Monday, December 15, 2008

13 November: Fez

Today we went on a long guided tour. Our guide was a local woman called Hakeema and she was great :)

First we visited the Borj Sud and enjoyed a view across Fez and the Medina. Then we went to Art Naji, a ceramic workshop, where we got to see each stage of work. From the piles of rock that sits for 3 days in water to become clay to the men spinning their pottery wheels by foot to the huge kilns (that use olive peat to get the high temperatures required) to the painters and mosaic cutters and designers. It was very interesting and they have some gorgeous stuff for sale! I wish I could've justified buying myself one of their fountains :)

From there we went to the Medina where we tried some Moroccan Pizza (which is divine when fresh!) and nougat (which the bees love) and we walked past many of the doors of the Quaraouiyine Mosque.

Then we visited a weaver's workshop, the silk they get from the cactus is very cool :) And then we went to a tannery (all this is tucked away in little doors off side streets in the Medina). Luckily we only saw the tannery from high above while perusing the leather shop (had to climb loads of stairs to get up there) because the smell is pretty awful even from that far away!
Note: See photo of tannery below. For lunch we stopped at a little stall selling Bessara (fava bean soup), which was okay ... but a fun experience :)

In the Medina, we also got to see some old-style windows to allow the Muslim women to be able to see out (back in the day when they weren't allowed to even leave the house) but no one could see in or see them.

Walking thru the Medina, you're constantly trying to get out of the way of horses and donkeys that are being used to move goods, and often motorcycles too! You also pass loads of meat sellers (they guys selling chicken have them live in cages right there and kill them as needed!), it is quite different from our far more removed supermarkets ... and I think I quite like it like that!

Note: Photo on left is the view of the skyline just above the tannery. Scary, huh?

After that we wandered the Medina a little on our own, starting at Bab Boujouloud (a famous gate into the Medina) and walking down just the one street (so that we could find our way back). I did end up buying myself a gorgeous green pashmina, which I love. But there wasn't much else to be found because most of the stalls in this street we selling current-type stuff (takkies, jeans, socks etc.) and not tourist-type stuff :(

Generally hung out with the group in the hotel for the short time left of our "free" afternoon and then went to a local restaurant nearby for dinner - I had kofta tagine which was good. I am really enjoying these tagines :)


Anonymous said...

WOW looks stunning!!!!

Just off topic - I met a lady on sunday who works with you - was weird - one of those "we are all connected" kinda things!

Her name is Jackie!

phillygirl said...

@harassedmom - Paha. that is really weird ...

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