The next morning after a nice breakfast, we hopped on the bus for a tour of Fez. Another modern city with hundreds of years of history. After a short ride, we came to the entrance to the medina (suq) in Fez, one of the oldest and largest in the world. 9700 alleyways making up over 47 miles of shop after shop after shop…..absolutely a-maze-ing!
Our guide for the day grew up in this maze and without him, we surely would have been lost for days! After trekking around in this maze, we ended up in a carpet factory where they tried very hard to sell us beautiful hand woven silk carpets. They were beautiful, but very expensive.
After the attempt to empty our wallets at the carpet factory and looking at some beautiful Moroccan architecture, we were treated to another delicious Moroccan lunch.
After lunch, we were each given a couple of sprigs of mint leaves. We were wondering why until we entered into a viewing area of the famed tannery inside the medina. In production since the 12th century, over 780 workers processed camel, sheep, cow, and goat hides. The stench was almost unbearable. A short whiff of the mint leaves helped to alleviate the odor every few minutes… It was really smelly!
After the tour, before we were led out of the maze, I wanted to purchase a Fez. Our guide took me to a small shop down an alley where he thought I could get a Fez. I haggled over the price and was ready to buy when my guide stepped in and started yelling at the salesman in Arabic. I guess he was ripping me off and I didn’t know it. He grabbed me by the arm and took me to another shop where I ended up buying two for less than half the price of the first guy!
We then boarded our bus and were taken to view a Jewish cemetery. This is a Muslim country, but has a large Jewish population as well, and the two religions get along and flourish here.
Then we were bussed back to our hotel. On our own for the evening, we decided to take a stroll down the street to see what trouble we could get into. We found a shopping mall with a liquor store with a nice selection of wines. Although we are in a Muslim country, tourists can buy wine – Moroccan wine, from the French who planted the grapes during the occupation in the 1700’s. Actually not bad wine. On our way back to the hotel we stopped in a street side café for a bite to eat. Again, the food was simply delicious, even the olives which I am not too fond of.