About the Port
The port of Bizerta was known as Hippo in classical times and is now in Tunisia. Founded by Phoenicians around 1100 BC it came under the influence of the Carthaginians, was later occupied in turn by the Romans, the Vandals, the Romans again, by Arabs from 647, the Holy Roman Empire, the Turks, the Barbary Pirates, and from 1881 the French.
Interesting though the town may be, the attraction for those on the cruise would be Tunis and the remains of the ancient city of Carthage. The site of Carthage is near to Tunis and a little South of where La Marsa is shown on the image below; the excursion took in both places.
Carthage was the birthplace of Hannibal Barca - the Carthaginian general famous for his huge army, including 38 elephants - none of whom survived the journey - that marched from Spain, over the Pyrenees and Alps to invade Italy.
Hannibal would probably not be too concerned that over 2,000 years later he was the hero of one of the rhymes used by 'Old Ma Mather' - an elderly Speech Therapist employed by my school in Hammersmith in a forlorn attempt to make us oiks sound less common. We had to recite it aloud as a group ... "Annibull crorsed the Alps". I can hear it now. Poor lady. I think she at least made us aware of how we sounded and knocked some of the rough edges off our speech but we didn't get converted to 'RP'.
Hannibal crossed the Alps! Hannibal crossed the Alps!
For his bowmen, his spear-men, his front men, his rear mean,
His Gauls and his Spaniards, his horses and elephants,
Wanted the Roman scalps!
And that's why Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal,
Hannibal crossed the Alps!
Moldavia arrived in Bizerta today Saturday 15 August at 07:00 and will sail for Lisbon at 19:00 this evening.
The next leg of our journey to Lisbon is a long one - about 1,045 nautical miles. We expect to arrive at about 19:00 Tuesday 18 August.
P&O provided a leaflet about Bizerta as an introduction for visitors which is reproduced below.
Currency could be exchanged on board Moldavia but there were limits. Passengers were warned in this notice that they could only exchange excess French currency after the Bizerta excursion and that money could be exchanged ready for the visit to Lisbon the next day.
There are no photos or souvenirs for this port other than the leaflets so I assume that our party did not take the excursion and maybe just had a walk around the port. Given there were limited numbers for the excursion they may not have secured tickets. Or maybe they were tired, someone was not feeling well or they were running short of cash. Anyway the lack of more information gave me an excuse to include the anecdote about Hannibal.
It is a real pity as I would have liked to have included photos or postcards from that time.