Fondest memory: We took a very interesting half day's tour around the medina with Salim, an official tour guide, who we had hired through the tourist office. I usually prefer to explore cities independently, though in a place like Fes, a guide can be a good idea, as the medina, with over 10,000 small streets and alleys, can be a little tricky to navigate on your own. I doubt there even exists a proper map.
The previous evening, when we were walking in the Ville Nouvelle, Salim had approached us - very politely - and asked us where we were from and what we thought of Fes. He showed us his official tour guide card and offered to show us around the medina the following day. We were a little wary after our experiences in Tangier, so we said we'd think about it. He said he'd be sitting at the Cafe Renaissance, near the tourist office, the following morning.
We were still a little worried about being ripped off, but as we felt we needed a guide to properly explore the medina, we went along to the tourist office to hire someone for half a day. The man there asked us to wait a minute. When he returned, who was with him? Salim of course! He was a bit annoyed at us for not trusting him! He explained to us that the tourist office would not use him again until all the other guides had been given a tour. I imagine the tourist oiffice also got a commission, whereas he would avoided all this if we had gone straight to him. I blame our experiences in Tangier....
He did give a very good half day tour of the medina, though he spoke very quickly and it was sometimes difficult to take in all he said. The cost was 120 Dirham (about 12 Euro).
Fondest memory: During our tour of the medina we visited a couple of traditional workshops where we got see and meet to some of the craftsmen at work. The first one we visited was in the corner of a funduq, somewhere in a back corner of the medina, a place I'd have difficulty finding again. A man and his two sons were busy at work creating small, colorful tiles for use in mosaics. They didn't mind us at all coming in to look around, though we didn't get to speak to them as we had no Arabic and they spoke no French or English.
The man gave us two of the small tiles, in the shapes of a star and a triangle, which, though probably worthless, are worth far more to me than any of the things we haggled for later on in our trip. It seemed strange that the boys had to work at such a young age, but this is something very common in Fes. Many skills are passed down from generation to generation.
We also visited a wood scribers shop, slightly more "up market" (if such a term can be applied to Fes?) than the mosaic place. It was very refreshing to be ignored by the men and his sons working there, something that rarely happened in some of the more touristy shops in the medina. They were far more interested in their work, than in trying to sell us anything.
See a medersa (Islamic student dormitory)
Favorite thing: Medersas are located throughout each district in the medina. There are over 300 distics, thus there are 300 medersas as well as 300 bakeries, baths, wells, mosques, and other necessities. Each district has one of every necessity. Anyway, a medera is like a dormitory for students studying Islam. There's a well for drinking and cleaning, and then rooms for sleeping. The architecture is really nice inside.
- Adventure Travel
"Curtidores" Where leather is treated
Favorite thing: If you go to Fez you should go to the "curtidores", here you can see how the workers clean the skin of the animals, tint them and leave it to dry at sun. After with the leathers they do shoes, bags, etc. You can find it inside the Zoco.
Favorite thing: The currency unit of Morocco is the Dirham (Dh). 100 centimes make up 1 Dh. Bank notes are in 20, 50, 100 and 200 Dh denominations and coins come in 1, 5 and 10 Dh and 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes.
Favorite thing: As I was trying to read my guidebook as we walked, I often bumped into donkeys. They seemed to be everywhere, especially as you wander further into the medina. It can be embarrassing :)