It feels like such a long time since I’ve last written a post! I don’t know if I’ve just been lazy or if it legitimately has taken five days to recover from our trip to Morocco. Arriving in Morocco was like stepping into another world. It’s sooooo different than Europe (obviously, Courtney). We wanted to pack as much as we could into our puente and the result was about sixteen hours of sleep over the span of four days… it took its toll!
There are so many parts of Morocco that I want to write about, but I haven’t even finished writing about them in my private journal… let alone organize them on here! So I’d like to ease into it with photos from one of the craziest places I’ve ever seen, the Fez Medina.
Worthy of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Fes el Bali is like no place else I’ve seen. It’s the oldest part of the walled city, founded back in the 9th century. It’s incredible to think about how much took place within those walls over the years, as Fez is home to the oldest university in the world, and used to be the capital of the Moroccan kingdom.
We spent both of our nights in Fez in guesthouses in the center of the medina. I’m positive we would never have found them if someone hadn’t retrieved us from outside the city walls then led us there. The first night, our brains were in sensory overdrive after taking the train from Rabat to Fez and we could hardly follow where our guide, Fatima, was taking us. (Sounds like it could have gone very, very wrong, right?)
Right, left, two rights, left again, another left— it was like walking through a maze. A breeze carries wafts of donkey, dust, and saffron spices. You hear everything from Arabic over the shop radios, construction, and “Belek! Belek!” (which basically means move). Everywhere you could look in the medina you will see more passages, some narrow enough for only one person to walk through at one time. An alley could lead into a hammam, a shop, or just someone’s doorstep. It was crazy to me how someone living there could know their way around, and how everyone seemed to know each other. Even more amazing is the state of this structure. There are no extra funds for the Moroccan monarchy to spend on restoring the ancient medina. The “streets” are littered with crumbled stones, donkey crap, and varieties of trash. The sanitary workers there are fighting an uphill battle, lemme tell ya. But for me, walking through mud and dodging donkeys added to its authenticity.
It’s one of those places that, to me, is close to impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t been there. The place is so shambly but so magnificent at the same time. I hope these photos can do it some justice!
That’s an experience I won’t forget anytime soon. As dodgy as Fez could potentially be, Jay and I were more than happy we chose it as our home base, even after hearing from co workers that “Morocco is Marrakech”. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on Fez. Stay tuned for what it’s like inside of those worn down doors, plus our trek to the desert! I promise I’ll have those posts up soon.