Fes, Volubilis, and Meknes

As we left Rabat, the Foret Maamora (forest) was shrouded in mist with the sun shining above.

Forest as we were leaving Rabat

Forest as we were leaving Rabat

Fog hanging in the low spots as we drove toward Fes.

Fog hanging in the low spots as we drove toward Fes.

I noticed that all the trees (cork oak) had a darker color bark from the first branches to the ground. It was also interesting to see people wanting a ride somewhere would stand by the roadside and sort of flag down passing cars by putting out their hand and pointing a finger. Hitchhiking, which seemed to even be done in groups. We arrived in Fes,

Fes

Fes

and after depositing our things in the riad,

Courtyard in our new riad in Fes.

Courtyard in our new riad in Fes.

The courtyard and dining room of our riad with the water feature.

The courtyard and dining room of our riad with the water feature.

Door to our room.

Door to our room. I wish I’d taken a picture of the loft I slept in.

This courtyard was covered, but the cover could be opened.

This courtyard was covered, but the cover could be opened.

we met a guide arranged through the riad and headed out to see the handicrafts of Fes. First stop was the ceramic co-op, where we saw red and gray clay being soaked in water (they harvest it from local areas, dry it and then soak it for a week after which it is kneaded by foot and hand), sculpted on a foot-turned wheel,

Potter in the co-op just outside the old city of Fes working on a foot turned wheel.

Potter in the co-op just outside the old city of Fes working on a foot turned wheel.

The kiln. First firing is 900℃  and the second firing is 1125℃

The kiln. First firing is 900℃ and the second firing is 1125℃

painted with painstaking detail by hand or hand chiseled into designs,

Artisans sat on the floor and hand chiseled designs into the glazed and fired pottery tiles. They were they pieced together to form intricate patterns.

Artisans sat on the floor and hand chiseled designs into the glazed and fired pottery tiles. They were they pieced together to form intricate patterns.

The green and black fountain pieces are made from the pieced together tiles.

The green and black fountain pieces are made from the pieced together tiles.

and finally the shop with hard pressure to buy.

All sizes and shapes of pottery available in the retail shop.

All sizes and shapes of pottery available in the retail shop.

Bowls decorated in more modern style

Bowls decorated in more modern style

From there we went into the medina and visited the jalaba (hooded ankle length pull-over) shop, where I bought one. I wear it almost everyday now. We went into a weavers shop and watched them work the floor loom with a pulley thrown shuttle.

Weaver with a hand pulled flying shuttle and foot operated treadle.

Weaver with a hand pulled flying shuttle and foot operated treadle.

They use agave fiber as the silk, in addition to wool from the sheep. I was quite interested in this after my experience with weaving when I lived in London long ago. We saw where they auction the leather hides

Leather auction where skins are auctioned off in batches of four.

Leather auction where skins are auctioned off in batches of four whole skins, presumably of the same type of animal: sheep, goat, or cow (maybe some others, but I don’t know what).

and then went to the leather dying area. At the bottom of the stairs was a box of mint leaves to take and hold under your nose when you arrived at the top to look out over the dying vats. It smelled like boiling meat that might be too old, as they wash the skins (mostly sheep, cow, goat) and then dye them in big vats. Men stand in the vats and pull the skins one at a time to be pushed down and spread out with both hands and feet to soak for 7-10 days.

These were the white dye baths for the leather.

These were the white dye baths for the leather. You can just see some skins over the ledge set out on straw to dry in the sun.

When they are the color desired they are set out in the sun to dry. From there they are sent to tailors to make them into saleable items. Our guide wanted to take us to another Berber pharmacy,

Narrow streets were a complete maze and populated by bicycles, motorcycles, donkeys, carts, and people. . .lots of people.

Narrow streets were a complete maze and populated by bicycles, motorcycles, donkeys, carts, and people. . .lots of people.

Peeking into a mosque in the old city of Fes.

Peeking into a mosque in the old city of Fes.

Another peek inside the mosque from a different doorway.

Another peek inside the mosque from a different doorway.

You don't see pay phones anymore, so I thought this was kind of quaint.

You don’t see pay phones anymore, so I thought this was kind of quaint.

This was a school.

This was a school filled with small children. I had to sneak the picture so it’s not very good because our guide said the teacher would come out and want money.

but we said we’d already seen several, so back to the riad where we had a scrumptious tagine meal! I slept in the loft here, which was accessed by a narrow, rickety wooden staircase (wish I’d taken a picture of it). The next day our riad host (who was quite a braggart) arranged for us to be picked up and driven to Volubilis

Nearing Volubilis which was about an hour from Fes on very small, very bumpy roads.

Nearing Volubilis which was about an hour from Fes on very small, very bumpy roads.

Countryside surrounding Volubilis (Old Roman City ruins)

Countryside surrounding Volubilis (Old Roman City ruins)

Roman ruins in Volubilis

Roman ruins in Volubilis

Roman ruins and the surrounding countryside

Roman ruins and the surrounding countryside

to see the Roman ruins, and then to Meknes. In Meknes, we ended up taking photos from the car and having lunch at a rooftop café.

Gates into Meknes

Gates into Meknes

View of Old Meknes from our rooftop terrace cafe.

View of Old Meknes from our rooftop terrace cafe.

Our cafe from street level

Our cafe from street level

We were pretty done with medinas and mosques we could only view from outside. So back to another delicious meal at the riad.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. maryronw
    Feb 03, 2015 @ 15:37:07

    Thanks for the tour, Pam, it was SO interesting.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: