Monday, 25 May 2015

Fez and an end to our Morrocan visit

Sunday we departed Marrakech to drive 421 kms to Fez, we did not arrive until late afternoon 1830 hrs, dinner in hotel and then settled for the night. Monday we did the city tour of Fez. I feel Fez has a little charm. Fez is known as the textile capital of Morrocco what is interesting about Fez is the medina.
The medina is situated in the centre of Fez and is a maze of narrow streets, shops, alley ways, schools and homes. Apparently there is over 12,000 little streets and alleyways, very easy to get lost in the labyrinth of pathways, due to this, we all had a guided tour throughout the medina. No cars are allowed, only donkeys and mules. When a donkey is coming everyone calls,  Belack," Belack"to warn people to move to the side.

Overlooking Fez from the hill top.

The foyer of our hotel, where we were served mint tea.

Walking through the medina.

Back of Jenny and Neiks heads in the medina.
Dark alleyways
Men making copper pots.
Inside the medina, every now and then you come out into a small square.
A mule transporting goods.
The loads the mules carry look very heavy. At least the mules and donkeys in Fez are better cared for. 
Apparently an American woman saw the plight of the donkeys and mules and donated a large amount of money to build a vetinary clinic for sick mules and donkeys. The service is free and run by volunteers 
Walking through the medina is beautiful sculptured Morrish inspired artwork.
Gorgeous tiles
More donkeys
Gorgeous plates, hand painted with metal work.
Carpets on display and for sale
More art and craft.
Decorative carvings in the prayer area.
During our visit in the medina we went to a leather shop and seen where the leather skins were prepared on entry we were given a Moroccan gas mask......a piece of mint due to the stench of dead skins. A very interesting process, but what harsh working conditions.
The Moroccan leather is one of the softest that I have felt.
The grey coloured vat pots for the skins is actually pigeon poo, that is what the smell is.
The different coloured dyes.
The skins that have been dyed, drying in the sun.
Finished products, leather bags etc.
Next we visited a silk shop and witnessed women working on the looms.
What would a tour be like without a visit to the gates of a royal palace.
This concludes our Moroccan adventure, I feel that it was an experience, but wondering why Morrocco is becoming number one in a tourist destination. My expectations of Morrocco was bright colours, exotic spices, traditional dress and amazing fabrics and handicrafts. What we saw was decadence in shrines, mosques and palaces and then extreme poverty with people living in mud huts, tending their few meager sheep and goats. Even the city dwellers struggle, the slums are hidden from the public eye behind high walls. Many comments from our tour group were, once visited twice never. I am pleased that we visited Morrocco to cross it off our bucket list, but also feel that it is not a country that I would return too.

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