We've been home for nearly a week already so It is about time that I actually finish up the posts about Morocco.
Ending our 4 days on the road with Ibrahim and the Japanese Camel in Fes, we made our way through a beautiful gate into the city and to our Riad. In Fes we stayed in a Riad which was stunning. It had been through a 3 year renovation and was covered in amazing tile mosaics and carvings inside. The Riad manager was almost tour guide like in his love for the building, telling us where to go, and his willingness to even take you to places so you cannot get lost or end up at a similar but different location.
Our first meal in Fes was composed of an animal which works hard for the Moroccan people - but is still sold at butchers and restaurants alike: Camel. We ate it in burger form - and honestly it was hard to tell the difference from beef even. None the less it was tasty tasty. A quick walk through the markets we called it a pretty early night due to our long day on the road from Merzouga.
Our next day took us to many of the sights in the Medina with one of the more famous things to see is the leather tannery. The place has a horrid smell due to the fact that they use pigeon poop as the source of ammonia to cure the pelts. The tannery is surrounded by leather shops which turn the hides into jackets, purses, and whatever else you can dream up to be made in leather. The idea being that you check out the process and then get pressured into buying some leather wares which were honestly no cheaper than back home. There was a complete unwillingness to bargain too. We must be getting too good at shopping as we were quickly pushed along and out of the shop.
Many of our meals in Morocco up to this point involved a tagine of some sort and we were pretty tired of them. Because of this we were looking up Fes specialties and highly rated street foods (hence the camel burger) but we also ate a Pastilla. This is a sort of sweet pie made of a filo type dough that is topped with cinnamon and sugar, but the insides
are not what you'd imagine as it is full of roast pigeon meat, spices, and almonds. It was one of the more flavourful things we ate during our entire trip, and although it was also the most expensive due to many places replacing the pigeon with chicken because of the difficulties sourcing squab it was fabulous.
Next on the "to eat list" was a fava bean soup called bessara, there was no specific place to eat this when looking online just a location in the medina where to find the "soup guys". Not knowing what to expect we handed over our 5 dirham (80 cents canadian) for a huge bowl topped with a healthy glug of olive oil and served with a big chunk of bread and dug in in the restaurant. I say in the restaurant lightly because the entire outfit of eating area, kitchen, etc was a small 2 x 5 meter locker. The soup was interesting, very heavy on the olive flavour, but still quite enjoyable. But hard to complain about.
Carrying on with soup we had yet another bowl of Harira from some guy on the street who just looked to have a constant
flow of locals coming and going. No reviews, no english on the sign, but at 10 dirham it was getting into the most expensive soup we had at ($1.45) but it was so worth it. All the Harira's are slightly different but the soup man told us this was his mothers recipe and his mother was a fine cook, because this was the best Harira. Served with some bread, a sweet, and a date it was hard to pass up.
While we were walking the markets we saw quite a few shops selling a 10 dirham sandwich which is a loaf of bread (think pita sized but 2 cm thick) cut open and filled with sauted meats and vegetables. I kept talking about how I wanted to eat a 10 dirham sandwich but the internet swayed us to eat the so called best sandwich in the city. Wandering through the streets with a rough set of instructions (enter by a certain gate, turn right by the olive stands and it is the first sandwich stall) we set out to find Mr Ayachi. His sandwich costs 20 dirhams, but he does it different. Holy moly what a sandwich. My mouth
is watering thinking about it right now, his meat is bbq'ed and he stands alone with his grill. All the other stalls are tossing their meats diced on a griddle. Mr Ayachi *no idea why his name is japanese btw* throws a litte more than 200 grams of turkey sausage, beef, and goat meat onto the bbq and cooks it to perfect, then adds some mystery red sauce to the bread and throws the meat in. That's it, and it's perfection. Maybe it had something to do with us not eating BBQ for a couple weeks, or maybe the sandwich gods have given Mr Ayachi a gift - I'm going with the latter.
Feeling a little under the weather one afternoon (no doubt due to some of the crazy food we were eating) I decided to take a nap while Adina went to a traditional bath house. You can go to a more modern spa type - but she wanted the real deal. Mohammed the riad manager walked her to a shop to buy some black scrub soap and a scrub glove and dropped her off at the hamman. Mostly naked with some moroccan women who spoke no english
in a large bath they literally took her under their wings and showed her the process. There is a correct order of scrub, bucket rinse, heat, steam, scrub or something but what you get out of it is $7 spa visit where someone else scrubs the crap out of you with an exfoliating soap - the result is that you are the cleanest since you've come out of the womb.
The very last day of our trip we rented a car to make our way to Casablanca for our flight home. We stopped in Rabat to have a picnic lunch on the seaside as well as in Casablanca itself to see the Hassan II mosque. It is a huge building, and it can be seen for miles around due to it's tower being over 200 meters tall. There is room for 25 000 people to pray inside and another 80 000 in the square around it. Driving to Casablanca wasn't too difficult because of the highway, but getting to the airport at night was a different story - a lot stressful to say the least, but we made it safe and sound.
Having a 7 hour layover in
Frankfurt we decided to take advantage of that and actually go see something in the city. So at 730 in the morning we were in the old part of town eating pretzels and drinking beer. Because Germany.
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