Morocco: Day 4

Hi Everyone
It’s back to copy and paste for this blog. The internet has been horrible in our hotel and we are going further into the desert part of Morocco tomorrow. As you know, I go to places where problems like this are common. Will publish when I can.
We all met for breakfast at 7 AM. Love the coffee. Almost like real Turkish coffee. Thick and strong. Just the way I love it.
After breakfast it was time to board the bus and go to the ancient Medina of Fes. Let me remind you what a Medina is. A Medina is the true City that has existed for thousands of years. We were dropped off after a five minute bus ride and met our local guide. His name was Hassan. He was born and raised in the Medina. Great guide. So funny and honest. He could not lead us for more than one minute before someone would recognize him and stop to talk. No cars are allowed in the Medina. A real maze of winding narrow streets and alleyways. The Medina was also named by UNESCO as a world heritage site and is said to be the worlds largest car free urban area. Two hundred and fifty thousand people make the Medina their home. If the population is not dramatically decreased, then the Medina will eventually collapse. The problem facing UNESCO is that no one wants to leave. We walked and waked passing by food and other stalls that sold everything imaginable. A true feast of the senses. We eventually wound our way to a large carpet store where we we should some beautiful carpets made by hand in the Berber and Moroccan style. I was tempted to buy one, but Olivia pulled me away. We have lots of Persian and Turkish carpets at home and amongst our four children.
After being treated to this beautiful carpet display, we walked to our restaurant to have lunch. This lunch was one of the great meals I have ever had. Had Kufta made with eggs. Kufta is chop meat with spices. It was served in a meatball stew with fresh vegetables on the side and eggs on top of the stew. The smell and taste was classic. I then had one of my great cups of coffee. The dense full flavor kept my senses at their peak. Olivia tried it but said it needed milk. No way. Perfect as it was.
After lunch we visited a tannery. When we arrived at the entrance a Moroccan man gave each of us each a bunch of fresh mint to keep and smell. We then climbed a few flights of very narrow winding stairs to the top. I looked down and saw something that will stay with me for a long time. In a large courtyard were barrels upon barrels of dye and men were soaking animal hides in the barrels to dye the hides. The scene was truly amazing. Men were in and out of the barrels of dyes soaking the hides. We were told that this was the way the hides were dyed since the fourteenth century. Whenever you think you are having a bad day, think of these poor souls in the tannery of Fes standing in barrels of dyes soaking, by hand, animal hides. OSHA would have a field day. I could not even think of the health hazards associated with this. Of course there was leather coats, bags, shoes and other leather items for sale. Olivia bought two pairs of leather shoes and a handbag all for $100. Other members of the group bought some coats. Also, they would make you a coat and deliver it to your hotel by the end of the day if they did not have have your size. I could not stop thinking of those poor men going in and out of barrels of dye soaking the hides.
It was then onto visiting some gates. We also paid a visit to the Jewish Cemetery. There are four thousand Moroccan Jews living in Morocco and 1.2 million in Israel. The cemetery tombstones were different and beautiful in their own way. The tombstones were all white hard clay.
It was then back to the Riad and some rest. Dinner was very special. We visited a local family for dinner. They introduced themselves and the families grandmother was the head chef. What a feast. Dessert was served first. This is a Moroccan tradition. Fresh dates, sesame cookies and little egg rolls filled with rice and coated with honey. Need I say more. The next course was a local Fes soup. The soup had anise and saffron. So good. Then came the salads. Numerous dishes were brought out with beans, eggplant, tomatoes and pumpkin. 5e pumpkin dish melted in your mouth. Indescribable. We then we served large appetizers. One large cookie was made of filo and had chicken, rice, and vegetables in it. The final dish was almond cookies that Olivia fell in love with. Hope you get the idea. Morocco seems like a food orgy.
We then walked back to our riad and am getting up early for the long ride to Erfoud while crossing the Atlas Mountains. We will be much higher up in altitude. Erfoud is known as the Moroccan Alps and there is skiing in the winter

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