Morocco - Fes


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Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes
February 28th 2011
Published: February 28th 2011
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Our route in Morocco


DAY 1 27th February 2011 Fuengirola, Spain to Fes, Morocco
Quite an uneventful trip other than the episode at lunch! The coach arrived at Fuengirola more or less on time and we drove down to Tarifa, leaving the sun behind and arriving in Tarifa in thick cloud! Caught the catamaran to Tangiers and met our guide at the other end. Picked up a couple of people at the airport who were joining our trip and then drove to Larache for our lunch at a restaurant. (The restaurant owners were friends of our guide and he had negotiated ‘special price’ of 10 euros each for menu del Dia!!)
Our guide had recommended the fish as we were at a seaside place on the Atlantic ocean so we all duly piled into the restaurant and ordered the Menu del Dia ................and then waited.............and waited.........watched all the lovely dishes of food being taken upstairs to the diners,..................waited some more.......
After about 40 minutes, and a bit of hurrying along in the kitchen by our guide, the first course appeared – fish soup. It was a blob of gravy with bits floating in it and was quite horrible! I’m sure it was made out of dried fish granules if you can get such a thing. Not good! To be fair the salads didn’t look too bad! Had another long wait then until our main course arrived – Chris had ordered gambas (prawns) and I had ordered a fish platter. And that was it – out came a plate of small luke warm prawns for Chris and I had a plate of battered fish that was dried up, luke warm, and mostly inedible. Most people were getting a bit het up by now especially after they had ordered flan for dessert to then be told it was finito and given fruit, and five minutes later their fruit was whisked away to be replaced by flan! It was all a bit of a fiasco which altogether took just over 2 hours!!
So we didn’t actually leave the restaurant until about 15.40 and with a 4hr drive to Fes ahead of us we didn’t get to the hotel until just after 20.00. Most of the drive was on the motorway so the scenery wasn’t that special – mostly rural, agricultural with a few fields of plastic greenhouses. As we left the Rif mountains and the scenery became more interesting, it got dark!!!
At least we had a really nice moroccon 3 course meal this evening and a promise of a good day trip around Fes tomorrow. Fez Hotel Menzeh Zalagh

DAY 2 28th February 2011
Awoke at 07.00 to a bright sunny day! Our first stop was a hilltop military castle where we had a fantastic panoramic view of Fes with the mountain behind it. Our guide pointed out all the places where we would be visiting and a few of the more important mosques (there are 2500 mosques in Fes!!). A short coach ride took us to the main entry gate and we then entered the labyrinth of alleyways, of which altogether there are 15,000! We meandered around with our guide, visiting various shops and losing complete sense of direction until we eventually found ourselves in the metalworkers square where they tamper sheets of copper into various shape pots. We visited the main mosque, although we weren’t allowed in and also visited the Medersas, which is where the poor students used to study. This was an amazing building with wonderful old arches and Arabic writing and mosaic tiles. We also went into a shop where we were shown the different styles of dress that are worn in Morocco and had some fun trying them on!!
The highlight of the tour was a visit to the tanneries where they process and dye the hides before they are made into leather goods. At the bottom of the stairs , we were given a piece of mint ( this was for us to mask the stench of the tannery and to alleviate nausea!) and when we reached the top of the stairs, you are able to look down onto all the various cauldrons and see each stage of the process going on as well as the skins stretched out on the rooftops to dry! This process has remained unchanged since medieval times!! It was completely fascinating and unlike anything I had seen before. Afterwards they try to entice you to buy a leather jacket – apparently the lambs hide is the best!
A lovely beef tagine lunch in a typical, ornately decorated, Moroccon mansion followed by a visit, after another ramble through the tiny alleyways, emerging in a sort of old textile factory where they were making the silk scarves and weaving cloth on the old fashioned weaving looms made of wood. It felt a bit like stepping back hundreds of years and apparently this is where the camels used to come from the desert to sell their wares before the Silk Route!
Our last visit, after a short coach drive around the outskirts of Fes, was to a workshop where we were able to watch the people making pots, tagines, egg cups etc and also another workshop where there they were cutting tiles to make the mosaics which were then made into tables.
Back to the hotel by about 19.00 for food and relaxing evening as we are off tomorrow at 08.00am.


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6th March 2011

Eeew - the meal sounds horrific!

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