Friday, July 22, 2016

In and Around Fes

This morning we had a lovely breakfast served in a sma
ll dining room off the courtyard; Morrocan tea, hand squeezed orange juice, cakes, olives, cheeses, bread, Moroccan pancakes, honeys and jams. Yum.. This riad and it's wonderful staff (Idir) is wonderful. It is called Riad Tafilalet www.riadtafilalet.com 

The streets were all cleaned up in the morning, most donkey pooped cleaned up ( or sawdust put over) and garbage mostly gone.

We had a guide for our full day in Fes. 

We first started out in the New City. The new city was built in the 14th century. It is called the new city because the old city where we are staying dates back to the 8th century. It's all relevant, really.

We visited the main gates of the royal Palace. There seems to be a lot of royal palaces in Morocco.

We next toured the old Jewish area. Quite pretty in many parts. The tile work, balconies, and intricate doorways are ancient but still swarm with everyday life. Much of it needs to be restored but it is still quite lovely. 

We then checked out another intricately tiled gate...blue on one side, green on the other.

Our guide is excellent...a wealth of information and very proud of his beautiful and exotic city.

We got back into the minivan. Because the guide is with us today, they had to pull out the middle seat which I ended up sitting in. It was kind of wobbly and at times made me feel like I was on a Disney ride. Fortunately, that was just for this one portion of the day.

We drove up to a high vantage point where we had an amazing view of the city with its ancient walls, miniarets and medinas.

We next toured a tile/pottery factory.  Really informative and of course I bought some pottery....couldn't resist.

We left our van back at the ancient medina and continued our tour on foot. We went through many souks (markets) including the leather and tannery souks. As we entered the tannery, they gave us mint to counteract the smell of the dyes. We also food markets, meat market (we saw camel meat...I wouldn't mind trying some), cloth market, copper market, knife sharpening area and more. We saw Morocco's oldest university which was ironically started by a female in 859 and many mosques, tiled fountains, beautiful gates and doorways. All this while snaking our way through the complicated alleyways.

Carol and Cheryl both noted that these narrow alleyways were crowded by people coming and going but everyone was quite respectful; no pushing and shoving. The only time when we felt pushed and shoved was when a large group of tourists came through. The other thing we noticed was that we were not hassled much to buy stuff.

By 4:00pm we were ready to rest up at the riad. We ate at the riad. It was delicious, our best Moroccan meal so far. We ended our evening admiring the city and drinking mint tea on the rooftop terrace.

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