Within the medina: Fez & Marrakech

The Grand Canyon is waiting for me today but before I head out for Day 7 of my US road trip I’d like to share the last of my pictures from Morocco.  This selection of photos were taken inside the medina in Fez and Marrakech.

Fez was perhaps my favorite city out of the two.  The medina is older, bigger and better kept than that of Marrakech but what I loved were the maze of derbs (narrow lanes) – over 9,000 of them in fact – that is guaranteed to get you hopelessly lost.  V & I attempted to stroll through the medina by ourselves one morning only to be defeated by the constant pestering from locals who were eager to show us the way in exchange for a commission.  We hired a guide in the end just to ‘protect us’ from unwanted attention.  An additional benefit of having an official tour guide is getting little nuggets of information you wouldn’t otherwise get from a guide book and we were able to go down dark, narrow derbs we would have avoided if on our own.  The negative – for me, anyway – is the absence of a leisurely stroll and the opportunity to discover something for myself.  Getting a tour guide is well worth the trade-off though for those of you who dislike the stares and badgering from locals.

Marrakech is where I enjoyed my favorite meals: chicken tagine at La Maison Arabe, fish of the day, skewered, on top of a bed of couscous with assorted Moroccan salads at Villa Flore, and Cafe Arabe’s seven vegetables couscous served with lamb.  The food itself were well worth the stay but add on to my new appreciation of Moroccan architecture – where carved cedar woodwork, stucco, and zellij tiles are involved – I was ready to move into the nearest riad that would have me.  Apparently, Morocco has this effect on people since many of the riads in Fez and Marrakech are owned by foreigners, primarily European expats.

One day… one day either my riad or London flat will look a little like this:

German-owned riad in Marrakech

German-owned riad in Marrakech

Until then I will just work on securing these fabulous ceramic plates:

Fez ceramic plates

Fez ceramic plates

Have you visited or lived in Morocco?  What were your first impressions?

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