Mahdia reminded me of the scenes from Harry Potter where houses (or tents or other buildings) were bigger on the inside than the outside. It often seemed that Mahdia was much larger than we had thought it was…after three weeks of walking almost every day, there were still things we hadn’t seen.
The fishing harbour was one of those things that utterly surprised me. It seemed that we had skirted around it a few times in our travels through the Medina and the Souk, but I had never actually taken note of it, until we walked just a little farther one day and…voila…there it was! We had often seen from our balcony the little fishing boats bobbing in the water, but hadn’t yet seen where those boats disappeared to when they went home with their catches of the day…or when the sea was too rough to venture out.
On this day, the sea was too rough and so no boats had been able to go out fishing. When we reached the fishing harbour we could see that the boats were all tied up at the wharf, and the harbour was bustling with hard-working fishermen repairing their nets and lines. Being the offspring of a Maritime family whose Newfoundland ancestral roots stretch all the way back to the early 1600’s, (and possibly even further back, going by the etchings on the tombstones in the family cemetery) the sights and smells and sounds tugged at something deep within me and I just wanted to sit there for awhile and soak it in.
The place was bustling, yet tranquil at the same time…I really sensed the deep attachment the fishermen had to their boats and to the sea.
One of the more intriguing sights was what looked like an old pirate ship…we could see it from a distance, looming high above the wharf, its masts still regal, the ship creaking under its heavy weight of old tales and echoing whispers of ghostly presence. I wanted to linger and listen…but when all I could hear was the distant clanging of swords and shouts of blood lust raging across the old wooden deck, it made me shiver, and we moved on.
As we left the harbour and walked back toward the centre of town, we came across a man sitting on the corner, repairing leather goods. Our friend had been searching for someone who could repair his watch band, so he asked this man on the corner. The man looked at it, whipped out an old leather purse, cut and snipped a few pieces here and there and in less than 7 minutes, our friend had a beautiful new leather watch band. But I wasn’t allowed to take a picture.
That’s Mahdia. Beautiful Mahdia full of beautiful kind people. Of all of the strange and wonderful sights that we saw throughout our three weeks here, the memory that will shine the brightest will be of the kindness of the people of Mahdia.
This will be the last “touristy” segment with pictures of Mahdia itself…I’ll be writing one more entry to this series, with advice and links for anyone who might be thinking of travelling to Mahdia. (Maybe I’ll include a few pictures from our days at the beach itself, though it was off season and actually too cold to spend much time at the beach.)
For now, I hope my blog has helped bring some of Mahdia’s beauty and kindness to life for you. I’m a rather haphazard tourist, with very little photography skills, who just enjoys sharing these glimpses of the world with you. I’ve been glad for your company, and I thank you very much for coming along for the ride.