We Heart Fez!

Trip Start Oct 21, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

11.5.09                 We Heart Fez!

After the intensity of yesterday, touring Fez with Sayid, we needed (and made) a low-key day for ourselves today.  Up at 8:45am (only because there was an unhappy cat mewing outside our riad window for a long, long time), we were down to eat breakfast by 9:15am (still wonderful, and today we got eggs, too!).  By 10am, we were back in our room – Murray reading and me journaling.  Around noon, Murray went to the post office to mail back to Australia the plates we bought yesterday, and an hour later, we headed out to Restaurant Batha, just up the hill from our riad, to have lunch.

Once again, the restaurant – a riad recommendation – was at the end of a dark alley and through a dirty old door, but then we stepped inside of another palace!  High ceilings, with balconies overlooking the main eating floor – beautiful architecture and Moroccan stylings throughout.  We had a similar lunch as yesterday – traditional Moroccan cuisine, served in four courses: as starters, assorted Moroccan salads, both hot and cold (but other than dishes of olives, all the salads were different than yesterday), plus a sort of Moroccan spring roll; our mains were Tagines of beef and vegetables.  This time, our "fruits of the season" were tart orange slices with banana slices on top, both drizzled with fresh cinnamon – and dessert was more fresh Moroccan mint tea plus new pastries!  Repeat having to roll out of the restaurant today…

After the late lunch, we took a long stroll around our neighborhood (which is located near the Batha Museum we visited yesterday) and did some exploring on our own.  At some point, we jumped into a petit taxi and went up the hillside to Palais Jamal, now a five-story hotel overlooking Fez.  The hotel has several outdoor terraces and plazas that overlook the city, and we enjoyed the view (a bit sunnier than yesterday).  We sat in one of five hotel restaurants and had a beer (Murray) and more Moroccan tea (me), making our way back to our riad by around 6:30pm.

There is another palace right next door to our riad (Moroccans like their palaces!), so we did pop in to take a look.  While in a great state of disrepair, Dar Pacha Tazi was still quite beautiful, with lavish gardens, fountains, and mosaic work.  Also before going back to our rooms, we went up and visited our riad's rooftop.  More fascinating views of Fez, and sweet Bougainvillea-like flowers growing around the perimeter of the terrace.  It was lovely.

After such a hard day (haha), we rested in our room until 9pm, and then went downstairs for dinner in our riad (which we had reserved the night before).  We were still full from lunch, but again suffered through another traditional Moroccan dinner of four courses.  Delicious – but oh, my.  Early to bed tonight, after our relaxing day.

The sights of Fez are fascinating, even though many are in elegant states of disrepair.  More importantly, the people of Fez have been generous, hospitable, welcoming, and sincere.  All in all, our impression has been that the city has no pretense, but opens its heart up to its visitors.  We heart Fez!

PS - today I also tried to get Murray to pose for a picture wearing a fez in Fez.  It was a no go.
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