Trip Start May 14, 2007
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our arrival in Tangiers yesterday was on Friday, their holy day, so everything was a bit quiet.  Today we had breakfast at our hotel before Abdul and our driver arrived.  We drove to Fes and will be spending the night here.  Along the way we passed a typical open air market they have once a week.  If a family does not own a donkey they hire one as a taxi to take them and their goods to and from the market. 

Fes has the largest medina in Morocco.  A medina is a city within a city and most were built prior to the 12th century.  They are totally surrounded by a huge wall and are actually a  fortress.  Because they were built to protect against attacking enemies there are no exterior windows.  Our hotel here is in the medina and was actually built as a home and then converted to a hotel.  As with most homes in a medina it is built around an open courtyard and all doors and windows open into it.  This way the inhabitants are protected externally from the enemy but can also have fresh air, plants and sunshine. 

We were shown around the entire hotel and then were allowed to choose our room.  We took the one on the first floor that looked out on the small pool area and courtyard.  It was quite a large room with a gigantic bed, sitting area and large bathroom.  The room smelled a bit musty but hey, if that's all we can complain about I consider us very lucky indeed.

Now let me elaborate on the medina.  Medinas have no street signs and the Fes medina has over 1800 streets laid out in a total maze.  Because Abdul did not know his way around here we were given an additional guide otherwise we could have wandered for days and never found our way back to our hotel.  Now close your eyes and imagine the smell of urine, donkeys, paprika and other spices, bread baking, lemons and oranges.  That, my friends, is the smell of a medina.  It is all hustle and bustle.  There are stall-like markets along the streets selling everything you can imagine.  Along other streets you will find artisans working on their various crafts like woodworking, metal sculpting, embroidery, etc.  Then there are narrow streets where children play outside their homes.  Some of these streets are only three feet wide.  There are wild cats everywhere which I initally felt sorry for until Randy and I figured they probably are extremely necessary to keep the rodent population down.  Everywhere you turn there are people, bicycles, people, motorcycles, people, donkeys, and more people.  To us it seemed total chaos yet we never saw anyone get knocked down or run over.  Everywhere I turned was a Kodak moment.   

This evening we had dinner at a traditional Morrocan restaurant which included live entertainment.  The food was wonderful.  Randy had lamb and beef and I had Tajine chicken.

Tomorrow we leave for Marrakech with a stop in Casablanca.
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