Morocco
Fès-Meknès

Here you’ll find travel reports about Fès-Meknès. Discover travel destinations in Morocco of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

34 travelers at this place:

  • Day4

    Morocco Day 4

    October 15 in Morocco

    Up and out this morning for our first stop, the Jewish Quarter, called Mellah, in the 14th C section of Fes. During the time of the Spanish Inquisition many Jews fled Spain for Morocco. At one time there were around 120,000 Jews in Fes. Today there are around 200. We visited one synagogue and walked the quarter now inhabited by Muslims. Architecture is Spanish Colonial with the wooden (cedar) balconies. The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and being restored.

    The remainder of our day was spent in the Medina, or old city of Fes, a vast system of narrow alleys (over 9,000), restaurants, shops and artisans of every kind. The experience was amazing and a fascinating day. We visited a madrasa, or school within a mosque. One of the fellows in the group mentioned that the madrasa are now known as schools where Muslim men go for training in violence. Sections of the medina are laid out according to "specialties" e.g. wedding/celebration dresses, metal (very noisy), leather, furniture, etc. Following lunch at a very nice Moroccan food restaurant, we went to a tanner "factory" within the medina. All leather made from the skins of goats, sheep or camel. The secret to the soft leather is the process of soaking the skins in water with pigeon poop (for the ammonia) for 2 weeks to take out the smell!! Their leather was beautiful and so soft. And then, of course, there was the opportunity to buy any of the leather products, primarily jackets. I resisted. :-) Illene did not

    Following this experience, we went to another artisan, a weaving place where the products are loomed by hand. Materials used are cotton, wool and silk. The silk is not from silk worms but from the agave plant, called vegetable silk. Amazing to see the speed of the weavers as they foot peddle the loom. Another opportunity to buy scarfs, tablecloths, curtains, etc.
    Back to the riad for a rest and happy hour on the beautiful roof top deck with a panoramic view of the city of Fes and the surrounding Riff mountains. Our evening was spent visiting and dining with local families as a cultural exchange. We split into 3 groups of 5 or 6 each. The family my group visited was a father and daughter. The father did not speak English but was very active and interested in the conversation with his daughter as interpreter. The daughter at 19 is in her 3rd year of medical school. Obviously, the education system is different than the US. Lots of topics covered during a delightful dinner. E.g. Moroccan history with the French, educational and health care systems, family life, etc. An interesting and fun-filled day.
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  • Day3

    Morocco Day 3

    October 14 in Morocco

    A travel day from Rabat to Fes about a 3 hour drive. Breakfast at hotel and out by 8:30 and into the bus. Nice large bus for just 16 of us so plenty of room to spread out. We will be in Fes for 3 days.
    Took the :road less traveled” so skipped the major road and went the backroads for more to see and interesting stops. First break was a large Oak cork forest where the tress produce cork as in Portugal. Cork is harvested and manufactured in Morocco. It is not as big an industry as the cork is more porous than cork from Portugal. Second stop at a very large Sunday farmer’s market in the farming area outside of Rabat. Wonderful looking fruits, vegetables, and lots of really great, healthy looking herbs – tons of mint. Mint tea is a staple here. I did not think I was going to like it as everything I read said it was very sweet. I have not found it sweet at all but very good. Last stop before Fes was an elderly woman (74) 😊 who has a roadside stand and sells eggs, honey, jo jo ??? nuts, and other foods. She lived across the road where toured her new home that one of her son’s built for her recently. Her daughter baked bread for us in a wood fire oven outside, and Jeannie and another group member cooked us an omelet with her spices and eggs. All was a lovely spot and very interesting to see Moroccan rural life.

    On into Fes for our 3 night stay. Our riad is terrific in the middle of the 14thC area of Fes!! Beautiful Moroccan decor - mosiacs everywhere, elegant furnishings, courtyards with water features, and a terrific roof area for "happy hour"' We lunch at our riad, got settled in our rooms and off to begin the sights of Fes. Drove up to a high fortification area for a panoramic view of the city. (over 1 million people). Fes is divided into 3 sections, the new city, the 14th C city and the 9th C area. The 9th C area includes the infamous medina or old city. Our next stop was an artisan shop where pottery is made. We all had a lesson on the production of "upscale" pottery. e.g. all done by hand. The pieces they make are fantastic. Lots also done with mosaics, individually cut and placed. Amazing large pieces e.g. tables, bathroom sinks and counters as well as huge vases and many other things. A very interesting hour.

    Back to riad, weather turned cool with a storm (found out the next day that it was a cyclone) so stayed at riad for dinner. A very good happy hour in Jeannie's and my place as we have a "suite", with some of the wine we bought yesterday. Love our room but 40+ steps to get to it!!
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  • Day6

    Morocco Day 6

    October 17 in Morocco

    Off by 8:30 for a long day of travel with Erfoud, the gateway to the Sahara, as our destination. Raining in Fes but weather expected to get better as we head South. Very interesting morning drive. First stop was in the Mid-Atlas Mountains, elevation around 6,000ft. Irane is a mountain ski town with A-frame sloped roofs for the snow as in Switzerland and Austria. Very busy place in the winter with Moroccans from the lowlands who want to enjoy winter sports. A walk around town to stretch our legs and a quick stop in a café for some take out tea and pastries. Second stop was in a National Park where the monkeys come out of the forest at this time of year to feed and prepare for winter. Here we also heard about the cedar forest, 2nd in size to the largest in the world in Lebanon. Morocco is learning how to protect the trees for future generations. Cedar is used for much of the building in Morocco, especially the wooden balconies we saw in the Fes Jewish quarter. Last stop before lunch was Zaida, a small town know for its meat (lamb, goat, and camel) and currently, the center for the apple crop distribution. Landscape this morning changed from the city, to the mountains, and now in the wide fertile valley before we drive over the High Atlas Mountains and into the pre-desert after lunch.
    Lunch of fresh trout today from the lakes nearby (farmed), but good. An afternoon of driving in the High Atlas, up to about 8.000 ft. Then a long stretch of flat plains until we reached Errachadia- the largest City in SE Morocco. A brief stop for bathrooms and stretching our legs. About 30 minutes before Erfoud, we arrived at an oasis. Amazing – arid rocky desert all around and this wide green space around a river bed filled with date palms. Runs ~100 miles!!!
    Arrived around 6:30PM at Hotel Chergui in Erfoud – a large very touristy hotel with lovely grounds. Buffet dinner and an early evening.
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  • Day5

    Morocco Day 5

    October 16 in Morocco

    Today is an “Optional” day on the tour. The optional tour goes to Volubilis, an UNESCO world heritage site for its Roman ruins and Meknes, also a UNESCO site, the onetime home of a 17th C Moroccan Sultanate – Moulay Ismail. After some indecision, I decided to join the tour for the day. Day started rainy and cool.
    After a drive through farmland and rolling hills we arrived at Volubilis. In comparison with other Roman ruins I have seen, these are very well-preserved, down to the details to the Corinthian columns. The primary reason that the ruins are so well-preserves is due to a 1755 earthquaw in Lisbon, Portugal that did damage as far South as Morocco and covered the remains all at one time. Thus the ruins did not withstand the weather elements for all of those years. Excavation started in the 1920s and is on-going, sporadically, today. Several good maps at the start of the walk: one at of showing the extent of the Roman Empire (picture attached) and the other showing the size of the current excavated area in comparison to the much larger portion of the site that is still covered. A very worthwhile experience, especially because we were outside walking for a couple hours!! 😊
    Lunch in Meknes and an afternoon of learning about Moulay Ismail, his huge palace and grounds. A sultan in the 16th-17th C, First stop at the beautiful main gate of the palace with massive intricate mosaic designs. The large square across from the palace gates had a great market, seemed to specialize in tagines – all shapes and sizes. And on the pavement in the middle of the square were 2 separate sets of 2 guys with snakes running around them!! One played the music from afar and was a snake charmer. I did not get real close as snakes are not my favorite reptile. A bus ride around the palace and its different section with a stop at the immense granary and horse stables of Moulay Ismail. This sultan was not one of the “good guys” but was a friend of Louis XIV of France and brought French architects in to build the granary. He lived to be 92 so ruled a long time and was constantly preparing for war.

    An evening in the riad. We stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on cheese, crackers and nuts for snacks. So cocktail hour in our room with Marsha and Judy, then down to the rest of the folk cocktail hour in our dining room. Dinner was Bstella and very good. Jeannie and I need to learn how to make. Early finish to pack and prepare for 9 hour bus ride tomorrow
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  • Day137

    Fes, Morocco

    September 20, 2017 in Morocco

    We arrived in Morocco after a very long day of travel. From Spain we crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on a local ferry to Tangier in Morocco and it was bizarre because I immediately felt like I was somewhere familiar. I think being back in Africa resonated with me and made me feel like being home in a way. We drove about four hours to Fes learning about the city from our National guide Mohammed. Because the tour is a highlights tour, we only ever get two nights in the main cities so one full day. On this day, local guides took us through the Medina of Fes, the oldest souk market in Morocco and it was incredible. Everything from spices to vegetables to live chickens to camel heads to bastille pastry to kaftans to jewelry was being sold. The alleyways are tiny and it’s one huge maze lined with locals staring and trying to get you to buy something. It was pretty overwhelming for a lot of people in our group, and Nana too found it a lot to take in as this was the first third world country she’d visited, but I felt super comfortable being back in this environment. We visited a carpet factory where my bartering skills came into use and Nana managed to purchase a carpet for her new house, she’s so excited about it!! It was here that she was offered the first dowry of 10 carpets in exchange for me, I turned around and said “HA! I’m worth more than 10 carpets mate!” We then visited a local tannery, one of the oldest in Fes and saw how the take the skin from animals and use pigeon poop to clean it as the poop is very acidic. The skin is then dyed using minerals (eg. saffron for red, cobalt for blue) in these huge concrete wells and men use their legs to move the skins around. It’s a grueling process and highlights the horrible work that has to be done to get the lovely leather jacket or handbag we all want. Plus the smell was horrendous!! After a busy day exploring Old Fes, we enjoyed a beautiful dinner overlooking the city with most of the tour group. We hadn’t done an optional excursion before because they’re quite expensive but wanted to enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal with belly dancing and entertainment. It was a lovely way to end our busy day in Fes with a taste of what Morocco has to offer.Read more

  • Day22

    Fes

    April 30, 2016 in Morocco

    Started the afternoon in Fez arriving at the hotel Olympic. Had dinner at this awesome resturant Resturant of Marrakech (tangien of course). Ready for anothe full day tomorrow.
    Next day we visited the potters and seen the mosaic tiles and pottery items and how they make them. The next place was a view of the city and the medina from the top of the hill. We visited the medina and the tannerie within the medina and the copper/silver smith were i bought a camel tea pot. Onto the silk maker . We had lunch somewhere in the medina. Big day but a great day.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Fès-Meknès, Fes-Meknes

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