Saturday, April 29, 2017



A tour of the medina in Fes, Morocco - April 20th



Upon arriving in Fes we arranged a tour of the medina. We had read that it was the best way to see it. The medina is a large old town full of narrow twisting "streets" with many dead ends. There are no signs directing you where to go and with so many people you don't have the opportunity to stop and try to guess what direction you might want to go. Our guide was ok, but we had to endure sales pitches at every craft co-op we visited. Most stops were informative and the sales pitch not to bad, but by the end of the day we were burned out.



Looking down on the Fes medina from a panoramic overlook.


The Bab Boujloud, the blue gate, is the main gate into the medina.
The first place we visited was a Moroccan mosaic and pottery co-op. We were met by an employee who gave us a tour of the co-op. After the tour he took us into the shop and was available to help you buy. The tour was informative and he did not try hard to sell things.






A potter turning lids for large vases.


A woman painting pottery. Every piece made at the co-op is hand painted.


All paint colors are hand mixed using natural pigments.


Mosaics are made by chipping wholes tiles which are made on site. The little bits on the ground next to the man are precisely shaped pieces to complete a mosaic design.

 This man is creating a mosaic table top. It takes a couple of days and is created upside down without a pattern. When the bits are all in place , they pour cement over the design to hold the tile bits in place.
Samples of what is produced at the co-op.



 View of the medina.


 A street with food sellers.

Berries for sale.


Man weaving fabric from silk and cactus threads.



The tannery - people bring their camel, goat, and sheep hides in and process them.
Goat head. There were lots of animal heads throughout the food market area. This one was in the tannery. 

 More street market scenes.

A narrow street. We passed through streets like this to get to shops our guide took us to. 




Lunch stop. We had 3 members on our tour - me, Bill, and Jessica. She has an excellent blog Comfort is for Wimps.


Kairaouine Mosque - The minaret dates back to 956 and is in the world's oldest university.


 View of inside the Kairaouine Mosque.
View of the interior of Al Qarawiyyin Mosque
.
 A closer look at the walls inside the mosque.

 An even closer look at the mosaic on the walls. 

 Our guide for the day. We would not have been able to navigate the medina without him, but got tired of continual sales pitches by the shops we visited.

Doorway in the medina.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Martil and Chefchaouen Morocco - April 15th - 19th


Arriving in Morocco is an interesting process. Once the ferry is underway you must get your passport stamped by Moroccan immigration. As you drive off the ferry in Morocco, a policeman verifies your passport has been stamped and it is legible. Then you follow the rest of the vehicles thru the port to customs. When arriving at customs, they direct you to where they want you to park. At that point we got out of the van and waited with everyone else, wondering what happens next. At customs you temporarily import your vehicle to Morocco. The process was weird. Finally an officer came over and told us to go to the police booth and verify the reference number stamped in Bill's passport was valid. When we came back he asked if it was, then asked us to open the back doors of the van. He said, "Oh, it is a caravan. Is this your first time in Morocco? Have a good trip." handed us our paper work and waved us on our way.

Next we had to get to Martil where we were going to spend a couple of days. Our problem was because we are now in Africa our phones no longer work and our GPS decided it needed updating and would not work. All we had was a paper map and GPS coordinates to the campground. We managed to get to Martil and with the help of a local find the campground.

We spent several days in Martil trying to get the GPS to work, but could not. I guess we will deal with it when we get back to Europe. In the mean time I have a local sim card in my phone to navigate with Google Maps. We also bought a dongle (a USB Mifi) so we can use data on the laptops. They are working fairly well.

Martil is located on the coast with beautiful beaches. It was a nice town to get use to Moroccan culture. Next we drove to Chefchaouen. The town is known as the blue town. The medina is full of narrow streets painted blue. It is a wonderful town in the Rif Mountains.




Our campground in Martil. Every night the place would fill up with people arriving or leaving Morocco.




Buildings along the beach near our campground.




The walkway along the beach. During the day it was empty. In the evening this sidewalk was packed.




The beach. It was about a 2 minute walk from our campground.
 Camping Azilan, our campground in Chefchaouen.
 Our parking spot. Campgrounds in Morocco are very reasonable. So far we are paying 7 to 10 dollars a night including electric hook up.
 A view of Chefchaouen.
 Streets in the medina of Chefchaouen.

 More streets in Chefchaouen.

 There are lots of views thru arch ways.

 Love those blue walls on all the buildings.

 The doors of Chefchaouen are fabulous.

A mural on the wall of one of the streets.
 A cafe along the river that runs thru the city.
 The town square in the center of the city. This was very touristy.
 There are small shops spilling into most of the streets.

 More shops in the medina.