The Call To Fes

It is snowing where I am today, so it’s a perfect day to snuggle with a cup of hot tea inside a warm room while downloading pictures and catching up with mail. As the snowflakes gather in clusters against the window above my sofa, let me now take you on a tour around Fes.

A Moroccan visit should always involve a stay at a riad, which is typically a multi-storied home turned into a B&B. More on the riad that I choose on this trip in another entry, but this is a picture taken from my room as I look down into the courtyard (does the jacket look familiar? It should as it is from Look 6!):

If the riad had not sent someone to meet me at the airport I doubt I would have been able to find the place on my own on this first day here. Once the taxi deposits me at a parking lot not too far inside the gates of the medina, all the alleys become challenging to maneuver on foot with hardly any street signs. In fact, under all the scaffolding inside the medina, it is difficult to not imagine what awaits me beyond these dimly lit, narrow paths especially after dark:

All the brown doors are unmarked, but step inside the correct one and a riad opens up like an oasis in the middle of a desert of unknowns. Such are some of the mysteries of Morocco. I can’t say it is a romantic as it is an enigmatic town upon first impression. Anyway, I run from room to room inside the riad, unpack a bit, then after the breakfast on the terrace, it is time to get lost inside the old walls.

Without a map in hand, it’s enough for the time being to mark the location of my riad near the Bab Boujloud, which is one of the main doors to the medina. It consists of a main arch

and two lateral arches decorated in blue (the color of Fes) and green zellige, which is enamel covered terra cotta tilework. As you will see in pictures to come, the geometrical tilework is found everywhere, from walls to floors to table tops.

It’s not a good idea to mark yourself by landmarks such as storefronts because once closed, all the alleys look alike. Instead, it’s better to orientate yourself by way of the babs,

or minaret,

or mosques, which by the way as a non-Muslim I’m not allowed to enter. I hear there’s only one mosque I can tour and that’s in Casablanca, but that’s for another day…

Anyway, just outside my riad’s door, I am already in full overdrive photographically speaking. Here are some scenes from the streets:

Even just observing people going about in their daily activities is interesting, in terms of  their interactions with each other and ways of dressing–in fact by day’s end I am dying to get a custom made djellaba:

And that’s just the first few hours here; I’ve definitely heard the call to Fes. Can’t wait to show you more in the days to come.

1 Comment

  1. Limo Hire

    This is a great post, something i have been trying with a couple of sites and had moderate success so far. A couple of things in this post that have given me a few ideas to try so thanks for that.

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