Today we ventured across to Fes with plans to stop in Volubilis, Moulay Idriss and Meknes along the way. The walk around the 168 AD ruins of Volubulis was really interesting. The 42 hectare site included some wonderful mosaic tile flooring. The trip to Moulay Idriss (town named after the Arabic founder of Morocco) was somewhat brief before we ventured onto Meknes.
Meknes is known for its wonderful Kasbah gate – Bab Mansour. It is said to marvel any in Morocco and it certainly was impressive. We’d arranged to be back to meet our driver in 45 minutes so when the circuit walk that the tourist centre had said would take 20 minutes was venturing onto 45 it was no surprise that when we got back to our driver it was clear he’d been making a few calls to find out what to do about lost passengers! He looked very relieved when we made it back.
Fes is renowned for getting lost and it seemed it was even going to be a challenge to get into the walls of the Medina to our accommodation but with umpteen calls between the driver and our accommodation host we finally got there. Our accommodation was quite a jewel (aptly named Petit du Bijou) with it’s traditional layout compete with 1000 stairs, mosaic tiles and fountain. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great so we didn’t get to take advantage of the rooftop terrace.
The caretaker, Khalid, was a rather animated little man with a very loud and fast manner of speaking. He would not be convinced otherwise that Karen was not Arabic and so named her Fatima and so that’s who she became.
What a day…we finished with dinner in a very ornate Medina restaurant – Dar Hatim.
The next day was spent mainly with a guide touring the Medina, which included a short taxi trip to a bottle shop in the commercial centre (pretty seedy experience I must say). The quoranic school (medrasa) and tanneries were a real highlight to see.
Unfortunately there were some rather shady characters hanging around the streets near our accommodation so there was some reluctance to venture out too late into the night so we had a lovely afternoon stroll down one of the main streets of the Medina and an early dinner and felt content we’d had our fill of Fes – which could have been helped by the last minute purchase of nougat!