I love a map and I love a medina and I love a colour coded ( blue for souks , green for gardens , purple for palaces etc ) series of walks and I love being in 30+ degree heat.. and I love the fact that when John and I put them all together ,we had chaos ..of the African kind .
I challenge anyone to go to Fez and not get lost . What a city – we loved it .It is rougher round the edges than Marrakech , but has none of the hassle factor .Jean Claude, our Riad owner and fountain of all Fez knowledge told us The Medina is 45 hectares with a thousand streets ( think alleys ) ,and I’m pretty dam sure we walked down 999 of them .Today is their Eid and so yesterday in preparation ,there were sheep everywhere ..being dragged into carts,upstairs into houses, carried on shoulders , just like lambs to the slaughter .Today there will be a lot of dead sheep , a lot of their blood ( every Muslim family cuts the throat of one sheep for each male ) and the burning of their carcasses in the shells of old mattresses .
But back to the city .We stayed in a beautiful Riad with the courtyard decorated in similar colours to Yves St.Laurent’s Majorelle Gardens .THAT blue has to be my favourite colour in the world , and it is everywhere in Fez ..in the ceramics,the tiles,the fountains ( but ,not the sheep ) .We ate in the most beautiful cafes and restaurants.Cafe Clock ,all arty and boho with a roof terrace overlooking The Medina. Here I sampled my first Camel -Burger , speciality of the house -it reminded a bit of chorizo to look and taste .Then Fez Cafe in Le Jardins des Biehn, which was like being in a cross between fairyland and The Palm House in Kew Gardens – all pretty lights and palms and streams.Then The Ruined Garden ,which once was a rubbish dump and is now all mosaics and fountains and plants and nooks and crannies and hidden tables and wonderful food .Then last night we went to a place so hidden ,Dar Roumana , they had to send a local to pick us up and walk us there and back , without Abdi ,we would never have found it and would still be walking around now . This was the only place that served us up a Classy Cock- the others were all Casablanca Beer and Moroccan wine. Yet another wonderful roof terrace and one of the most beautiful dining rooms I have ever eaten in .
Then this morning we were up at 4.30 to be greeted by Jean Claude with coffee and freshly fried pancakes before we left to get the 7am’ let’s see the sunrise as the pilot comes out of the cockpit to help the cabin-crew push all the bags into the overhead lockers ‘Ryanair flight .Give them credit ,there was no hard-sell on the scratch-cards and we landed at Stansted to that fanfare of trumpets ,25 minutes early !
After reading the above through ,i would like to add …
1.We didn’t just eat and drink ( although to be honest in did take up a lot of the time ) .
2.We viewed the tanneries .Never seen ( or smelt ) anything like it .Made my bit of batik at work seem quite tame
3.The pilot helped with the bags before the plane took off ( in case you were worried )
4. We strolled in the beautiful Jnane Sibil Jardins ..once we found them .Although it did take a kind Spanish guy and his Korean girlfriend to lead us to them