Fes, and beyond...

Written by  Thursday, 29 May 2014 20:14
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We woke early in Fes. Minarets singing, traffic still passing, and dogs still barking. Ooh, the birds singing too, which drowned the traffic out a bit, and was much more pleasant. After a little uncertainty about the time, all the clocks have reset to British time, we pottered around getting up.

We had agreed to meet a guide at 10, but were not willing to pay his asking price without some haggling. Originally he wanted 400dm for a medina tour, and 300dm for a taxi tour of the other areas of interest. That's nearly £70 for a day of tours!

Our friend with the moped was here with a guide. He had an 'official' identity tag in his pocket. Must be kosher. They still want 400dm and aren't willing to budge, so we set off on foot. The previous evenings internet research said a few years ago 150dm was acceptable.

A short distance down the road we hailed a petit taxi. 22dm later £2.20 we're at the medina, and now a tour is a snip at 250dm. We're not big on haggling so we see it that we haggled from 400 down to 300 including taxis. We will have to try real haggling soon though!

Hassan took us into the medina, very chatty, pointing things out, and telling us what we would see. (Sorry, just nearly drowned the iPad in coffee)

After a while he is rushing ahead, always pulling us on. We went into a mosque to see the decoration for 10dm each. Amazing carving in Cedar and plaster. Lots of beautiful doors and enterances.

We began the tour by explaining we were travelling by motorbike, therefore we would not be shopping, there is nowhere to put it. We saw weaving, and the tannery, cedar carving, bakeries, sheep skins being washed in a filthy river. We also entered an Italian's house and cultural centre, and discovered it was quieter there in the Medina than at our campsite!

In the tannery he was offered another tour for after us, and he quickly lost interest. The tour picked up pace. It was time to find some lunch. He wanted to take us to a traditional cafe/restaurant, but we said we'd find our own.

He wasn't happy about that and the price was suddenly 300dm, but we stood our ground. We didn't buy anything, he was a long way from the blue gate where we found him and would need a taxi... Sorry mate, your tour, your finishing place, our price. Win #2?

We were abandoned in the middle of the medina, we retraced our steps, buying bread on the way as we couldn't find a cafe yet and were rather peckish! Near the entrance with directions from passing kids we found food. We just wanted cheap, a local place with chicken or sausage in bread was perfect. Water and tea and we are well fed and happy. 38dm, I think we were fleeced by local standards as drinks totalled 17dm, but at less that £4 we were quite happy! Win #3.

A taxi ride later we are back at the campsite. Last night there were eventually 3 families including us. One German with mum, dad and 2young kids, the other French or Italian. I spoke a little with the German couple, but not the others. Tonight there were 4 other vans.

Two French, one unknown and an Italian biker, who I suspect was run ragged by his 'local friend'. He abandoned his bike with a pannier open after walking the campsite several times with and without his helmet on. He returned with food shopping, I tried to offer help, but my Italian is awful now and he was from Calabria (I think, and spoke dialect, not pure Italian) and quite frazzled!

Another noisy night on site and we were up early for what turned out to be a long day on the bikes. There is no camping on this road, and we couldn't get off the road to wild camp. I'll tell you later about roadworks, and wrong turns!

P.s Jamie Buckley, there were shepherds a plenty, and I just want you to know that this is how I picture your dad. All day in the sun in long robes and a dishcloth with his herd if sheep, and maybe the odd goat? ;)