Discover the new and the old part of Fes, how it looks like to be in a Muslim country during Ramadan and what the capital of Berbers looks like. In case you didn’t read the text about the beginning of my trip to Morocco, you can find it here.
“We woke up early this morning. The air in the room was humid and warm but we were excited and happy to start with our project. This day was promising, carefully planned step by step. After a strange taxi ride and a lot of confused and scared looks we exchanged, we found ourselves in front of the tourist office in Ville Nouvelle (new part of Fes). This part of the city has nothing to do with the old one. New and modern buildings clearly show the French influence in this part of the country. They even have French brands, bakery shops and supermarkets. Bienvenue en France (Welcome to France)! In the Arabic version. Here, we found the information we were looking for. We were now ready for the afternoon which seemed exciting to both of us. We found an official guide who was about to show us every important monument in the city. And not only that, but to also give us a lesson about Moroccan history and culture. All inclusive.
The afternoon was incredible. We stood amazed before the mosques, before the royal palace and Koranic schools. The Arabic architecture is just so amazing, so attentive to detail that it is incredible. During our visit to Medina (the old part of Fes), we discovered one more thing. It is pretty useful, even recommended to say to people we are journalists. Being a journalist will get you a discount and great coco cookies and tea in a pretty expensive restaurant. Being a journalist will get you to the top of a house to see the panoramic views, something that is not possible for everybody. Being a journalist will make people still treat you in a good manner even if you don’t buy anything in their shop…
We ended our visit very tired but happy. We started to discover a new world, totally different from everything we know. We started to get to know people and their customs. Maybe they look at you as an euro sign at first, but when they get to know you, it changes a lot. And we are changing as well. We are learning to be patient and understanding. We are learning not to be scared when a donkey passes by us in a narrow street of Medina. We are learning not to look in disbelief when we see a donkey charged with 10 gas tanks… It is Morocco, everything is possible here. And everything tastes well.”
“It was a typical Ramadan evening. The small table in our hotel’s entrance was set and people were sitting around and waiting for the sign to start eating. The sign is actually the prayer we are able to hear coming from the mosques every evening at around 19:30.
Our hosts came and offered us some food.
-It is Marrocan hospitality, our host said. We don’t have a lot but we will offer you what we have. And above all, we will never let you watch us eating.
The table was small but not the hearts of the people around it. We decided to join. Some Moroccan bread made of couscous, fish, tomato soup and some dried fruit and, most of all, Moroccan hospitality brought people from six different countries together. Laughter, friendly chat and smiles filled the small hotel. Another perfect experience, another thing to remind me why I enjoy travelling so much. This Morocco adventure has been amazing so far. We just hope everything will continue that way.”
In the capital of Berber people
“Every moment we spend here is full of excitement and seems like a new adventure. It seems so difficult to extract one thing that marked our day. Is it the royal palace, the mosque or the Koranic school we visited? Maybe the small covered market full of spices and Marocan sweets? Or is that the shop that sells Berber rugs, pottery and jewellery?
-In the Berber culture a woman can’t look at a man’s face before they get married, a very nice seller started to explain. But, on the other hand what she can do is send him a message through the rug she is knitting for him. There are no two same rugs, every single one has a different combination of colors and ornaments. And a message they send, of course.”
-So, these rugs are some kind of a Berber love letters”, I asked.
He laughed and, a bit confused, replied in some kind of a mixture of French, Spanish and Italian:
-Probably you are right my friend, it should be considered as a Berber love letter. You see, he continued, for example, this rug is pretty simple and it shows that a woman only cares about the husband, it doesn’t matter if he lives with a family or he is independent, she just wants a husband. On the other hand, this other woman wants an independent husband, continued the seller reading from the next rug. The third one is rich. She wants a rich husband and that is all, she doesn’t care about love. Her colorful rug made of silk clearly shows it…
Next to the rugs stand amazing Berber necklaces.
-They bring good luck, he said. It looks just perfect on you. I insist you take one because I want you to have good luck in life. And only because you are my friend, take it for 200 Dirhams. It’s an offer you can’t refuse.
Great price, my friend, and so typically Moroccan.”
You can read here about the last part of my trip.