Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fès, day two

We started out the day with yet another fabulous breakfast of way too much food at our riad, Dar Skalli:

Today we toured the historic medina of Fès today with Hassane, a professional guide. He has been guiding people through the medina and souks since 1996 and really knows his way around. We went through narrow alleys, so narrow that Lloyd had to turn sideways...

The medina comprises two sections, separated by a river, so he first took us down and across and up the other side to get a view to the left (The trees at the top left are very near our Riad):

And to the right:

We saw interesting old doors...

And election signs...

And mules loaded with goods (no vehicles allowed, and thank goodness, no motorcycles or scooters!):

An Interesting shop full of hardware:

The world famous tanneries where skins (camel, sheep, goat and cow) are de-haired (in vats of lime and pigeon guano), scraped, dyed (both natural and chemical), rinsed, and dried before being sold to leather workers.  This place apparently smells dreadful in the heat of summer--wasn't too bad today in 10 degrees C.  

We visited a carpet cooperative, and received a good lesson in the styles of Arab, Berber, and Bedouin carpets. We ended up buying a small runner (no photo! We were too preoccupied with the negotiating process!)

A wonderful visit to a community bakery...this is a wood fired oven, and residents bring their bread here to be baked.  They also make bread to sell.

And a brief visit to the Hammam furnace to see the man scooping in the sawdust. This is heating the water for the Moroccan public baths.

A visit to a weaving cooperative where men weave with cotton, "vegetable silk" (rayon made from the agave cactus), and wool, in various combinations--sometimes all three fibres in one length.  Fabric was available as scarf and shawl lengths, and by the 2 and 3 metre pieces, some wide enough to use as bedspreads for a king sized bed.

I was wrapped in a Berber turban again:

And while I was sorely tempted I didn't buy anything.  I know very well how much fabric I have at home, some of it purchased in China almost 30 years ago and India 5 years ago. 

rooftops and minarets...

1 comment:

  1. Joanne, Armstrong, BCFebruary 5, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    I remember going through those narrow lanes in the souks, and being warned that if we heard "balak balak" that meant to get out of the way of the loaded donkeys that had right-of-way, and certainly no regard for tourists' toes. And it is always a challenge to sort out tipping, etc etiquette in places that don't have the same playing field as we do here. Interesting to see the references to the sovereign #VI - the name of his predecessor #V was everywhere when we visited in 1999.