Day 14 – 15: The ones where I bought the Medina!

Fes, the imperial city is the capital of traditional Moroccan culture. Cradle of knowledge, for which its superb medersas are a flamboyant symbol.The Medina (old town) is called Fes el-Bali and behind its high walls is a magical, medieval city just teeming with life in every one of its 9000 narrow streets! We were told to hire a guide because it was seemingly easy to get lost in those narrow inroads.

We landed in Fes late at night and hit the hippest club in town (by the lonely planet guide)! Well, the club seemed a lot better after rounds of hookah, beer and a lot of dancing of course! Samy moved like Shakira and taught us some groovy steps. We danced some and then some more 😀

The hotel we stayed at creeped me out. It had the 90’s “serial-killer-in-a-motel” vibes. Long never ending corridors, doors that jam easy, silence and sudden swooshy noises by the wind, distant music and totally eerie. In my head I imagined every person I passed by in the hotel (they weren’t many people other than our team) to have this look on their face that said “I’m-going-to-be-nice-to-you-now-but-I’ll-get-you-later”, if you’ve watched the terrifying movie Child’s play you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s safe to say I was petrified. Having Tania as my roomie – helped. A LOT.

I woke up at the crack of dawn (for obvious reasons) and waited for the rest of the party to get ready for our cultural tour.

Our guide explained the culture, history and origins of Fes. We popped by The Medersa Bou Inania, which was built in the 1300’s and has some beautiful examples of Merenid plasterwork and woodwork. The joy of old Fes is turning down little alleys and feeling completely lost yet completely at home in that vast Medina!

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Fes is famous for its leather products and most of it comes from the leather bazaar (souq) in old Fes. The tanneries have been in operation since medieval times and little has changed, which makes them absolutely fascinating to visit. I didn’t know how I felt about all the carcass lying around but it was an experience I won’t forget.

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Tannery in Fes

In order to visit the tanneries you have to head into a leather shop filled to the brim with handbags, jackets and slippers of every conceivable design and color known to man. Sprigs of fresh mint are an essential accoutrement when you visit the tanneries since the animal hides are stinky, and the pigeon poop they’re treated in doesn’t smell so sweet either.

We all split into smaller groups for the much awaited shopping spree. By dusk we re-grouped and I was shocked to find out I was the only one who looked like I had shopped the whole medina! In my defense, everything I looked at reminded me of someone back in India who would love it – hence the shopping load! – My Indian friends – If you’re reading this I might’ve bought something for you – that depends on how nice you are to me though 🙂

We had our fair share of adventure with GeoCaching! Again! It was so exciting to find clues hidden in buildings and landmarks and finally finding the Geo Cache hidden in a beautiful riad.

The Geocache box and the note that Jette entered in the log book

The Geocache box and the note that Jette entered in the log book

We headed back to Casablanca and surprise surprise – Samy didn’t get on the tram back to the hotel because the doors closed on her. Panic struck, worried phone calls were made and Jette and Dani got off at the next station to get Samy. Jane was seeing the funny side of how Samy is too nice to fend people off to get into the train, and when our station came guess who didn’t get OFF the train in time, Joking Jane 😀

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The pretties at Fes L-R: Samy, Jane, Sarah, Dani, Tany and me

All’s well that ends well. Every lost soul trooped into the hotel after a while and 12 heads went to bed safe and sound.

Can’t believe 2 weeks have passed. It feels like I’ve known these mad people forever now.

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