A Few Days of Fez

January 21-25

We were expecting our adventure to really start when we arrived in Morocco. Instead it started the minute we reached the airport with racing through security at Port Columbus, glancing nervously at the time, trying not to glance nervously at the TSA agents and finally scurrying aboard our plane ten minutes before it was slated to take off.

But our trip wound down from there and when we landed in Tangier 19 hours later we were the first ones in line to breeze through customs, hop in a taxi for the train station, and catch the early train to Fez with a full twenty minutes to spare.

The train was a little too warm and we were so tired that we spent most of the next five hours dozing and feeling disoriented and groggy. Jeff became convinced that time had stopped; we would be dozing on the train forever.

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But the sun slowly set and we finally rolled to a stop at the Fez station and trundled out into the balmy evening.

We were blissfully reunited with E. and soon happily settled in to the comfortable apartment she shares with two roommates.

For the last three days she’s been showing us around Fez.

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Day 1: we found a lot of extravagant gates like this in the area close to the old city surrounding the royal residence
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Day 1: a view of the palace gates. And some lovely flower pots. 

 

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Day 1: One of the parks we visited. Park in this sense means “manicured paths and gardens to walk through” 

E. explained that green space within the city is quite special and closely guarded. Don’t walk on the grass.

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Day 2: we were most tired on Sunday so E. took us out to try avocado milk fruit salad. Even Jeffrey like it, which is how you know it’s particularly good. 
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Day 2: the view from the roof of the apartment building is a sea of satellites. 
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Day 2: we took a stroll in the evening to get maqudas (?) for dinner. They’re cheap tasty sandwiches of potato fritters, olives, tomato sauce and eggs. 
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Day 3: heading back to the old city to explore more of the enormous Fez Medina and see the tanneries with a friend who knows his way around quite well
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Day 3: Down, down, down into the heart of the Medina. 
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Day 3: a fairly typical spice shop in the Medina. 
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Day 3: The Medina is built inside a bowl of land so it’s a bit of a hike getting up and down. We finally found our way to the giant tannery at the bottom and discovered it was being repaired. The view was still interesting. 
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Day 3: On our way back up we stopped at a smaller tannery that was currently operating. We were given sprigs of mint to sniff while we watched the work. All of the leather is soaked in a soup of pigeon droppings and then dyed with natural materials.  
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Day 3: We walked through a market in the former Jewish quarter on our way back from the Medina. We only got a little bit lost.

The sights have been interesting and beautiful, some of the them astonishingly old, like the Kairaouine Mosque that we glimpsed in the depths of the Medina maze, one of the oldest universities in the world.

However, it has been equally fun to follow my little sister around as she confidently leads us through the city to her favorite shops and parks. The flavor of life in Fez comes through just as strongly from lingering at a cafe over coffee or mint tea and running around the corner to the tiny and impossibly well stocked convenience store.

And now I need to run out the door to catch the train out to see some Roman ruins! The fun never ends.

 

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