Helen goes to Morocco Day 7 – Fez

Today was a a Fez-tastica day in Fez. We started off with a with a quick stop at the Royal Palace to admire the gates and then we headed up to Borj Sud for an overview of the city. From there we headed to a tile and pottery studio before heading into the medina for a walk through where we stopped off at Cherratine Madrasa, a textiles “workshop” before stopping for lunch during Friday prayers and then it was off to Chouara Tannery before we went back to the hotel. One of the great things about today was all the gates that we either drove through or walked through. I quite liked the Gates of Fez.

As promised yesterday, here is my “birthday cake”. It looked better than it tasted but still it was katafi pastry and pistachio goodness.

The Royal Palace was just a short drive from our hotel and oh the gates/doors! Such detail and also what a job to polish! I would have liked to have spent some more time exploring the gardens here but before you knew it, the time was up and it was on to the next stop.

Borj Sud was a lovely stop and out of all the various places on the tour that we would stop to look at a city for an overview, this was probably one of my favourites. The fort construction was quite interesting to see up close. As were the birds that were nesting/roosting in the scaffold holes.

Next up was the tile and pottery studio, this was very interesting and I think my eyes were stretched wide open especially for the tile and mosaic parts of the tour. I appreciate the skill and the technique in the pottery painting but most of what I saw did not tickle my fancy like the tile work does.

Just outside the Tile & Pottery studio was this magnificent window grill! Check it out, it is a lyre!!!!

We were then driven a short distance from the tile and pottery studio to an entrance into the Medina which we would now explore on foot. It was getting quite close to the start of Friday prayers so most of the shops were already closed up which was both disappointing and good. Disappointing as the other members of our group who had not gone for a walk through the Medina like Mum & I had done yesterday didn’t get to see the hustle and bustle. But good because without all the people and with most of the shops closed, it made it really easy to appreciate the construction and layout of the Medina. We stopped in at a textiles workshop that was interesting but like many “co-ops”, “workshops” etc that we would visit, it was too over stocked with goods that made you really question if all these goods were really “hand made”, “unique” etc etc. Also perhaps due to having a level of textile awareness, you can also look at the loom they are telling you that is getting used to produce said goods and then said goods and well just nod your head and accept what you are getting told….

Cherratine Madrasa was just marvellous, by no means the largest or most ornate of the old madrasas in Fez but oh I just adored it. The worn tiles in the court yard, the artistry of the construction and finishes, the open courtyard roof and of course the cat 😀

Chouara Tannery was interesting to see. It’s probably one of the most familiar sights from tourist info about Morocco. The colour variations in the tannery vats was just stunning, the smell was just as expected and the obligatory stem of mint that you were given to help mask the smell was cute. As it was a Friday afternoon though, there was not much work getting done in the vats. Next time… After we had looked at the vats from above, we were walked down through floor after floor of leather goods. I did get a mustard yellow belt which I quite adore and a leather pouf. I tried on jackets for fun but I’m not a leather jacket kind of person :D.

After a busy morning and afternoon, we retired to the hotel for a wee rest. However, keen to keep exploring, the Motherships and I along with Michelle headed up to Jnan Sbil Gardens for a walk. This was a very lovely garden walk and it was interesting to see the diversity of plants. In particular, I adored the palm avenue as well as some of the very old gum trees. I would quite like to go back to this garden at various times of the year to see how it changes in the seasons. It was also amazing to see the sheer number of people using the gardens.

As you can see it, it really was a Fez-tastic day 😀

Tonight is our last night in Fez and tomorrow we head to Volubilis and Meknes.

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