Km travelled today/sum: 212km / 5870km
Sun shine, 25 degrees, highway
We packed up and arrived in Fez easily. The traffic was not as bad as I thought. The drivers were chaotic, but they were looking out for each other. I think we learned a lot about driving without obvious rules in India and hence didn’t feel overwhelmed. After arriving at the GPS position, we called our host. She came down and opened the car park for us. This time there were no nasty surprises. The garage had no huge step to overcome, nor was it on a steep slope, just a normal underground carpark with plenty of space. So we settled into our room with a nice green balcony. Our hosts English was limited, but with Sigrid highschool French and her English it worked well. After a short time our host’s daughter arrived from work. She is a doctor doing her internship. She could speak English and German, all of the sudden we were overwhelmed with choice for communication options 😂
We asked her about Fez and the Medina and mentioned that after the experience in Tetouan, we were afraid to get lost in the even bigger Medina of Fez. She mentioned that her dad was a guide and she could ask him. That worked well for us, so we arranged to meet him tomorrow morning.
He picked us up around 10AM; we hopped into a petit taxi together and drove to a gate in the Medina.
From here we started to walked through the narrow lane-ways when he showed us a ‘women’s window’. This window was build in the olden days so that women could look down to the street without being seen.
We walked along a small gate to other quarters where they sold clothes, bags and shoes.
Finally we ended up in the tannery. It was not busy, since it is not the season for tanning leather. But we learned that the troughs are owned by families and the troughs at the end were for camel leather, so they are bigger then the troughs at front, which are used for tanning sheep leather.
After the treatment, the leather is carried on donkeys back to the top of the hill, where it gets dried.
In the assortment on offer I found a nice belt. The workshop could add a thing or two to it within an hour. So we continued throught the medina and returned after an hour. On the left is the finished belt and on the right me saying “thank you” to the artist who’d done the work.
During the hour we passed an beautiful mosque, we could have a look from the outside, but as non belivers we couldn’t go in.
We also passed the oldest university in Morocco, where the scholars learned the Quran. Since it was not used anymore we could have a look. The inside was beautifully decorated, the carvings were amazing.
The scholars rooms were – I would say – basic. The best or richest scholars got a room with a window, and if you were really lucky, the window faced the courtyard.
From here we continued to an old ‘Motel’, where the caravan would rest. At the bottom was space for the animals and at the top the people were resting. At the side of the courtyard I discovered an ancient scale, nicely decorated.
On our way out, we came across a narrow lane-way and a donkey with some load was coming the other way. We took refuge at a door nearby.
We also found a real estate agent. Without our guide, we would never have figured that out. You are looking at his office, the keys are for the flats/houses to rent.
On our way out of the medina we passed through the wood craft, vegetables and chinaware markets as well as the butchers quarter.
Apparently in the Medina every trade has its quarters. All trades which are either messy or smelly are located close to the outside of the Medina, this is a good tip if you ever get lost in a Medina.
At the outskirt of the Medina our guide showed us a donkey park, where you park your donkey while shopping in the Medina.
From Medina we hopped into a taxi and drove to the palace. The King has a palace in each city, this is the one in Fez. Looks nice, but nothing exiting.
Behind the palace there was the Jewish quarter. You can see that the balcony and the windows are facing the street, where in the Arabic quarter the windows are facing the court yard. Most of the Jews left Morocco when Israel was founded. From the Jewish quarter there was another gate to the Medina.
This was the end of the guided tour and our guide said goodbye and we continued to a nice park nearby.
From there we walked back to our accommodation, which was not too far.
Tomorrow we will have a look at some ancient roman ruins, not too far from here.