...or Fez, if you must. Yes, it's where the little hats were made. Not so much anymore, but the name stuck.
Back across the middle Atlas to the city of Fes.
It was a beautiful ride, with lots of snow. There's even a European-style ski resort up there, and it's surrounded by an unexpected pine forest.
We were meeting a group of our friends in Fes. Original plans of spending the whole time together in Morocco went awry, so we ended up hanging out mostly in Fes. Which was fine. Fes was a great place.
Like Marrakech, it had a beautiful old médiéval medina, with lots of twisty narrow streets and souks.
It was a bit smaller than Marrakech and I just got an all around better vibe from it.
The ancient city gate.
The souk was easy to navigate. You go down the hill and the stink of the tanneries hit you, and that's where all the leather good can be had. Go up the hill, and you get carpets and food.
And did we ever.
We found a lovely, funky cafe called Clock.
After a long, ravenous lunch I decided that I would probably move in if they let me. Eventually, it was decided that the cooking class that I wanted to take (I try to take one wherever I may roam) would most definitely be in the kitchens here.
Everything we ate so far had been good, but this was a step above.
The staff was as nice as could be as well...
and there was a Camel burger on the menu. It tasted a bit like mutton.
More about the cooking class later.
Outside the grand palace, we found a souk for the locals. It was packed with locals and much more fun that the main souk in the medina. You are expected to haggle here. We had an Arabic speaker in our group (sneaky), two Chinese speakers, and four of us spoke French, and we all spoke English...so in between the 5 of us we could communicate what kind of price the locals were getting, and what kind of price we were willing to commit to. You know you are going to be paying more than the locals. It's not a tourist tax per say, but more of a "you are wealthy enough to travel here, you can damn well afford to pay a couple bucks more for that" tax. Some of the handiwork was astounding. Embroidery on handmade shoes, leather bags and belts. The shoes ended up being bargained for less than $20 US for a pair, and some really nice handbags for about $50. It's a great place to go shopping. The souk ended up spitting us out into the old Jewish Quarter, which is really no longer of anything. We found a synagog Aben Danan, and for about $2, a very old man was happy to show us around. Judaism in North Africa is very slim at this point. This used to be a thriving community all over Morocco, but the only thing he could show us were pictures of cemeteries and ruins of synagogs in different parts of Morocco. Outside, the palace. It was pretty damn opulent.