Azilal & Fez, Morocco

Azilal 

After waiting at the top of the waterfalls for almost three hours we filled a taxi (it turns out a taxi won’t take you unless the taxi is full as they charge per person!) and headed to our next stop Azilal. There’s not actually that much in Azilal but we had to make an overnight stay in the town before heading to Fes by bus the next day.

Miles and I arrived in Azilal in the early evening and it must be said it was a bit of a strange experience. Azilal is completely off the tourist track and therefore we felt abit like an exhibition to the locals who were very interested in us. Even more peculiar, we did not see a single woman the whole time we were there which made me feel even more uncomfortable! We spent the night in a hotel just off the main street and had a very relaxed evening in the hotel’s (empty) restaurant watching a Moroccan soap opera on the television.

The owner of the hotel was very friendly and was obviously pleased to have us stay. At our table were presented with a glass of fermented sour milk each and a plate of dates. We learnt that this was a traditional Moroccan gesture of welcome and was seen as rude to refuse. As I’m sure you can imagine, sampling both of these delights was an experience….

Fez

After 12 hours spent on a very dodgy bus we arrived in the ancient walled city of Fez.

12 hours of luxury on the way to Fez

This was probably our favourite place we visited on the trip. The city dates back to the 9th century and has a real medieval feel about it. It’s like walking back in time. We loved Fez as, unlike Marrakesh, we weren’t hassled quite so much and we definitely felt like we were experiencing a more authentic area of Morocco.

The ancient streets of Fez

I’ve read quite a few pieces online about Fez which says that the city has a serious crime issue and that tourists should be constantly aware of pickpockets and thieves. We genuinely didn’t encounter anything like this and had a fantastic time.

During our stay in the city we spent lots of time wondering around the maze like streets and enjoying all the wares on offer – some of which are definitely not for the faint hearted!

The freshest chicken in town
Dates on dates on dates

Camel head anyone?

We also visited a couple of the mosques including the Glaoui Palace.

Glaoui Palace

Fez is extremely well known for its leather goods and the city has a whole area, the Monlay Abdellah Quarter which is dedicated to tannery’s and shops selling homemade leather products. We were approached by a little boy (who really couldn’t have been much older than 10) who offered to take us on tour of the tanneries for a small fee. We agreed to his rates and he took us through the winding archways up onto the roof of the tannery where we watched the leather hides being washed, stretched and dyed. It was fascinating so see – the smell however I cannot even describe, it took a while to forget it. The little boy was a fantastic tour and I’m pleased we agreed to let him show us around.

Tannery in Fez

After feeling like we understood more about life in Fez we headed to Café Clock where we sat out on the roof and enjoyed a delicious dinner – Miles even decided to order their famous camel burger which he said was fantastic.

Camel  burger at Cafe Clock

Whilst in Fez we decided to treat ourselves one night and headed to the five star hotel – Riad Fez, where we enjoyed a bottle (or two) or Moroccan wine sitting out by the pool in the courtyard.

Riad Fez

 

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