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Fascinating Fes and Rabat w/13-year-old daughter - Trip Report

Fascinating Fes and Rabat w/13-year-old daughter - Trip Report

Old Mar 6th, 2008, 05:46 AM
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Fascinating Fes and Rabat w/13-year-old daughter - Trip Report


I’m starting with some details about us, Morocco, our accommodations, and our plans as I had trouble finding answers to all my questions and I hope this information will help those in the planning stages. If you just want to read about our trip, skip to my second installment. Hope this is helpful.

We are US ex-pats living in Zurich for about a year now. I have 2 teen-aged daughters attending international schools. My 13-year-old auditioned to participate in the international schools honors band festival, which this year was held at Rabat American School. She plays the trumpet and was lucky enough to be chosen to attend. Wahoo!!! - as she would say – we’re going to Morocco! In fact, my daughter has reminded me a number of times, “we’re the first ones in our family to go to Africa!” Cool.

My older daughter is quite the history and art buff and will last all day in a museum, but this daughter is pretty much done with that sort of thing after about 30 minutes. She is more interested in how things work or are made and observing different people or seeing nature or animals. So far, a lot of our European travel has been to big cities and has involved lots of museums and such. I was hoping Morocco would be more to her interests and so planned the trip accordingly.

Since she was the only musician attending from her school, I was required to act as her chaperone and so would have only limited time for sightseeing in Rabat. During the Rabat portion of the trip she would house with a local family and I would stay alone in a hotel.

I decided we would go to Morocco a few days early and see another part of the country as well as Rabat but where?? I looked over the Fodor’s boards for help, bought a book, and got very confused, and just a little concerned about the safety of two petite western women traveling alone. I decided to use a travel agent, a woman who has traveled a number of times to Morocco, to help me plan this trip. I was glad I did, as she did an excellent job and made the trip smooth and stress-free.

Although I have studied a bit about the Arab culture and Islam, this was my first trip to Morocco and so let me say here that I am a complete novice. Any observations made here are simply from my own limited knowledge and experience. Please confirm my findings with your guidebook or an expert.


Many Moroccans speak several languages with Arabic and French being the most likely. Those in the tourism industry generally also speak English with varying degrees of skill.

We speak a little German, no French, and no Arabic, so language was an issue for us. For the Fes portion of the trip we had a wonderful English-speaking guide. In Rabat, more people spoke English, and if not English than German, so we were able to communicate more easily. In fact, we used our German quite a bit in Morocco. It was neat for my daughter to see that sometimes knowing another language can help you even when visiting a country where that is not the primary language spoken.


At the agent’s recommendation, we used a guide for 2 of the days in Fes. I can’t imagine navigating the medina there without one, but people do. I can’t speak to the safety issue, as we felt safe with the guide, but I noticed that at night no one really “let” us head out on our own. One night we visited a restaurant with a music/dance show, and the owner and his driver picked us up and dropped us off at the Riad. This seemed very “normal” to everyone there. I assume it was because we were women alone. But I don’t know exactly what we were being protected from….perhaps it just isn’t safe for anyone not just women? I don’t know. I’d love to hear others perspectives on this.

Our two days with the guide were wonderful, educational, fascinating. The guide spoke great English, was a great source of information and was pretty much the mayor of Fes. We did visit a number of artisan cooperatives but I let him know early on that I wasn’t a big shopper and there was never any huge pressure to buy, except at one rug shop, and even there he stepped in when I said I was not interested. (Well, I actually did buy a rug but more on that later.) One thing I really appreciated was the guides awareness of my need every couple of hours for a clean, western toilet!!

The contact information for our guide:

[email protected]
00 212 61 16 91 52

Fes versus Marrakech

A big decision for us was choosing between Marrakech and Fes. There are varying opinions on this, but regarding Fes I kept hearing the words: authentic, historical, artisans. Regarding Marrakech I kept hearing: touristy, overwhelming, exciting… I thought about my daughter and I and our interests, and remembered how tiring we found Rome (as much as we loved it) and opted for Fes. I can’t compare it to Marrakech, but it was a great decision for us. We actually had no idea what to expect because photos can’t really do this country justice. If you want to step back in time and enjoy watching things crafted and sold the way they were ages ago, then Fes is for you. It is not charming or quaint – it is real and sometimes a bit shocking. There are no snake charmers – for that you need to head to Marrakech – and I know my daughter would have enjoyed that as well, but Fes was a good choice for us. We also saw Volubilius (highly recommended!!) and Meknes en route from Fes to Rabat.

Just a thought, when planning your own itinerary…After four days in Fes, it was nice to come to a cleaner, more modern city where we could get around on our own. If we had time to head to the desert, I think that also would have been a good break from the busy city.

Weather and Clothing

We traveled the last week of February and the weather was warm (low 70’s) but not hot, with cool evenings (50’s). Think layers and sweater plus jacket at night. Dark jeans and long sleeves work for the daytime. Bring plenty of clothes as you will feel a bit “dirty” after walking through the medina all day – in Fes, it can be a bit dirty with donkey droppings, market debris, and trash on the ground. Rabat is much more modern and clean. You will want comfortable shoes that are not open-toed and can be brushed clean.

I wished I had brought more casual clothes. I wore the same pair of dress black slacks for dinner almost every nigh and came home with 2 pairs of clean dress slacks, but I ran out of long sleeved t-shirts and jeans for the daytime. I did have to hand wash my jeans. Remember loose-fitting, long pants and sleeves, and no bare midriffs, etc.

In Fes, most women will wear head coverings and Kaftans or Jellaba (pointy-hooded ankle length cloaks) and the men will wear Jellaba. In Rabat, you will see a mix of head coverings and cloaks as well as flowing hair and western wear and some tight jeans although no short sleeves or shorts on men or women. The colors in Rabat were brighter; the Jellabas more ornate. The teeth were better too, and some women had orthodontia

Currency, Exchange Rate, Tipping

At the time of our trip it was 7.5 dirham for 1 USD…. And falling☹ I just divided everything by 7 or 8 to get a basic idea.

Although Morocco is certainly cheaper than most European cities, dining out and a nice hotel can add up. Typically Moroccans don’t eat out except in the more western areas and the kind of restaurant you might want to eat and use the facilities in, will likely not be the American version of a “greasy spoon”… so yes, Morocco is reasonable, but be aware you will probably dine and hotel “up” a little.

In Rabat, you will see more Moroccans in the restaurants and in Fes and the environs you will be “guided” to more touristy places. You can still enjoy a wonderful Moroccan meal even if not surrounded by Moroccans diners.

There are ATMs just about everywhere, but sometimes they won’t work. No worries, just find another one. Try to get a lot of small bills in change early on, as they will fly out of your pocket for tips and such. It was difficult getting change of 100 or 200 dirham when you needed just 20 or 50 for a tip.

In restaurants, the tip is not usually included. 10% seemed the gratuity for dining out although some tourists of certain nationalities left nothing. It is customary in some countries in Europe to only leave 5% or nothing, as the gratuity is included and some felt the same applied here, but that was not my understanding based on a few discussions with locals although it was honestly hard to reach a tipping consensus. I started giving 20 dirham for basic help with bags or a visit into a Berber home, or to use a bathroom. I left 10% for dining tip, and I rounded up around 5 dirham for cab fares. I asked around and found 100-200 dirham per day is a nice tip for a very good guide.

Just my thoughts on this – some may differ…



Riad Fes
Fes Medina, Morocco

This is an authentic “Riad” or a traditional house set around a courtyard and affording a peaceful break from the busy and tiring medina (old city) although actually situated right on the edge of it. The Riad Fes has an older section in traditional Moroccan décor and a newer section supposedly more modernly decorated although we did not see the more modern rooms. We stayed in the older section and our “room” was on two levels with the zellij (Moroccan-style mosaic) bathroom on the first level and sitting and sleeping area on the second. The room had just one small opaque window so it was a bit dark. Other rooms with more light were available, but we paid for the standard room and although there were many vacant rooms, we were not upgraded.

There is a lovely, peaceful roof garden with an amazing view of Fes. The Riad Fes is a very romantic place.

You definitely feel like you’re in Morocco at the Riad Fes. The bar and restaurant area is beautiful, especially at night when there is a large lighted fountain, and lanterns and a fireplace are glowing as well. Breakfast was a fantastic buffet of Moroccan specialties as well as eggs to order. You will not be disappointed! Ours was included in our room rate, which we negotiated for, as originally there was an extra charge for breakfast. Dinner was also quite good with prices around 485 dirham (around 60 USD) for a complete dinner for two without drinks. The service was friendly and professional.

For Morocco, the Riad Fes is considered very expensive. Compared to Switzerland and other European travels we have taken, it wasn’t that high for us. You can find much less expensive places if this is too steep for you.


Villa Mandarine
Souissi, Rabat, Morocco

This is another Riad style hotel in a Rabat neighborhood. It is not in the central part of the city, but is about a 10 or 15 minute taxi ride to just about everywhere. Taxi fare is pretty cheap in Rabat – think 8 USD tops to most tourist sites.

The grounds of this Riad are spectacular. There are beautifully maintained gardens with fruit trees and palms and a very pleasant pool area. There is a pretty tiled courtyard with a fountain and gardens and benches and sitting areas. There was something interesting to notice every time you walk through to your room. The common areas are filled with interesting rugs, artwork, lanterns etc. The décor is a lovely palette of peach, blue, red, and green plus terracotta. The rooms are pleasant but not luxurious – also in cheerful colors, the bed very comfortable, and the room is spacious. The bathroom is a good size but again not luxurious, and mine had some mold in the bathtub area. Everything was clean otherwise.

I can’t say enough good things about the way I was taken care of here. The desk clerk – Zakia – a lovely young woman – spoke excellent English and was friendly and attentive to my every need.

I ate alone a number of times in the dining room and everyone was friendly, welcoming and helpful with translating the French menu. I found dinner here more expensive than in Fes. The menu is more French than Moroccan. I noticed other solo women as well as some groups of businesswomen. The hotel seemed to have a large number of business travelers, but also couples, golfers, and Moroccan ladies who lunch.

I had some small problems with room service (language issues ultimately) but they were resolved reasonably quickly. Also, I mistakenly ordered a raw veal dish and it was graciously replaced (although I was charged for it).

I used the spa for a massage, manicure and pedicure – about 600 dirham or 80 USD – and the young woman (Nawal) was excellent and lovely. The spa area was pleasant and clean although the robes and towels very worn.

Breakfast was good, although not spectacular like the Riad Fes. It is a buffet of cereal, pastries, Moroccan pancakes, yogurt, cold cuts and fruit.

The Villa Mandarine is a lovely little oasis from the hectic pace of a Moroccan city tour. Again, it is considered very posh for Morocco, but it’s not so fancy at all, just very nice and charming.

Next up: We travel to Fes


gruezi is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2008, 01:23 PM
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Thanks for posting - looking forward to reading more!
SusanInToronto is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2008, 02:44 PM
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Enjoying your report very much! Keep it coming.
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Old Mar 7th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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I'm enjoying the report so far gruezi. I think you made a good choice between Fes and Marrakech, after reading what sort of things interest you. We thought Fes was a fascinating immersion into Moroccan culture.
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Old Mar 8th, 2008, 12:54 AM
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Thanks for reading Susan, Al and Clifton.

Yes, we were very happy with our decision but I've heard others who've enjoyed Marrakesh so I'm sure it holds some charm of it's own depending on your interests!

I only wish we had time to visit the desert as that seems to be a unanimously popular trip.

I'm adding the travel and first day in the Fes medina below. I'm away this week so I'll add the rest after that.

Thanks for reading and I'm happy to answer any questions from anyone planning a visit to Morocco.

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Old Mar 8th, 2008, 01:01 AM
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On To Fes

I packed one large bag for all the things we’d need the first 4 days in Fes, a smaller carry-on size for the things my daughter would need the last 4 days in Rabat, and in there I wrapped her concert clothes separately in tissue paper so that everything would be ready for her performance. I put 2 additional soft carry-on bags in the large luggage for any souvenirs or shopping we did. I’m honestly not a big shopper but I think it’s hard not to buy in Morocco and I was glad we had the extra room later.

It’s difficult getting a flight on Friday as that is the holy day of the week in Morocco, so we had to leave on Saturday evening. We took a flight from Zurich to Casablanca and then a connecting flight on to Fes. I knew we wouldn’t get in until almost midnight, but this was the best flight option of the many we looked into.

At the airport I struck up a conversation with a young Swiss woman who was going to visit her Moroccan boyfriend for the first time in his home country. I was pretty curious about all that, and we had a nice little chat about how they met and eventually the subject turned to American politics (somehow it always does) and Bush, and our present election. Our flight was delayed, so we had lots of time to chat and soon we both started to worry about missing our connecting flights in Casablanca.

Just picturing two women who don’t speak French or Arabic in the Casablanca airport at midnight with no hotel reservations wasn’t feeling very good to me. My daughter kept telling me not to worry, but she didn’t really understand all the implications of this and I didn’t share them with her until later….ah, youth…

Well, our flight finally took off and after landing, we raced like mad through Casablanca airport. Lots of people helped us find our way to our connecting flight and, you guessed it, then we sat and waited for another hour because the connecting flight was also delayed. Hurry up and wait!

When we finally landed in Fes, the airport was pretty deserted but our arranged transfer was waiting for us with a sign with our name on it. There was a driver and a “guide” who spoke English. I tried to clarify with someone at the airport something I had read about declaring any foreign currency brought into the country but no one seemed to know what I was talking about so I marched in with my 500 Swiss Francs – I never was arrested for this, so I still don’t know what I was supposed to do. As far as I know, you cannot get dirham outside of Morocco and you are supposedly not supposed to take more than 1 dirham with you when you leave Morocco.

I tried using the ATM at the airport but couldn’t get dirhams. I had absolutely nothing for tips or for the next morning. The guide took me to another ATM in a pretty sketchy-looking neighborhood on the way to the Riad Fes, and discreetly waited nearby while I got cash. It was a bit unsettling to be doing this at 2 am with 2 strange men, but all went well with no international incidents

We finally got to our riad in Fes at about 2:30 am and we were pretty tired. We were met by a bellman who didn’t speak English and basically just took us and our luggage to our room. My daughter was pretty intrigued by the riad. “Mom, this is so cool! It doesn’t look like any place we’ve ever been before!” She especially liked the room, which was like a small suite on two levels.

The courtyard of the Riad was beautifully covered in mosaic and the bathroom in our room was as well. We were to see so much mosaic over the next week. Later on our trip we saw the way the mosaic shapes are hand-cut from large tiles and came to appreciate the craftsmanship even more. We had both taken mosaic classes together, so we had at least a small appreciation of the art. A huge part of Fes is appreciating the artisans and the way they do their work and the Riad prepared us for what we would soon be seeing in greater detail.

We slept well and although pretty tired were up early for a glorious Moroccan breakfast and our first day in Fes. The dining room wait staff was professional and friendly and a wonderful buffet breakfast was served in a beautiful dining room with crisp linens and Moroccan pottery. There were so many delicious treats to enjoy: Moroccan pancakes, beignets, crepes, dates, nuts, figs, rice pudding, fresh fruit, yogurt etc. etc. My tiny daughter ate a huge breakfast (she did all week and she is normally a picky eater) and I practiced some self-control (well, just the first day…)

The transfer agent from the night before met us at 9:30 in the lobby with our Fes guide. Thankfully, he spoke much clearer English than the transfer agent did, as we would spend 3 days with him. He was dressed in a Jellaba and slippers. He introduced himself and gave us an idea of what we would see the next few days as he led us through the medina (old city). He wore an official guide identification around his neck. I would say he was in his late 50s but I noticed people here look older than they are, and tend to be grandparents and great-grandparents at a much younger age than in the West.

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Old Mar 8th, 2008, 01:43 AM
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Fes Medina (or Fes el-Bali)

I hope I can do justice to describing this incredible experience. Let me begin by saying the medina in Fes dates back to 800 AD and is a bit like an ancient giant maze with high walls and narrow passages. Most of it is crumbling and old, but it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and there is some preservation work in progress from place to place. Apparently, the funding for preservation has been slow to come.

There are no cars but lots of pedestrians, carts and donkeys. There is a lot of trash about and you have to keep a constant eye out for donkey poop but, invariably, you will land in some so wear shoes that aren't too dear.

At the first long alley leading into the heart of the medina, my claustrophobia radar went way up and I began to feel a bit uneasy. But as we continued on, I was so intrigued and fascinated by this enclosed ancient city and way of life, that I forgot about my fears.

We walked and talked and our guide pointed out various shops (souqs) and craftspeople and mosque entrances and mosaic covered fountains for filling water jugs and washing, and we watched people and people definitely watched us back. We were the only 2 western women we saw all morning so definitely stood out a bit. We hopped out of the way of donkeys and carts, and peeked into the neighborhood bakeries where the children drop off the bread each day for baking. We watched hunched-over tailors seated on the floor of their shops stitching items attached to their calves with clips. We watched others measuring lengths of thread for sewing and weaving outside along the medina walls.

Our guide showed us the many entrances to the main mosque (Kairaouine) in the heart of the medina, although each neighborhood throughout Morocco has its own local mosque as well. We were not able to enter any of the mosques in Fes, although we could look in and see the fountain for the pre-prayer ablutions (cleaning before prayer) and some of the women’s prayer rooms. He told us that women often would go to the mosque to rest while out shopping. I noticed some talking on their cell phones and the guide said that was perfectly acceptable when it was not prayer time.

The call to prayer happens from microphones at the top of the minarets and occurs 5 times a day – an hour before sunrise, at midday, at mid-afternoon, an hour before sunset and an hour after. Although many ex-pats living in Muslim countries have told me the call to pray can get a bit tiring and creepy after a while, we didn’t really find it obtrusive during our brief 8-day visit. A few mornings at about 4:15 a.m. I was awakened by the call, but I was able to fall back asleep again as it wasn’t very loud. (We have a church bell in our town in Switzerland that rings every 15 minutes 24/7 and I think it took me a lot longer to get used to that…)

Here is a translation of the Muslim call to prayer if it interests you:

God is most great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.
I testify that there is no God except God.
I testify that there is no God except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success! Come to success!
God is most great. God is most great.
There is none worthy of worship except God.

Our guide spoke a lot about Islam and if it is of interest to you the basics consist of the 5 pillars of the Muslim Way which I’ve also outlined here:

FIRST PILLAR; Shahada: "I witness that there is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God"
This is the profession of faith and is repeated when Muslims wake in the morning and before they go to sleep. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad was the last in a long line of prophets which included Abraham, Moses and Jesus. The Christian, Jewish, and Islam faiths share much of the old testament.

SECOND PILLAR; Salat: Pray 5 times a day, “Call to Prayer”
Prayers are obligatory at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Performing daily prayers is an act of communication between humans and God. Although it is permissible to pray at home, at work or even outdoors, it is recommended that Muslims perform Salat in a Mosque if it is conveniently possible.

THIRD PILLAR; Sawm: Abstain each day in the Holy Month of Ramadan
Abstain from all bodily pleasures between sunrise and sunset. Not only is food and water forbidden, but also smoking, chewing gum, any sexual activity and they should also not think or do anything evil.

FOURTH PILLAR; Zakat: Giving alms to the poor. Compulsory gift of 2.5% of one's capital each year. Zakat is in addition to any charitable gifts a Muslim makes.

FIFTH PILLAR; Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims should make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life if they are physically and financially able to do so.

Having studied and read a lot about Islam and the Arab culture, I was very interested in observing this culture as it exists in Morocco. I also wanted my daughter to experience this as well, as I believe it critical that her generation really understand world cultures.

Our guide was equally interested in sharing his culture and explaining the various traditions pertaining to prayer, food, veiling, sexual relations, divorce, etc. etc. My daughter was fascinated by the way the architecture of Morocco reflected the position of women in this society. We later saw the difference in the Jewish quarter where there are open, outside balconies as opposed to the interior courtyard arrangement of Muslim homes with the elaborate screening for “seeing without being seen.”

Morocco recently passed new laws pertaining to women’s rights in divorce and rights to education until the age of 16 and, according to my guide, lead the Muslim world in this area. After divorce or death of their spouse, Moroccan women wear white cloaks and scarves for 4 months and 10 days (or something like that) to establish paternity. I had to get somewhat explicit to explain how this works to my 13-year-old!

Another interesting thing we learned was that Morocco was the first country to recognize the US as a country independent of England in 1776. Moroccans are very proud of this special relationship to the US and we were told this a few times during that week.

Our medina morning passed very quickly, and before long our guide brought us to a restaurant for lunch. We were tired and hungry. The interior of the restaurant was covered in the Moroccan-style mosaic (zellij) and at first we had this palace-type restaurant to ourselves. Our table was at the center of one long wall and my daughter said, “Mom, don’t you feel like a princess here?” and, I did!

We ordered lunch – tajine for me and couscous for my picky eater. A huge spread of Moroccan “salads” was brought out, as well as traditional bread much like we saw going into the community ovens. We tried a bit of everything, all delicious. My palate was in heaven with so many new flavors and spices. My daughter was less enthusiastic, but she enjoyed a full dish of cucumbers. There was an amazing cauliflower dish that was my favorite. I ate the whole thing.

Restaurant Asmae
4, Derb Jeniara
Fes Medina
00 212 35 74 12 10

Before long the restaurant filled with western tourists of every nationality and I was a bit letdown that we were in a Fes tourist trap, but I realized later that most Moroccans don’t eat their meals out, particularly in Fes. Lots of men can be found sitting in cafes outside the medina, but they are mostly drinking coffee and socializing with friends. You won’t see women in the cafes. Even in Rabat, the cafes seemed to be the men’s domain.

(I have to confess that our 2 days in the medina are running together in my head even though this was just last week! I’m just going to explain as much as I remember even if it is out of order.)

So, that afternoon we saw some more crafts – scarves and embroidery and metal work and woodwork (cedar is a big industry in Morocco and the wonderful smell of cedar is everywhere). Then we visited the Musee Nejjarine which is a beautifully restored funduq or caravan hotel. It was filled with various artifacts and the building is really something. (On each floor there is also a clean, western –style toilet which my guide pointed out for us.) There is a very pretty rooftop café where you can have the famous mint tea that is ubiquitous in Morocco and jokingly referred to by many locals as “Moroccan whiskey” as Muslims don’t imbibe in alcohol. They also don’t smoke cigarettes, so the restaurants and cafes are naturally smoke-free. Our guide explained a lot of religious practices to us, and one practice is to avoid anything not healthy for the body.

We viewed the tanneries from a leather shop above them, and they were amazing to see – work being done here the way it has been for hundreds of years with the jobs passed from father to son. Huge vats of a combination of pigeon droppings, cow urine and ash are used in the processing and the smell in this area is pretty pungent. The leather shops have buckets of mint for visitors to hole over their noses.

The men working in the tanneries are practically naked and standing right in the vats. Being an oncology nurse, the first thing that came to my mind was carcinogens and the health risks. My guide insisted it was “all natural” and the men had no health issues, but I later read otherwise.

We looked around the huge leather shop and my daughter spent a long time choosing some hand-sewn leather slippers for herself and her sister. Our guide haggled for us, and I almost felt like I had stolen them when I realized later they cost about 16 USD each. Now that we are back in Switzerland, my daughter wishes she had bought a few more. They look great with jeans or a skirt and the quality is really special.

Our favorite part of the afternoon was a visit to a ceramics factory. We had a short tour there that included stepping inside a huge kiln, watching clay prepared, a potter throw a pot, the zellij shapes chiseled by hand from large tiles, the double glazed pieces trimmed of the first glaze, etc. etc. We saw many mosaic fountains, tables, and other pieces and a huge store of “blue” pottery for which Fes is famous. We were shown the guest book with notes from customers and visitors from all over the world.

After a long look, and some differing opinions between my daughter and I, we did settle on a very large serving dish priced at 720 dirham which I was immediately sold on when told the name of the pattern is, “the tree of life”.

This pottery shop was the only place in Fes where prices were actually marked and the shopkeeper didn’t seem to encourage haggling, but I’m sure I could have gotten a better deal if I tried. The tour was so great and I was happy to pay for the dish. We could have really shopped till we dropped here, but there is the issue of getting everything safely home and do we really need it anyway? (I hung the dish in my kitchen the other day and everyone that walks in compliments it. It is quite beautiful.)

After the pottery, our guide could see we were fading and the late travel night was catching up with us. He had a taxi drive us up over the city to point out the Jewish and Muslim cemeteries, a fortress (or Kasbah), and some panoramic views of Fes and then reviewed his plans for us the next day. We all decided he’d meet us a bit later the next morning to let the little teenager get some beauty rest.

We went back to the Riad Fes and went up on the roof to view the medina and my daughter took some photos there. It really is an amazing city and more interesting to view from afar once you've walked through it. We could see the black smoke coming up from the kilns at the pottery factories where we had visited and the green roof of the mosque. (Green is often used for the mosques.)

Then we had a short nap and had a delicious dinner at the Riad Fes. The bar has a gorgeous lit fountain and the dining area is beautifully lit with candlelight and a fire each night.

They prepared a simple chicken and French fries dish for my daughter and I had a tajine with prunes and almonds that was just wonderful. It was a pretty perfect ending to a full and very fascinating day.

Afterward, we went back to our room and before long were fast asleep. Our guide had told us to rest well, as we had a very full day coming up.

For tomorrow: Fes el-Jdid or the “new” medina (still very, very old - 1200 AD), the Jewish quarter (mellah) and synagogue, the Jewish cemetery, Dar el-Makhzen - the Royal Palace, Dar Batha Museum, Belghazi Museum, a visit to a rug cooperative, a peek at a kindergarten, and a tour of a Medersa (theological college).


gruezi is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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This is a terrific report. Looking forward to the next installment.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Hi gruezi,

Your post was very helpful. I would love to go to Morocco with my daughter this summer but I need to find a travel agent who can arrange something for us. Unfortunately I can't find any travel agent in the Miami area that specializes in this region. It sounds like you are happy with your agent, if you could pass on their contact info I would really appreciate it.
Thanks so much.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Oh this report is marvelous!!!! Please more more more!!!

I leave Oct 13 for a 3 weeks tour w/ Baraka Journeys and I cannot wait.

Your report is helping me pass the days!!

Thank you!!!.....but more please!!!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 04:47 AM
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Kikiv - yes, my agent did a very good job. I don't think one is necessary, but as I was traveling with just my daughter I didn't want to take any chances.

We live in Switzerland, so the agent is here. Her email is:

[email protected]

She is english-speaking and has traveled in Morocco.

The one thing my daughter and I didn't have time to do that I think is a "must do" is to go into the desert and camp...

Thanks for reading my report and for motivating me to finish!!

Let me know if you have any other questions.

gruezi is offline  
Old May 14th, 2008, 05:02 AM
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Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback. I really do need to finish this report...

I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time in Morocco!! Remember to bring handwipes in your purse, lightweight clothes, and closed shoes. Perhaps some granola or protein bars or something of that sort to have on hand is a good idea as well as some immodium just in case. Early on, stock up on bottled water and use it. We never had a problem with our stomachs, but we used bottled for everything and avoided any raw fruits and veggies. I have heard some people do have some trouble.

Can't wait to hear about your trip!

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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:31 AM
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Great post! Many thanks! You have made me want another trip to Morocco (our 4th). Morocco is always fascinating and "easy" to travel.
Congratulations on the musician.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Thank you Gruezi, I have been reading your report and it has gotten both of us excited about our trip! I know I don't have much time to plan it, but I think I will manage it any way. : )
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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Gruezi, thank you for your tips.

I was very very sick in Egypt so Im preparing already w/ all sorts of solid prescriptions for the tummy!!

40 years ago in S. America, I got amoebic dysentary....and never really been the same since!! So you are very right to be careful of everything and I sure will try to be.

Anyway Im hanging about and waiting for more of the trip tale...its really very very interesting.
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