Next up was Fes, Morocco’s second largest city. After the peacefulness of Chefchaouen, the medina in Fes was bananas. Just a thousand people and donkeys and chickens running around, and also there was a camel’s head hanging from a butcher’s stall. Not sure we would have found our riad except we somehow randomly ran into the son of the guy who owned the riad on our way into the medina. I’m not really sure how anyone finds anything in medinas, they are all narrow unlabelled zig-zagging streets. But anyways.
After the hustle and bustle outside our riad was like an oasis (an oasis of mint tea), though the guy who checked us in did try to also sell us various tours. We ended up signing up for a walking tour the next morning, before heading out for a bit of a stroll and dinner at one of a whole bunch of small restaurants squashed together which may or may not have all been actually from the same kitchen.
The next morning we had our usual tea and various breads, before meeting our guide. She was quite nice, and spent the morning showing us various mosques, schools, and other fancy buildings with nice architecture. Being non-Muslims we couldn’t go into all of them, but they were still interesting to see. We also randomly wandered into someone’s mansion because our guide hadn’t seen it before and really wanted to look inside.
Later in the morning we went to this wood museum (as in, for things made of wood) where Chris got to admire lots of woodworking.
One of the most interesting stops was the tannery. This was also the stinkiest, since they still process leather the old school way, which apparently involves soaking the skins in urine, pigeon poop, and various natural dyes. Fortunately they give you springs of mint to hold over your nose.
The tanneries are of course surrounded by tons of leather stores, where I caved and bought some really cute shoes and a purse.
Unfortunately as the day went on the tour started to devolve into being taken to a series of shops (including some sort of herbal pharmacy, rugs, weaving, and jewelry), so eventually I feigned tiredness and we took a cab back to our riad. We did learn how to tie a turban at the weaving place though, which would be a handy skill later.
That night we discovered Cafe Clock, a very happening joint that seemed aimed at tourists and trendy young locals. They had live Moroccan music (which the locals were going crazy to) as well as delicious food, including camel burgers.
The next day we wandered around ourselves, getting very lost and doing some souvenir shopping. We actually made it outside the medina, where we were found a nice park that was unfortunately closed, and a big fancy palace.
We finished off the day by climbing up to some ruins and watching the sun set over the medina among a big flock of sheep.
After that, it was time to visit the desert!