Fez // photo diary
August 17, 2014
After a long, tiring and full of surprises bus ride we finally arrived in Fez, the city I was the most eager to see and feel from the whole Morocco. I was willing to freely get lost on the old streets of one of the largest and best kept medinas in the world, with more than 3,000 streets. I even had the recipe: downhill is to get to the core of the medina, uphill is for getting out of it. What I lacked was time, as we wanted to see so much in just 2 days. Sooo we had to hire a local guide – another long story about negociating failure from our european part – who showed us the main landmarks and points of interest of the city.
When we arrived in Fez it was the end of Ramadan, the last days, and everyone was preparing for the event, roaming the narrow streets in a search for new clothes. Young girls were walking around proudly with their new henna designs covering their hands. I was expecting to enter a traditional city, with women all covered with their mysterious veils and man wearing their long clothing, djellaba, I was expecting to feel like an intruder. However, I found out a community somewhere in between leaving the old customs and embracing the new ones. A mixture of Western-borrowed habits (as in terms of clothing, thinking and manners) with their own century-old lifestyle, which I thought to be a bit unpleasant at times for the simple reason that in my head they didn’t fit together. In this regard, I was a little bit disappointed.
On another note, I was relieved to notice that the people from Fez were less harrassing as the ones from Marrakesh. You could walk around the streets and look at the products without people trying to push you inside their shop and oblige you to buy something. The only rule was to not stare too much or touch too much the products. This doesn’t mean we didn’t have no incidents, as it was easy to see on our confused faces from mile that it was our first time there, passing as easy prey for any money maker on the street (although I passed as arabian once and unfortunately my lack of knowledge of their language sold me in 2 seconds. Inshallah.).
Anyway, with all the chaos and the randomness of the streets, I loved Fez and am willing to go back one day soon (but next time it’s going to be at a 5-stars hotel) and this time blend in with the rhythm of the old medina and wander freely around the streets. It’s amazing how many faces it can have and how many surprises it can hide. I randomly discovered a hidden narrow staircase behind a veil at a random street merchant clothing stand. I still wonder where it was leading to! We also discovered a lovely coffee shop for tourists, but hidden at the end of a dark narrow passage that was looking as a dead end.
Did I tell you how weird it all looks at the times when everything is closed? It can get even a bit creepy, as the streets are literally empty and everything looks deserted. Even the stray cats were having a siesta on shadowed stairs.
Oh, and I loved so much the straw roofs covering some of the streets and beautifully filtering the light…