Less than 15 hours later, it was already time to say goodbye to the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen and head to Fes (also spelled Fez). Fes is a northeastern Moroccan city that is often referred to as its cultural capitol. It is home of the oldest continuously operating university in the world. It is a World Heritage site, and its Medina is thought to be the largest car free zone in the world. Its leather tannery is also one of, or the, oldest in the world. Basically this place is built on thousands of years of rich culture and history.
We jumped right in, as we picked up our guide, Abdul, aka the Arab Sammy Davis, and took the streets. We first visited the Jewish quarter, and stood at the gates of the largest palace in Morocco. Sammy led us through the walk streets of the Medina, which were teeming with action.
Each area had its own specialty from lanterns to sweets in the labyrinth of 10,000 alley ways. We were guided with precision and expertise through back hallways which we would have never ventured down on our own. We ended up in the most hauntingly beautiful antique shop called, Talisman Antiques.
As we walked through the hallway, lined with intricately carved doors, and into the courtyard, i felt overcome with emotion. It was as though I could feel all of my ancestors who had hammered the silver medallions, and inscribed into the goat skin pages of the Torah. We spent nearly an hour enchanted by these ancient tokens of the past, learning of their decent and the families that brought them to existence, while sipping on sweet mint tea. We left the store with a ring each, mine from an ancient Berber tribe dating 800 years ago, and Milo’s with an onyx stone inscribed with a signature.
We continued on, although we were starving, and tired, and sweaty, and hot, but there was so much more to see. Abdul took us to the best loom shop to buy traditional kaftans, and to the world’s oldest leather tannery to look for slippers and bags.
After we had scoured the streets, walking through the old medina, and the older medina, it was finally time to unwind at our hotel, Palais Faraj.
What an absolute treat this place was! A real palace. The gorgeous tile work was awe inspiring, and each room had such unique charm. I felt transported through time, as an ancient Moroccan princess, cascading down the empty halls and gazing through the stained glass windows. After day 3 of non stop travel, we were too tired to even climb one set of stairs to the restaurant above. So in true royal fashion, we ordered room service, and what a feast it was!! Chicken Tagine with lemon and olives, seven vegetable cous cous, honey soaked sweet peppers, and cucumber salad. There was eggplant, and roasted carrots, and broth, and olive tapenade.
We slept like babies, until the sweet sting of jet lag got us at 3am. Nothing some spooning, and a midnight meditation couldnt fix. One breakfast at the palace, and on the road to Marrakesh we go.