Blogs from Fes, Fès-Boulemane, Morocco, Africa

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Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes February 8th 2019

We meet our local guide for Fes, Kamal, with Aziz at 930am. We couldn’t start any earlier as our freshly baked baguettes for breakfast were not arriving till 845am. They were worth waiting for though! We assume everything starts a bit late in Morocco because the sunrise is late and it is freezing early in the morning. Don't come to Morocco at this time of year without warm clothing, and be prepared to have your skin dried out in the bone dry air. After about five minutes twisting and turning down alleys we arrive at a stout wooden gateway. Inside is a magical garden, part of a riad that is now owned by a Frenchman, and is run as a hotel. In here you really could be somewhere in the south of France. Then it's off ... read more
Ladies out shopping
Side door to tomb of Moulay Idris
Nursery school

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes February 7th 2019

Off to Fes today. Our drive takes us across the plain between the High and Mid Atlas ranges then over the Mid Atlas to another plain. As we climb up into the Mid Atlas, the scenery changes yet again. It’s still very arid, but no longer wholly devoid of vegetation, with small low scrubby bushes scattered across stony soil. The Mid Atlas range is volcanic, and the rocks are less red. As we gain altitude, the ground is covered with frost and there are patches of snow. We drive through what look like Alpine valleys, covered in frost. It’s hard to believe that in a couple of months they will be a sea of green. Here and there we can see small mud brick buildings of one or at most two rooms, barely big enough to ... read more
Valley in the Mid Atlas
Nomad's winter home, Mid Atlas
Barbary macaque

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes December 22nd 2018

After the Blue City we headed south to Fes on a local bus. Morocco has a pretty decent bus system and their CTM company is really the company I would recommend people use - book your seats at least 3 days beforehand online to ensure you get on the CTM bus and aren't on a local. Locals are broken, stinky and stop for all people along the side of the road, and aren't any cheaper than the upscale bus, so use them only when you have to. The upside to the looong bus trip was meeting some young Uni students who were from Singapore and studying in England who were there for holiday. They were fun to talk with and were similar to other travelers on the trip - I'm originally from (here), but I am ... read more
Typical breakfast at a hotel
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Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes September 13th 2018

The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it. - Rudyard Kipling But a sprig of mint helps! More on that later. We woke up much more relaxed than yesterday, what with our three alarms, and I had a much appreciated lovely hot shower (no time for a shower yesterday what with waking up at 8 am). We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast here in the riad, with various fruit (melon, fig, pear, bananas, grapes), a yogurt smoothie drink, bread and olives, donuts, coconut cake, and egg made to order, plus good strong coffee and orange juice. It was a feast. We headed out about 9 am, picked up our local guide Aziz, and drove to “New” Fes”(dating back merely to the 13th C.). We stopped at the royal palace (every city has its ... read more
Fès Médina from viewpoint
Fès Médina from viewpoint
Fes Medina from the viewpoint

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes September 12th 2018

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you can control it. - John Steinbeck I woke up this morning to Susan saying “it’s 8 o’clock!” What do you mean it’s 8 o’clock? I set the travel alarm for 7 am! I leaped out of bed, threw on my clothes, washed my face, brushed my teeth, shoved everything into my bags, and was downstairs to breakfast at 8:15. A record, but not a nice way to wake up. Later I checked the travel alarm and turns out that I neglected to move the lever back to time after I set it, so it was on alarm set mode. I won’t be doing that again! Abdul decided that we would go see the Roman ruins of Volubilis first, rather than do ... read more
Prickly pear cactus fruit at Volubilis
Volubilis mosaic
Volubilis

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes July 9th 2018

Since I was staying in a guest house in the medina, I spent most of my time in Fes inside the medina walls, usually lost, but I did venture outside a couple of times. For me, the easiest way to get out of - and back into – the medina was through the Bab Boujloud, sometimes referred to as the Blue Gate for its tilework. “Bab” means gate, and there are a number of them in the walls of the medina. My shortcut for remembering the name of this one was to remember it as Bab “Boogaloo,” which isn’t anywhere close to correct, but helped me remember the distinction between it and Bab Jdid. Musée du Batha Just a short distance outside the gate is Dar Batha, a museum housed in a nineteenth century palace. Of ... read more
Bab Bouljoud
Bartha gardens
Batha gardens2

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes July 3rd 2018

Fez was not one of my favorite cities. I spent most of my time there sweaty, hungry, lost, and frustrated. It says a lot about my personality that I much prefer cities like Tokyo and Singapore – clean, orderly, and no-nonsense. I full recognize that many of my issues with Fez came down to a lack of my usual research and poor planning on my part. As I mentioned in my previous post I was in Fez during Ramadan; as a non-Muslim, I was not expected to fast or follow any of the other Ramadan requirements, but it was difficult to find a restaurant that was open. However, probably one of the most frustrating parts of my trip had nothing to do with Ramadan; it was the number of places I wasn’t allowed to visit because ... read more
cleaning2
dying
dying2

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes June 14th 2018

Let me start by saying I am extremely fortunate to be able to travel the way I do. I have a great respect for all faiths, and of the people who practice their faith. I am well aware of the privilege I have of living in a place with clean water that comes out of the tap, and of not living in an active war zone. I know that my complaints fall under the heading of inconveniences, not problems, but still, some days… There are a few things I know I’m good at: I am a good researcher, I’m good at organizing and planning, and I can whip up a pretty good green curry chicken. But I failed to plan as I should have, and I also thought I knew enough to not have to research ... read more
closed shops
path
donkeys allowed

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 2nd 2018

Heute sind die anderen nach Spanien zurück. Ich bin in Fez durch den Souk, der viel schöner ist, als der von Marrakesch. Jede Menge authentische Läden.... read more
Schuhe
Mittagessen
Wasserhähne

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes May 1st 2018

Der Tag begann schon schlecht. Nieselregen. 8 °. Zuerst Bergstrecke, so dass man nicht vorwärts kam. Dann wurde es besser. Viele Dörfer. Überall lauerten Horden von Polizisten mit Radargeräten. In zwei Orten war eine Taxlerdemo. Ich war dann hinter John und Richard. John zog heraus, um zu überholen, hinter ihm kam einer daher, der ebenfalls überholen wollte. Auto rammt Motorrad. MR im Graben. Auto überschlägt sich zweimal. Erstaunlich: niemand ist wirklich verletzt. Aber dann beginnt der Zirkus. Polizei. Keiner will die Aussagen der Zeugen. Schließlich fahre ich weiter. Die Unfallbeteiligten wurden dann ins Kkh gebracht und untersucht, obwohl klar war, dass sie ok waren. Und dann wurden beide Parteien in ein Zimmer gesetzt um sich zu einigen. Das Auto war ein Mietauto, unversichert. John fühlte sich im Recht (?), der junge Autofahrer hat schlichtweg nicht so ... read more
der Unfallwagen
Tajine zum Mittagessen
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