A week ago, I landed on Dutch grounds after a quick visit to my country of origin.
Sorry, country of half origin. You see, I’m of Moroccan and German descent.
I’ve been to Agadir and Marrakesh
a few years ago, so when my workfriend asked me to join her to Fes,
I booked myself a ticket on the same plane and started packing.
Fes is the second largest city of Morocco
and one of the 4 ‘King Cities‘. I was very curious to see the
difference between the touristic and popular Moroccan cities I’ve visited before and the old,
cultural heritage of Fes. And boy, was I in for a treat.
Ever since we set foot on Moroccan land, I noticed the genuine friendliness of the locals.
Although the men of this town were a bit too friendly. I seems like the local
men had never seen two European women travelling together, because all 5 days they kept staring at us as if we were Michael Jackson, or some other kind of outer world attraction.
It didn’t really help that I have an Arabic look, on every corner there
were whispers of “I love you”, “I love your hair” or “You have Moroccan face”.
Add up me having the bad habit of smoking and dressing ‘hipster/cool’ with rosé pink hair to have me feeling like I was the most interesting thing to watch on the streets of Fes.
Luckily there were only kind words and compliments, except for one crazy bumb who kicked my legs crazy hard for no reason. Later on when we were
having lunch on a cute, little terrace, he came at me again, pointing his finger and screaming for a cigarette.
Luckily the staff handled it and pushed him right back on the street.
He certainly lost my compassion to help him out, no sir.
The minute we got to our riad, a traditional Moroccan, beautifully build
bed & breakfast, it started raining. The sky turned grey and there was
even some thunder and lightning. At least the universe is consistent
with giving me rain on every trip I go on, even to tropical destinations. I think it smells my hate for rain. Of course I hold on to my own tradition of stuffing my suitcase so full, that
I can’t even buy souvenirs. I always pack way too much stuff, but I just feel the need to have a huge selection of summer dresses, skirts, shirts and jackets with me,
so I’m always prepared for every weather type. Well, I wasn’t really prepared
for Moroccan rain and cold. When we checked the weather forecast it was supposed to be 18 degrees with sun. When we arrived it was like 13 degrees, without sunshine.
I felt like I was back in Holland again. You would think that it’s always hot in Africa right?
Wrong! Even Morocco has wintertime and rainy weather, we found out the hard way.
Luckily I had packed 2 sweaters and some jackets and vests,
so I just layered up until I felt warm again.
Traditional riads also don’t have any heating and are build out of stone,
which is nice and cool in the summertime, when the temperature can get up to 40 degrees, but are super cold in February. We did have a heater in our room and in the dining area. But it was
still so cold, that the staff walked around in winterjackets and hats, which was a weird and somewhat uncosy sight. Thank god the water in the shower was nice and hot, so we could warm up a little
for the next day. Plus I always get super cranky if water is cold or half warm,
I like to shower so hot that my skin almost peels off. I know it’s bad for me, but so is smoking.
Leave me alone.
When we woke up the next day, the sun was up. We wandered around
the alluring, old medina, guided by a friendly local older man and the
lovely rays of sun immediately made it feel like 10 degrees warmer. It felt like going back into time,
with men on donkeys racing through the narrow streets and camelheads hanging on every corner. The strong smell of spices, locals trying to sell their
merchandise with a little bit of aggression and colorful slippers lined up,
made our afternoon feel authentic Moroccan. Evening came and I wanted wine, I always want wine, especially on vacation. I almost cried when the hotelmanager told us “Mint tea is the alcohol of Morocco”.
Sure I love mint tea, but mint tea definitely doesn’t taste like wine!
I told my friend to grab a cab to a modern and huge shopping center,
where supposedly, they sold alcohol. It’s funny, Morocco has
many different faces. Agadir is a popular hotspot for it’s amazing beach and
has a lot of modern clubs and cocktailbars, it’s very touristic.
Fes is a different kind of touristic,
it attracts more cultural visits for it’s impressive and traditional architecture.
Alcohol is very hard to get, most restaurants and bars don’t sell it.
When we arrived at the mall, we were pleasantly surprised by the
many cool and modern shops. First thing we did was enter a cute underwear shop,
where I bought for 150 euro worth of awesome pj’s and undies.
(all within 10 minutes) Moroccan ladies definitely know what to wear
at night and underneath their clothes. After our shopping spree we searched the entire supermarket, which was as big as a football field, maybe even bigger, for the wine isle. When I asked an
employee where the alcohol section was, he told me to follow him and guided me outside
the supermarket, into an almost hidden liquor store, tucked away in a corner. I was never happier with the purchase of a bottle of wine, also one of my bad habits. Leave me alone. We also found a restaurant where they
served alcohol, it didn’t matter that we were the only guests there
(apparently it was off season), there was wine…score!
So what have we learned from this story? Always bring your own wine.
I’m kidding. Fes is an amazing and beautiful, old city and definitely
worth a visit when you’re in Morocco. Stay tuned for more Moroccan tales, as I bring you to
Chefchaouen, another lovely city, which is completely painted blue!