Friday, 7 March 2014

MEKNES AND FES

7th March 2014
Campsite excellent and very full so had to pitch on lovely terrace with views. German tour below us had own mobile bar but despite every opportunity failed to invite us to join them. Campsite is typical in that it has wonderful water gardens and pools all neglected and overgrown and rubbish strewn. Somebody spent time and money and then walked away, leaving it to crumble. Can't even pick the oranges off the trees but happy for a Dutch couple to and then make marmalade in front of us.
Into town by bus and spent an enjoyable few hours followed by lunch on rooftop terrace overlooking main square and the mayhem of the traffic. A mini Marrakech but not for the tourists so had a greater charm. Back to camp by taxi.
Thursday
Intended taking motorway to Fes  as we needed to enter by south in order to find the well hidden and unsignposted campsite but signally failed in that we baulked at the thought of driving back across town, followed the signs for Fes and ended up on the N6 which took us in to the north.
Our maps are good but the scale is too large for this sort of thing but we did pick up the right road to swing south and east towards the probable area of the camp. We then hit lucky as a scooter pulled up in front of us yelling "camping international.....follow me! " and led us the 5 km . Of course, when I tried to give him 50d for his help he refused but insisted we use the services of his father who is an official guide for a tour of the town.
So we booked him and actually it was terrific value. He picked us up at 9.30 friday morning and gave us a day long tour of Fes that we could not have done ourselves, taking us through the maze of the Medina for hours, and, OK, we kept going to shops that he got commission on if we bought but we only bought stuff we wanted....some souvenirs from the pottery, leather slippers for the GF, a leather hat for me but we very nearly bought the wonderful handmade carpet from the government cooperative for £1000 after having started at £1780 and I still might regret that decision. We were shown to a lovely restaurant where we had a terrific ethnic meal for £12 a head and saw wonderful 14th C mosques etc which of course the infidels cannot enter. The streets..no alleyways...
of the souk were like stepping back in time and we often had to flatten ourselves against the wall as laden donkeys and horses passed by. A terrific day out. Now on to  the rif valley where hash is on sale on the roadside and bandit country.

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