Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Morocco Trip, 2014, Part Two

 Our upstairs room in Marrakech
Our Hotel Foyer in Fez's Medina

We took the morning train from Marrakech to Fez, via Casablanca and Rabat.  The trains in Morocco provide comfortable travel at a reasonable rate for First Class. 

We saw some fabulous scenery on our day-long journey.  At the train station, a taxi took us to one of the gates near our hotel in the old part of town where the small alleys to not allow cars.

The small hotel--actually one of Fez's old and spacious houses--thrilled us.  We enjoyed our breakfasts on the rooftop, which also provided a splendid view of the old part of the city we eventually explored with a guide.

Our first evening in Fez, our hotel host led use through winding  alleyways to a hotel just outside the gate to the area close to the hotel.  

We enjoyed a splendid meal with excellent Moroccan Rose despite sitting under a picture of the restaurant owners and Ronald Reagan. In addition to the great dinner, the restaurant featured live and light traditional Moroccan music.

View of Old Fez From the Roof of Our Hotel

Photographs from 2.2, Fez

Our Room in Fez
The Tannery in Fez

On our second day, we took a tour of Old Fez with a rather spectacular guide, a Berger with whom we spoke a great deal on our tour.  And from whom we learned a lot about this amazing city and its history--not to mention contemporary politics.

We also enjoyed our fun room in the old section of Fez in the mix of the twisting and turning alleyways that characterize this medieval city navigated by donkeys, people, and carts of various configurations.

Internationally Recognized Metal Worker in Fez

Our poor guide learned rather quickly that, once again, we really 
had no interest in purchasing souvenirs.  But he did take us to some excellent souks.  

And because a certified--one can tell from the djebbela  (a hooded gown) and Aladin-like shoes--guide led us, the merchants and the
beggars did not hound us as much as they they did in Marrakech.  

Well, making a living in the Medina is not easy, and I rather enjoyed my name, Ali Baba.

The tour took us to the famous tannery, where the folks there greet
tourists with a sprig of spearmint, a posey to mitigate the acrid stench of the tanning bins featured in previous photographs.  In addition, though we did not buy much, looking at the various souks in the separate sections--from dresses to olives--of the marketplace is more than a little fun.  We did not, however, try camel meat this time around.  

On our final day in Fez, Linda and I enjoyed a day-long tour of places in the Atlas Mountains, from a waterfall in a small town to the Morocco's famous Cedar Forests.

Once our guide figured out that we did not want to buy things in the various souks in all the small towns, he took us to other places, including a lake and the forests, were we got to see a variety of birds and wonderful Moroccan Monkeys.

I enjoyed in particular the Cedar Forest.  The lack of tourists in this beautiful national park added to the excitement.  Moroccan families walked through the park and enjoyed picnics and, of course, feeding the quite tame monkeys.

Many like to have these animals climb on their shoulders.  We contented ourselves with watching them.  The monkeys are quite famous in fact.  The monkeys everyone hears about a Mount Gibraltar came from Morocco at the behest of Winston Churchill, an interesting bit of history.

I must look up the towns we visited, including one very European one that features hundreds of storks and one of the king's palaces.

We ended the tour with a simple and delightful outdoor meal.  

The next day, we traveled from Fez to where we stayed last year, in Kabila, near Tetouan.

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