, Ave. Habib Bourguiba was lined with old wrecks, and Arab sprawl was starting to fill the valleys below. Still, it hadn’t quite reached tipping point, and the view from my balcony whilst the sun was shining was spectacular.