Finally, the last part of our Morocco trip – Fez.
In short words – I hated Fez. Absolutely hated 75% of the time we spent there. Thankfully our stay was very short and we were soon on our way back to Marrakech.
It all started with us not getting a bus ticket out of Chefchouen as planned. We reached Fez a bit late (around 8.30 pm) after it was dark. When we entered the Medina, we couldn’t find our Riad. The Medina is kind of difficult to navigate as all streets look the same and Google maps doesn’t work that well in there. A few young boys started coming and asking if we needed help with the direction. We very well knew that they would ask for money, so we said – no thank you we will figure it out. But one of the guys was so persistent that he just didn’t leave us. I even shouted at him to leave us alone, but it didn’t budge him. We ignored him and went our way but he smartly kept leading us and behaving as if he was showing us the way. Finally when we reached the Medina he started asking for money. We just didn’t pay and why should we? After this the Riad caretaker said that our room had some hot water issue and he would transfer us to a different place. I had lost it by then and started getting very frustrated. We had put so much effort in searching for a perfect Riad and room which would look good in photos and there we were going through so much! Having left with no option we went to this other Riad, but the owner there was nice and he let us chose a room of our choice, gave us free food and made us feel comfortable. That kind of calmed me down. For the next day we asked for a guide who would take us around Medina and show is different places. Again I don’t think that was a good decision. The guide was just taking us to places where we had to spend money instead if telling us the history about the city. We felt he was more of a shopping guide instead of a tourist guide and we ended up spending a couple of hundred euros which we wouldn’t have done had we gone out on our own. On top of it he kept touching me every few minutes as if he was my closest friend. I really didn’t like that but since it wasn’t in inappropriate places and just my arms, I let it go.. It just didn’t work that well.
But to be fair, there were a few moments that I thoroughly enjoyed. After our ‘tourist guide trip’, we walked out of the Medina to the ruins called Merenid Tombs. The view of the whole city especially during sun set was breathtaking. Even though there were a few hawkers who were persistently asking you to buy things, it was just calmer and nice. We sat there for good few minutes watching the sun set and eating dried fruits bought from the Medina. The next day we ventured out on our own and explored some hidden alleyways. The doors and alleys of Fez look antique. We managed to click some nice photos since it was a Friday and most of the Souks were closed. It was a lot more calmer and we loved it.
Just because my experience wasn’t good, doesn’t mean that Fez is not great. We met a guy on the way who said that he liked Fez better than Marrakech as it looked more ancient. Raga liked the city, but it was just me.
It’s pretty easy to reach Fez as there is a direct train from Marrakech. We took the train out of Fez to Marrakech and the journey was long but comfortable. Bring a book as you will easily get bored. I made a mistake of letting Raga borrow my book for a bit and he kind of got hooked. The next thing I know was – we were taking turns to read and fighting over 5 extra minutes.
Where to stay
Even after all the weird experience, our stay at Haj Palace Riad was comfortable. The owner let us stay there for the next day as well, which kind of helped as we didn’t have to pack again and change places. The decor was a bit more funky and not like traditional mosaic tiles that you would see all around but good.
Things to do
- Definitely visit the tanneries. Raga bought a leather jacket from their shop and it looks so fancy on him. Fez has the largest and oldest tanneries in Morocco
- The old Madrassa is beautiful. The one in Marrakech is much bigger but architecture wise both are similar in style.
- Visit Merenid Tombs during sun set
- Again the souks in Fez el-bali are great and you would go mad with the options available. We had some really great dried fruits, bought a nice scarf and some more stuff.
That’s about it really! This is probably the end of our Morocco journey but there are more trips planned and we will continue sharing our experience. I will leave you with some more photos..