Another week rolled by after the Rabat trip and we were set for our next Moroccan adventure to Fes and Meknes. This time was with my very diverse group of flat mates. When I say diverse, I mean diverse. People would stare at this Red-headed Russian, Egyptian, Croatian, Chinese from Hong Kong (I’d like to say Hong-Kongese) and Kenyan as they were walking on these Moroccan streets.
This trip had already started on an interesting note as we travel rookies failed to book the bus tickets on time. We rushed to the bus station at midnight only to be told that all the spaces were filled and had to go back to our flat, sleep for 4 hours and catch the 7 am train from Casa Voyageur. We ended up sleeping the entire train ride to Fes.
Fiery Fes. Literal fire. Since no one can function in 40 degree weather, we opted to stay at the AIESEC Fes flat ,which they graciously allowed us to stay in, until 4pm when it was a bit cooler.
As I mentioned earlier, each city has its own aesthetic. From the different coloured taxis, to the different coloured Kasbahs. Fes had red petit taxis that were more affordable than any other city. In fact, Fes is very popular with Kenyans who are moving to Morocco as the cost of life is way waaaay less.
The Old Medina
The one place in Fes that you cannot miss out on is the Old Medina. The aesthetic is simply a rust one with an earthy tone to it. Built in the 14th century, this Medina is one of the largest in Morocco and holds so much history.
Fes Medina is also one of the best to buy souveiners. I got to meet an artist who lives off his paintings that he sells in the medina as most of the residents of the medina.
A young Moroccan girl, Aya, found us as we were trying to look for the tannery that is in the medina and graciously offered to take us to it. We were quite hesitant cause we heard these horror stories of travelers who parted with hundreds of dollars from locals who were ‘helping’ them.
She led us through the medina, inside dark alleyways and places that had an eerie feel to it. To be honest, at this point we were scared. Luckily, Aya was trustworthy and she took us to one of the viewing points of the tannery.
It stinks! The leather at the tannery is made from camel and cow skin with pigeon droppings being added in this toxic combination. You are given mint leaves to shove up your nostrils to help with the smell. However, when you stay for long enough, you get used to it.
Musee Ryad Belrhazi
We then proceeded to Musee Ryad Belrhazi Museum in the old Medina. Here you learn so much about the Berber culture and their dressing and music. It was quite something.
We ended our quick Medina trip in a restaurant at the entrance of the Medina, where we had some Chicken Tajine and Lemonade while getting an amazing view of the entire Old Medina.
On our second day, we went to Meknes. Okay, it was technically not Meknes itself but a historical landmark near Meknes, Volubilis. To get there, you need to take a taxi from Meknes that cost 75 MAD (750Ksh) each! So expensive but worth the drive.
It is a partly excavated Amazigh and Roman city in Morocco that was developed in the 3rd Century BC and is considered the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauritania. It was later abandoned by the Romans then taken over by the Moroccans in the 11th Century AD after the capital moved to Fes. It is now a UNESCO Heritage Site
The other rookie mistake we made was that we went to Voluibilis at 2pm when the sun was at its peak. It was nearly 48 degrees and we had to run from shade to shade as we were touring the ruins. Water here is ten times the price as it was nearly 30 dirhams for a bottle and I am ashamed to say, that we bought the really expensive water. Capitalism is annoying sometimes.
We left Voluibilis and I unfortunately had to catch a train back to Casablanca as my flatmates went to Ifrane. However. The weekend was totally worth it.
Have a lovely week!