Date of visit: May 6 and 7, 2015
Going through the chaotic medina. And have my first drink in Morocco.
There are many topics in Fez where I stayed for two nights. Next is walking around the city. After all, Medina is said to be the largest in Morocco. From Riyadh, it takes only a few minutes on foot to reach the main street in the medina.
The reason why there are so many photos of carpet shops is because they look good when they are photographed.
In this medina, you can find anything you want. Not only souvenirs, but also clothes, underwear, daily necessities, foods such as meat and vegetables, and yes, spices. There are also electrical appliances. Many of them are related to smart phones. And the closer you are to the center of Medina, the more beautiful the shops are and the higher the prices are.
However, one thing that was still good compared to other medinas is that they surprisingly have price tags on them. It’s quite helpful. On the other hand, is it hard to negotiate?
In addition, we found a shop that the guidebook said was run by a Japanese owner. It is a pottery shop. The shopkeeper was also very nice and responsive with a price tag on it. And I thought that it was easy to choose the size for the Japanese somehow. However, the impression of a little high. I wonder if it is because the quality is good.
City Walk Report
The two main streets are the center of tourism
The medina of Fez has two main streets, Taller Kebira and Taller Sevilla, running roughly parallel to the city from east to west. I forget which is the upper (north) side. Both streets have steep inclines. You don’t feel it so much when you are walking slowly, but there is quite a gradient in this medina. From the terrace of the riad, I thought that the area around the Boujloud gate was quite elevated.
Immediately after arriving, I was a bit confused by the chaos of the maze and the alleys, but both of these two main streets seemed to be very well maintained. Maybe I’m just used to it?
Sukh Dabbagheen (Tanneri)
The other famous street is “Tanned Skin Street”. It is on the bank of Fez side.
The street itself was well maintained, but there was a lot of touting, or rather, solicitation to see the place where leather is made. It is solicited even in Japanese. The Japanese encounter rate is also high to the extent that I think, “Where did you learn Japanese? Well, we did not go because it seemed to smell. Because there was not much interest in the souvenir, I did not buy it. I feel sorry that tourists do not shop, but…. When I travel, I prefer intangible things like experiences and delicious food. And photos.
This is an Islamic seminary built in the 14th century. Even infidels were allowed to enter here.
As always, Islamic seminaries are beautiful.
This place is a landmark because it is located in an easy to understand place in the very complicated medina. However, there are many people, so it was always crowded. It is not so wide even if it is called a square. It’s just a thick road for this area. In addition, only Muslims can enter the large Karawin Mosque facing this square.
I tried to go from Safarine Square to the next square, Rousif Square, but I got lost several times. I looked at the map, but it was still like this. It was really difficult, but it was fun. It was still morning, but it was very hot, so I took a rest in the shade of this square.
Gate of Boue Joulud
The symbol of Fez at the entrance of Medina. There are several gates in the old city of Fez, and this gate is the biggest one among them. But it’s not so big.
It’s a very beautiful gate, but I was a little disappointed that there were so many cars and people around it. I think the reason there are so many cars coming and going is because it is the main entrance to the medina and the gateway where public transportation and taxis stop. There is a lot of parking so cars could have done well here.
By the way, the petit taxi here seems to be the same red color as Casablanca.
It is said to have been built around the 14th century. We couldn’t go inside, but we went close to it. Because it was in a very complicated area, it was not easy to get there. Fortunately, the person who showed us the way was kind enough to make sure we got there. He happened to be a good person, but later, when I was lost going to the Gisza Gate, the person who talked to me was a terrible person and started going in the completely opposite direction. I was so upset. Don’t cheat the tourists!
Drinking my first beer in Morocco
After a quick stroll through the medina, we left the old town for a bit and went to the Boujlourde Garden near the new town. It was just lunch time here, so we decided to take a break for lunch. According to the guidebook, there was a restaurant on the park side that served alcohol. Since we were not going to take the car that day, we decided to go there to have a drink at noon.
Yay, I can actually drink beer!
The price was a little high, but I was happy to have my first drink in Morocco.
The meal was a hamburger.
And we also had wine. I forgot what it tasted like (laughs).
After lunch, we went to the Dar Batoha Museum near the Boujloud Gate at the entrance of the old town. To be honest, it was not so interesting, so I omit explanation.
And, I think the place where I did sightseeing was about this.
Security in the Medina
Now, I was worried about the security of Fez, a big city and a big tourist city, but I never felt scared, although it may be because I was very cautious. I think pickpocketing and theft are few. This may be a good point of Muslim area. There are many people who are familiar with each other, but their morals are very strong. Christian countries are much worse than Muslim countries.
However, there are many suspicious touts and people who offer to guide you. If you stop to look at the map, you will be approached quite often. Where do you want to go? and they talk to you in English. This is another thing to be careful of. Some people will tell you the right way to go, but some people will explain the completely different way. In fact, I was helped by such people. After all, you can get lost on the way. So I told them where I was going and asked them to guide me to some extent, but I was using Google Maps, so if they guided me on a suspicious road even a little, I said “Liar! I blackmailed him and drove him away. It is easy to drive away if you get used to it. As long as you show your intention well, you don’t have to worry.
Finally some wine with dinner on the second night!
So, where did we go for dinner? I was really thinking of walking around the medina to find a good restaurant. Moreover, I was going to make it near the riad thinking about the return trip. However, the touts are terrible everywhere and somehow can not be motivated to choose. So I decided to check it out on TripAdvisor. Then I found a French restaurant a few minutes walk from the riad, and it had a very good reputation. We decided to go here. I didn’t have a reservation, but I decided to go there anyway. If it didn’t work out, we just had to go back to Medina.
I came close to the restaurant by Google map navigation, but I couldn’t find any restaurant-like building at all. When I was at a loss, some local girls came to talk to me. When we told them the name of the restaurant, they told us that the restaurant was in the riad at the end of the alley on the right, and they led us to the entrance and called someone inside the riad. It seems to be a structure that you can’t see from the outside as well as the riad we are looking after.
Fortunately, we were told that we could have dinner with only one more group. But the restaurant opens at 8 p.m., so we were told to spend another half an hour in the riad. So I went to the terrace to see the sunset. I spent about 30 minutes there.
This riad was also very beautiful. It seemed to be a higher class than the riad where I am now. The place where I am now is also good, but I felt that this one was certainly a cut above. As for the terrace of the rooftop, it will be a military deployment here by dantotsu.
Then it was time for dinner. We sat down and looked at the menu. It was indeed authentic French food. It was my first experience on this trip. We were already tired of tagines and brochettes, and since we were at the end of our trip, we decided to splurge.
Here is the appetizer. “Poelée de Petite Seiches Aux Petites Pois Frais (Small Squid Poelee with Green Peas).
And here’s the main course. “Magret de Canard Roti, Lentilles Braisée, Sauce Gastrique Gingembre et Miel.
Both were very tasty. Here is the dessert. “Petite Créme Brulée Vanille, Quenelle de Mousse au Chocolat et Glace a la Poire. Sorry for the photo.
Oops, of course we ordered some wine. It was Meknes Wine, a local wine. It was a full-bodied wine with a strong sweetness, but it was great to drink and taste. This is a brand to keep in mind.
I enjoyed drinking and French food after a long time. The city is nice, and the crowd is fun, too.
After two nights in Fez, it was time for the last day. We will visit the Roman ruins in the suburbs of Meknes and then head for the capital Rabat. (To be continued)