Our journey through Morocco is like an ancient rainbow, around every magical corner is a laneway that leads to a souk with walls that have so much character they are aged to perfection and alive with colours of yesteryear, just from being painted and painted.
Our tour rolled out of Chefchaouen and onto the road again.
I am a big believer in manifesting your ideas and dreams to make them happen.
As we travelled our way across the Rif mountains, I began to wonder if there were Flanders poppies growing in Morocco. The next thing we know, we can see them everywhere. Anzac Day is tomorrow here and today in Australia ( don’t think about that too much it will hurt your brain).
Stop the bus! I need to get a photo, and while they may not be the best photos, it was real emotions I felt seeing these red poppies, that arrived in the summer of 1915 and became synonymous with Anzac Day and to see them in the foot hills of North Africa, made my heart sing.
We stopped for coffee at the base of the mountain which I had actually stopped at before, which was random and also nice, so i had a stroll around the caravan park and road side hotel pool before our four hour drive to Vollubilis ruins.
Now I can take or leave ruins, but if you get the right guide…… you get a great experience. Abdul had the perfect sense of humour and taught us so many different aspects of yesteryear.
He shared stories and explained what would have been through the town, where the rich would have lived and which room would have been the sun pool room and also where the workers lived. I was amazed that the Roman’s actually invented to aqua duct and also the sewer system!
Abdul also offered us “Berber whiskey” at his home, in his local village, just below the sacred town of Moulay Idriss. He wasn’t really offering us whiskey as this is a Muslim country we all chuckled as really he meant Moroccan mint tea, which is delicious.
Then it was onto Fes an imperial city filled with 13th century ancient history, with medinas and riads, traditional crafters and the stinky famous tanneries where all things leather are made. It’s a bit yucky but also amazing to see.
Just make sure you take the piece of mint they offer you as you enter…… you hold it under your nose so you can’t smell the leather being fermented in pigeon poo and dyes added to make the incredible colours.True story.
The last time I was here in Fes, I stayed in a different area, which wouldn’t be hard Fes is massive and millions of people live here, but I cannot believe how much restoration work has been done.
UNESCO has poured funds into this area and whilst some is lovely, I miss the patina painted old doors …… Idriss our guide said these will age too, but unfortunately not likely in my life time, so we went hunting old walls and we sure found them!
It’s a little weird walking under restoration work knowing that up above people actually live there, it is a maze of tall walls and lanes to navigate.
It is such a special place, strolling through alleys and lanes of local men and women with their crafts, like looming scarves or wood carvings, the pottery is next level and again seeing them make a mosaic table piece by piece and its upside down just wow.
Paint pigment is sold throughout the cute little towns of Morocco, colour choice is sometimes a personal thing, and sometimes you are told what colour to paint your home, creating so much character and charm and a patina of colours ~ just stunning.
In the ancient medieval town of Feś there is lot’s of pink, red and purple – along with water fountains called Seqqaya meaning public fountain.
I want to photograph it all. But you need to keep up with your guide, remember you aren’t the only one wanting “something” whether its the perfect photo or a new silver Moroccan tea pot.
Small group travel is fun, busy and a little exhausting but you can sleep on the plane home its a bloody long way to Australia.
This tour has had breakfast and some lunches and dinners included.
Others we have had to catch and kill your own or eat at the hotel, and oh what fun we have had getting lost trying to find somewhere to eat.
We “acquired” a local guide (another Abdul) who heard us leave our Riad and start to wander down to where we thought he Medina was.
I turned around and he was in front of me directing us to his “friends” restaurant. It was 1 kilometre down the hill, of which we then had to climb back to our Riad, because one of the girls had a Hamman which is a traditional Moroccan steam bath and scrub! But that’s another story,
To be honest it was a lovely experience at the restaurant we basically were “taken hostage to” as we had no idea where we were.
Four of us ended up on the terrace of Dar Lahlimi restaurant.
Day two we started in the Jewish quarter and visited the amazing seven doors of the royal palace, just an incredible experience. I can only imagine what the inside of the palace is like if these are the gates!
I adore this old part of town, but again they have started to upgrade a lot of the old buildings at it is fabulous, but I miss the old walls.
We went to the Synagogue but not before we went into the cemetery. It’s spring and all the roses are blooming as are the orange trees. All the graves are white and it was just a peaceful little visit.
Then it was off to the souks in the Medina. More shopping and more photos and there I manifested another photo I have been dreaming about. A cart laden with mint, at the food market. Later the same day, I saw another mint cart parked in a lane way against a wall and boom my heart is full.
To celebrate, we walked a different way to find a secret beer and wine. Yummy food and a beer wrapped in a serviette to hide the evidence. Ahhhh people watching is a favourite thing and we all enjoyed doing this and watching the sunset and moon rise. It’s been an amazing couple of days here in Fes.
It really is a long way from Casablanca but if you want to see the main towns you just have to suck up the busy bus days.
There is always coffee and stretching stops. Before you my lunch stops. Im not used to eating 3 big meals so today we went and grabbed a few nuts and berries and a yoghurt and then sat at a juice bar and enjoyed a picnic lunch.
Tomorrow we are heading out really early on our way to the dezzy (a new word this trip) meaning the desert.
We have also been calling the donkeys dankeys and Denkies, courtesy of our guides pronunciation of the word. And laughed in the souk when one old man smiled his heart out for us as we took photos ……. His face when some people didnt pay was hilarious. You can see this on instagram. I’d pay any day to get a clear pic.
Till next time
Mrs Wong x