Morocco
Hay Ben Abdellah

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    • Day13

      Days 13, 14 & 15: Fez

      December 10, 2018 in Morocco ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      As it happens, my next port of call has a transfer service so I am picked up from the Ibis and whisked to the northern edge of the medina, from where the driver walks me to the Dar Iman. It's set in a tiny alleyway off one of the main streets of the medina, and has a classic riad design. A riad is a Moroccan former residence which has been converted into a guest house, with minimal windows on the outside and all the action facing inwards on to a central square courtyard. Some have a fountain in the courtyard; the Dar Iman lacks this but with wall-to-wall "zellij" (geometrically patterned tiles) but is totally beautiful. There are some muffled sounds from the street outside and the comforting 6.30 a.m. prayer call from the nearby mosque but generally there is a sense of protection from the outside world. However, once inside with all the internal windows visible from everywhere else, privacy is not a high priority. Better mind my P's and Q's here!

      The Dar Iman has 6 rooms but all except mine are unoccupied. Max, the owner, is a genial Australian who assures me that business picks up from Christmas. Due to the intimate riad layout, he will have to decide whether to hold a New Year's Eve party and he plans to write to all his would-be guests and go ahead only if they all agree. There are other complexities; to try and stamp out tourist harassment, touting is forbidden by law but it still goes on and Max has to turn away a backpacker who has been led here under the false pretense of it being the one that she booked.

      It's now time to explore the city. Morocco has four imperial cities---the others being Rabat, Meknes and Marrakesh but in scale and history, Fez beats the others by a country mile. It was founded in the 8th century and its university predates Oxbridge by 400 years. Besides this, there are several exquisite "medersas" or religious colleges open to the public. The settlement of Fez Jdid was tacked on later; it means "new city" although new means 13th century here and it was the centre of a flourishing "mellah" (Jewish quarter). The original medina is securely walled and impenetrable to motor traffic. The street pattern is a labyrinth which makes the Hampton Court maze look like the M1. There are debates about why this pattern was adopted; not just to confuse tourists but perhaps to ensure that in the hot summer sun, every street would lie at least partly in shadow. To simplify things, every quarter has its own trade: leathersmiths here and perfumeries there. You know when you're near the coppersmiths from the rhythmic beating and tapping. As to the tanneries, you smell them first; the skins are cured with sheeps' urine and pigeon droppings. One of a posse of so-called guides leads me up a secret staircase to an extraordinary sight of men sloshing about in vats of dye with all colours of the rainbow, in a desperate scene going back to the Middle Ages. It's a dirty job and all that.....

      The stink of the tanneries hasn't quite put me off lunch. Breakfast at Max's was crepes with honey, and a side plate of omelette with fresh tomatoes, washed down with inky coffee. It was good but not quite enough to last the whole day so I snack out on harira with bread. Harira is one of Morocco's great institutions, a bowl of soup enriched with chick peas, bits of pasta, tomatoes, maybe chicken, and lots of pepper. As to the evening meal, tagine (stew based with chicken, lamb or "kefta" (meat balls) is ubiquitous but as a nod to the relaxation of visa regulations for China, I dine on a nice spicy Chinese meal near Max's.
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      Speak, World

      Absolutely stunning photos! You really outdid yourself on this post. I think you’re wise to leave off the captions, because they do interfere with the pleasure of just seeing the whole picture. Excellent!

      1/3/19Reply
       
    • Day11

      Fes - Die ersten Eindrücke

      December 26, 2016 in Morocco ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      2. Tag Martil – Fes (302km)

      8:30 Uhr Gemeinsam aus der Stadt
      Dann fährt jeder alleine weiter in Richtung Tetouan, wo wir die ersten Eindrücke des alltäglichen Lebens Marokkos erhalten.
      Weiter vorbei am sehr beindruckenden Rif-Gebirge nach Quezzane. Auf dem Weg Richtung Fes durchqueren wir die „Kornkammer“ Marokkos.
      16:00 Uhr Treffen vor der Stadt.
      17:00 Uhr Gemeinsam kommen wir zum Camping „International“ am Stadion von Fes

      Joachim: Heute um 8:30 los und 290 km bis Fes. Super Wetter und sehr beeindruckende Landschaften, teilweise wie bei uns im Frühjahr, sehr grün, dann Gebirge, karge Hügel.... es war von allem etwas dabei.
      Sehr freundliche Marokkaner, und viel zuwinkende Kinder.

      Ann: Wir sind heute durch sehr unterschiedliche Gegenden gefahren die sehr faszinierend sind. Mir ist bewusst geworden wie gut wir es zuhause haben gerade wir Frauen. Hier gibt es wenige die Autofahren oder einer Arbeit nachgehen. Obwohl der neue König viel wert darauf legt das neu gebaut wird und das Land fortschrittlicher wird. Der Unterschied zwischen armen und reichen ist sehr hoch....hier werden die Felder teilweise noch mit Eseln und Pflug bestellt.....die Körner mit der Hand ausgebracht....Kinder sitzen am Straßenrand und verkaufen frische Mandarinen und Orangen....die übrigens sehr lecker sind. All das beschäftigt mich sehr und stimmt mich nachdenklich ....und wir fahren mit großen Autos durch das Land ....unsers ist dabei noch das kleinste. Morgen bin ich auf den Ausflug in die Medina von Fes gespannt.
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    • Day12

      Fes

      December 27, 2016 in Morocco ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      3. Tag Fes

      9:00 Uhr Treffen. Mit dem Bus fahren wir vom Campingplatz nach Fes El-Bali, dem berühmten Eingangstor (Bab-Bou-Jelaud). Danach zur Burg mit super Ausblick über die Altstadt. Weiter zu einem Mosaik und Töpfer Handwerksbetrieb.
      Durch das blaue Tor zur Altstadt (Medina).
      Zu Fuß ist es nicht weit zur großen Moschee „Karaouin“. Sie ist die größte Moschee Nordafrikas und zusammen mit der Azhar-Universität in Kairo die älteste islamisch-theologische Universität.
      Die Medina ist durch die engen Gassen sehr eindrucksvoll. Wir kommen an allerlei Händlern vorbei und erreichen das Färber- und Gerberviertel. Von hier aus hat man einen sehr guten Ausblick über die gesamte Medina. Kleine Einkaufstour, alle sehr freundlich. Kaum Belästigung oder aufdringliche Kinder.
      Nach all diesen Eindrücken für uns fahren wir gegen 17:00 Uhr zurück zum Campingplatz.
      Dort könnten wir eine Berberhochzeit erleben. Die begann aber erst um 22:00 Uhr und ging bis 5:30 Uhr.

      Joachim: Fes... es war super beeindruckend!!!! Ganz anders als Istanbul oder Jerusalem oder Tunesien. Sehr freundlich und überhaupt nicht aufdringlich. Zuerst der Blick auf Fes, dann ab in die Medina. Leider haben wir einen schlechten Internetzugang, Mehr Bilder kommen morgen.Nun Müde und kaputt.

      Ann: Müde und kaputt ....aber sehr beeindruckt. Ich habe mir blaue Hausschuhe aus Kamelhaut gekauft, Jobo einen grauen Kaftan. Die Gassen der Medina sind sehr eng und die Waren werden zum Teil auf Eseln hineingebracht....dabei muss man sehr acht geben damit man nicht über umgefahren wird ....wenn man ein "Balak, Balak hört sollte man sich schnell an eine Hauswand drücken. Wir habe lecker gegessen und makkokanischen Tee getrunken ....grüner Tee mit frischer Minze und Zucker. Das spezial Gericht hier in Fes ist eine Art Tart mit Taubenfleisch gefüllt.
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    • Day3

      Morocco Day 3

      October 14, 2018 in Morocco ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

      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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