The five points in the Moroccan star represent each of our senses. Immersing oneself in a completely different world encourages the exploration of each sense and many new chords are stuck which bring out thousands of unfamiliar sensations.
To us Maltese Morocco can be considered as the ultimate budget holiday as despite being around the corner, our two worlds could not be further a apart. Suitable for literally any budget, the city of Fez offers everything, from relaxing spas, or Hammams, to the hustle and bustle of life in is labyrinth Medina where narrow dizzy streets branch out into every direction, and each section offers something unique and special. The strange pong would from time to time be replaced by the smell of sweet, tempting sugar coated nuts and sweets.
The Fez medina showcases Moroccan culture, and thought it might take a while to get used to, you will always miss Fez once you’ve been and everyone needs a dose of Fez in their lives.
A place to rest your head
Finding accommodation within the Medina couldn’t be easier as heavenly Riads are scattered around, each with its own story, views and atmosphere. Whether you are a budget traveler, or have money to waste a Riad does the trick. The cheaper ones still offer the unique Moroccan experience, while the high class ones are simply more spacious and offer a more relaxing experience. For as little as €15 per night one can enjoy life in the slow lane, as each room is often decorated separately and is literally littered with art forms offering something for every type of traveler.
Staying in Medina however might not suit everybody. Though you can get the chance to do as the Moroccan’s do, many Europeans might not find it easy to adjust to their new lifestyle. Despite life revolving in and around the Medina, Fez caters for all and the Ville Nouvelle is literally minutes away, and one can sleep in a modern European style hotel room for moderate prices, while doing away with the street hustlers and guides.
Get your hands dirty…
The Ville Neuvelle offers the finest of Moroccan cuisine, however the real food is only found at the Medina. In these type of places, the dirytier the restaurant looks, the better the food tastes, and one little corner shop that stood out in particular was Thami’s. Proudly displaying his Lonely Planet articles on the outside wall, this little shop only has three tables on the street and allows you to step back and allow life to pass you buy as you dig into your Tagine Chicken in the Medina.
Moroccan’s are also extremely proud of their Terraces, so take a time out and climbs some stairs to enjoy an aerial view of all the chaos, and soak some sun while quenching your thirst with some magical mint tea, nicknamed Berber Whiskey by the locals. Places like this are plentiful, but I would always suggest the highest terrace, for the best views in town.
I wouldn’t worry too much about finding the perfect restaurant or bar, as each offers something different and there is literally something for anyone, just keep an open mind and let the magical Medina take you to the most unimaginable of places.
A must see
Being more confusing than a nuclear physics one can easily get lost in the Fez Medina, and getting lost here would mean three hours of going round in circles. My suggestion is to grab a guide and ask him to take you to the Fez Tanneries for some commission. The tanneries are the Medina’s main industry, however be prepared to cram you nose with mint leaves to block out the horrendous smell coming from deep craters consisting of a cocktail of bird urine and manure. Don’t be tempted to buy anything from the actual Tanneries, as you will be asked to fork out a ridiculous €420 for a pair of leather shoes that, when haggled for, won’t cost you more than €20.
Budget travelers must travel o these places without a wallet, as shop owners, particularly carpet houses, will dish out a lesson in Marketing and Business and you are instantly trapped into paying through your teeth for items. Moroccan rugs are a must buy, and it is a fact that you cannot exit a carpet store empty handed.
In Fez, you have to embrace the culture and be part of it, so ignore the smells, frowns and hagglers, simply don a traditional Jaleba and waltz around town like you own it. Immerse yourself in the beautiful culture, as there really is no place like it.
Taking time off to enjoy a traditional Moroccan message is also a must. Do not be put off by any fat locals being over eager to rub your body, just lay down and let their world take you to another place. Traditional Hammams are a must, and this experience will relax you forever.
Moroccans annually drink over 1.34 KG of tea per capita, making them the 10h highest consumers of tea. If Moroccan tea could be bottled and sold in vending machine, it would sell faster than Coca Cola. With a rainforest of mint in one cup, Moroccan tea can relax even the most agitated traveler.
Travel with any form of alcohol in your hand luggage. Arabs are extremely strickt, and their culture must be respect at all times. Alcohol around Fez is like a needle in a haystack, so you might have to settle for non alcoholic beers.
Moroccan for “if God wills it”. This is a Moroccan’s favorite word, so be polite and use their language as much as possible. Throw away any cultural traits you reserve, and do not only dip your toes into the Moroccan world. Become one of them, and enjoy life, Fez style. I for one will certainly go back to Fez. Insh’Allah
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