Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Holiday: Morocco: Fes (the next couple days)

Since the Riad Lune et Soleil was full after our first night in Fes, we stayed at a little house run by the wonderful Anthony from Dar El Hana, which was perfect for us.  We would spend the days wandering the medina - we visited the stunning Kerouine Mosque, the Madersa el-Attarine, and countless little souks and side streets.  Wandering in and out of Seffarine square (where the brass-workers are) and the henna souk (where the hawkers are), between convenience stores piled high with fanta and kit-kats and tourist shops with glass bangles, was magical.  We visited the Batha Museum, where they were preparing for the Sufi Mysticism Festival, and the Royal Gardens.  We negotiated the winding streets of the Andalus Quarter and the Fondouks, where travelling traders stayed while they were in Fes.
While a lot of the things in the medina are obviously geared towards tourists, you can easily find your way away from that towards the realer, grittier Fes - the Fes of produce markets and smoky street food stalls, of hidden gardens and graffiti endorsing FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.  You find your way deep into the souks where you can bargain with shopkeepers and get a (hopefully) not too inflated price.  You drink cup after cup of steaming mint tea and experience Fes for what it is - perhaps the most alive place that I've ever been to.

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