Mercian Travel

Royal Chelsea Pensioners visit to Tunisia

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaHi everybody we thought you would like an update on our recent holiday to Tunisia when we were privileged to take out with with twentyfive Royal Chelsea Pensioners plus their attendant doctor Abigail and her husband Simon.

We all descended on Heathrow Airport on a chilly March morning with the men all looking very smart in their blue blazers , red ties and grey trousers, this was one occassion when I'm afraid us women had to take a back seat in satorial elegance. Thankfully the flight was on time and we headed off towards what we hoped would be warmer and sunnier climes.

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaOur flight landed in Tunis and we were met by Saphir Voyages who would be taking us to Port El Kantoui and our hotel The Green Park, which unfortunately happens to be a one hour and fortyfive minutes drive in the dark. We also had to put our watches forward one hour so we arrived at the Green Park at 10.30 pm and after checking in it was very pleasant to find that supper had been left for us in our rooms.

Bright sunshine greeted us the next morning when we met one another at breakfast exchanging comments as to what could be seen from our balconies, advise on what was good to have for breakfast and compliments on the array of foods that could be had. I must admit it is lovely to have a pot of freshly brewed coffee brought to the table.

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaWe eagerly went to the bowling green to catch up with friends from previous years and introduce the Pensioners to the Mercian Bridge and Bowling holiday group who were also keen to meet the 'men'. We kept Sunday very low key and relaxing after our long day on Saturday, familiarising ourselves with what pleasure the Green Park had to offer particulary where the bar was situated and also the seating areas to get the best possible warmth from the sun whilst sipping our favourite tipple! or coffee and pancakes during the afternoon.

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaMonday saw us off out bright and early at 8.30am after breakfast for our first excursion with Saphir Voyages to Carthage. Unfortunately our first scheduled stop at St George's church proved uneventful as we could not get in, the gates to the church being locked although they knew we were coming and there was no way of getting in touch with the person who could let us in,


Chelsea Pensioners in Tunisiabut it gave us an opportunity to see the carthagenains at close range, too close some of the time, and stand in awe as cars missed us by inches.

The shops in this street were mainly habadashary and filled with stock that looked as if it had been there for years. There were also machine rooms were you could get your upholstery carried out once you had selected the material. It might have looked a mess but whatever a Tunisian women wanted in the way of furnishing materials could be found in this very overcrowded and vibrant street.

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaThe opportunity was taken for a recreational stop before proceeding onto our lunch venue which had been booked for us by Saphir.

Then we stopped at a very pleasant restaurant and were treated to Briks for starters , fish or turkey for our main course and complimentary drinks with our meal.


Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaWe then proceeded to the American War Cemetery where we were met by a very knowledgeable American who gave us a short history of the campaigns when unfortunately 2,841 men were killed.

The cemetery is kept immaculate and has a great sense of peace, it was an honor to spend time there although limited as we had an appointment with the British Ambassador at his residence for afternoon tea.

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaWe arrived at the residence just in time to witness the Ambassador's car hastily driven up the drive and his excellence running up the stairs ready to receive us!

He apologized for his lateness but unfortunately government matters had taken longer than expected. We were very fortunate to meet his Canadian wife and their two young children and also a number of extra visitors who kept the Pensioners happily occupied whilst drinking English and having lovely cakes and pastries.

Chelsea Pensioners in TunisiaWe were also privileged in being given a book entitled "Cemeteries and Memories" The Second World War in Tunisia by Lillian Craig Harris. We said our goodbyes and headed back to Port El Kantoui and were treated to being part of the Tunis rush hour. And we think we have problems !!. Glad to be back at the Green Park for pre dinner drinks and a shower.

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Royal Chelsea Pensioners Gallery