Facinated in Fes

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May 5th 2006
Published: June 23rd 2006
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Ride to FesRide to FesRide to Fes

I capture a man and his camel on the road towards Fes.
The morning bus ride (9-hours in total with the CTM bus line) took me north to the legendy town of Fes. On the bus I met Adilson, a 67-year old Brazilian man who was traveling around Western Africa.

Upon arriving in Fes in the late afternoon, Adilson and I tried our luck finding accomodation in the Center Novielle area of Fes. We quickly learned that the Youth Hostel was sold out as were many of the cheap hotels. So we cabbed it over to the Medina section of Fes and found a simple room at the Cascade Hotel (once again I was looking at shared toilets and showers...but at least there was no additional charge for the shower). The hotel did feature a nice rooftop terrace which overlooked the small but busy square just inside the Bab el-Jeloud (Bab means GATE in arabic).

A bit tired from the long bus ride, Adilson and I enjoyed a cafe noir (espresso) at a nearby cafe and watched life in Fes walk by. As the cafe filled-up and a TV was turned on we realized we were about to enjoy a Barcelona football match. Afterwards we walked around the Medina, got lost
What's Cooking?What's Cooking?What's Cooking?

During a stop on the way to Fes, I found this food stand and wondered what was cooking in the pots. Chicken and potatos is the answer.
and ended up back at the small square in front of our hotel where we had dinner in an outside cafe. The walk around the Medina was useful as we learned that the busiest area was in front of our hotel.

We were awoken at 5am from the call to Muslim prayer....ugggh. Luckily we were both able to fall back asleep until 8 or so.

With my trusty sidekick Adilson, I walked around Fes taking in the sights: Batha Museum (which was closed for renovations), the Jewish Cemetary and even the Royal Palace. We accidently walked into the Royal Palace as I thought it was a museum and, after making it about 20 yards inside, we were yelled at by a man in nice suit and an officer with a big gun. They quickly made their way to us, grabbed my arm and starting yelling in French. I gave a "opps" look and said "Parlevous Engles?". After a few more choice French words, we were escorted out at gunpoint. Ce Las Vie. Adilson was a bit shaken up by the whole episode but I have gotten used to guys pointing guns at me. Good thing or bad?
I ArriveI ArriveI Arrive

The sign assures me that I am in the right place.

A few more hours of touring the city and it was back to a cafe for an espresso to watch life in Fes walk by (and a Real Madrid match). Then dinner...once again in the square outside our hotel (a different cafe this time).

Next day we visited the tanneries in the morning (a wild site watching men knee-deep in tanning solution), wandered around the Medina more and then over to the Novelle Center (new section of Fes) where we got transportaion tickets for the next day (Adislon got a bus ticket to go north while I got a train ticket for Meknes). A bit run down, we once again smiled as we headed to our favorite cafe for afternoon espresso.

That night I left Adilson and headed out to explore the "wild" side of Fes. First destination was a nice dinner at Le Maison de Blue. I splurged on a $45 dinner that included six courses (salads, tanjine, couscous, fruits, desert and coffee) and lots of free wine. During dinner there was entertainment of two kinds of Moroccan music. Stuffed to the gills, I was direct to the Jnan Palace for some nightclubing. There I saw the
Bab JeloudBab JeloudBab Jeloud

From the rooftop of the Cascade Hotel, this is one of the gates to enter into the Medina.
more liberal side of Morocco....men and women dressed to impress: much like NYC the guys were in jeans and shirts and the girls in midrifts, lots of clevage and short skirts. Morocco is truly a land of mixtures...the old and new happily co-exist in this ancient land.

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 24


Coffee in CafeCoffee in Cafe
Coffee in Cafe

Me and enjoy a coffe while watching Barcelona play for the championship.
Fes PastimeFes Pastime
Fes Pastime

Men enjoying a cup of joe while watching life go by.
Museum Dar BathaMuseum Dar Batha
Museum Dar Batha

This is the courtyard at the museum...and that is all we saw as it was closed for renovations.
Date ManDate Man
Date Man

In a small bazaar, an old man ponders his choice of careers.
Girls on the StreetGirls on the Street
Girls on the Street

These two girls wanted to take a photo with me...although judging by the one girls eyes, I think they found my sweater vest strange.
Bab SmarineBab Smarine
Bab Smarine

In front of one of the gates (bab) that encircles the older parts of Fes.
Jewish CemeteryJewish Cemetery
Jewish Cemetery

During the persecution of Jews during the mid 1900's, many of them fled Eastern Europe and a large contingency landed in Morocco. After the creation of Israel, many of the Jews in Morocco left to enjoy the freedom of life in the new Jewish state. There still remains a cemetery and synagogue in Fes in remeberance of the Jews that once dwelled there.
Royal PalaceRoyal Palace
Royal Palace

I thought this was a museum, so when I turned the corner and saw an open door, we walked in...and within 10 seconds, a guy with an uzi was yelling at us. Opps.
Funeral ProcessionFuneral Procession
Funeral Procession

Through the Bab Segma Gate you can see the procession.
Drive Through...UpDrive Through...Up
Drive Through...Up

A young man on a donkey drives...umm..walks up to a bodega.
Making FriendsMaking Friends
Making Friends

We give this elderly lady some of our mint tea and she is all smiles.
Fes...Fes El-BaliFes...Fes El-Bali
Fes...Fes El-Bali

Looking down on the Medina from the Merenid Tombs.
Cafe DrinkersCafe Drinkers
Cafe Drinkers

More men enjoying the activity of drinking cafe noir and watching life go by.
Jedi Knight?Jedi Knight?
Jedi Knight?

A caped/hooded man strolls the streets in Fes.
Making BreadMaking Bread
Making Bread

Using the traditional method to make bread. It is then delivered all over the city and served in the cafes with almost everything ordered.
Down an AlleywayDown an Alleyway
Down an Alleyway

Through the archway I spied this animal standing among piles of stuff.

A look down upon one of the tanneries in Fes. Notice the various hides drying on the roofs.

24th June 2006

Long time no see
Hey Larry, Long time no see. You are STILL on the road. What amazing!! Great trip!! I wish I could do the same... Kisses from Rio, Dani
26th June 2006

Enjoying your blogs!
Love to see you experiencing life in a such interesting places! Thanks for the updates!

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