There were many highlights on our tour of Morocco. One of them was finding delightful little shops or hidden away restaurants. During our stay in Fes we found this delightful little family restaurant right next door to the hotel where we were staying. We could have dined in style in the hotel restaurant but this eatery had so much more character.
It wasn’t huge; it had enough seating for about 6 to 8 people; there were no more chairs, and the dining room was hardly a room at all. The cooking and counter took up half the room, and some equipment had to flow out onto the footpath. Most of the customers were people passing by, grabbing a bite to eat on their way to work or back home. The establishment was run by the lady shown in the photo above, assisted by her young daughter.
The mother could only understand a few words of English but the daughter spoke it fluently. We engaged her in conversation and found out she was working her way through university, studying to be a teacher. My wife, daughter and I are all teachers, so we found this very encouraging. My guess is that not many Moroccan girls are teachers, and few go to university. Women in the professions are most definitely in the minority in this country, but this is changing.
We were very pleased to support this family and their tiny restaurant on several occasions during our stay.
And the food was delicious.
While wandering through the medina of Fes during our visit to Morocco I was constantly fascinated by the huge variety of items for sale. I imagine one could buy almost anything, from food through to weapons and on to clothing.
The aromas were sometimes overpowering and the colours amazing. The visitor’s ears are assaulted with the constant sound of vendors and customers, musicians, the crowds thronging everywhere and the frequent call of “Balak! Balak!” warning of a little donkey loaded high with goods for sale and the roar of motor bikes cutting a swath through the mass of people squeezed into ever decreasing spaces.
One of the interesting things about visiting an unfamiliar country is the interesting – and unusual – sights one can see. Of course, the scenery is usually quite strange to what one is used to, as is the architecture and in places like Morocco, the clothing locals are wearing.
Something that fascinates me – not sure why – is the differing modes of transport. In crowded, busy cities like Fes in Morocco, walking is by far the most common mode of moving people, especially in the narrow lanes and streets in the medinas. Motor bikes are also in large numbers everywhere, even in the narrowest of lane ways.Pedestrians beware!
Today I feature two photos of transport. Above is a delivery van with a huge load on the pack rack on top of the van. I didn’t check up close, but I hope that either the rack is VERY strong, or the load is VERY light. The inside of the van is also stuffed full of something.
The photo below was taken quite near to the one above. It shows another van loaded up with pipes (or something like pipes) on top, as well as a converted cart being towed by either a horse or a motor bike, and for good measure, a donkey transporting a man. All these contrasting modes of transport are quite common in Morocco and go to make the visit so much more interesting.
One of the delights of our visit to the city of Fes in Morocco was to visit the ceramic pottery factory and shop outlet, as shown in today’s photos (and in the previous few days of my posts here on this site).
On the other hand, one of the disappointments was being unable to buy any of the wonderful items for sale. Many of them were far too delicate to travel in our normal luggage and others were either too big or too heavy. The shop did offer to ship any item to Australia – even the large patio fountains weighing many hundreds of kilograms – but the cost would have been prohibitive on my limited budget.
The mosaic work shown in the photo above is from one of the fountains for sale in the ceramic pottery factory in Fes, Morocco. Fountains like this one are in evidence throughout the land, both in public and private buildings.
During our visit to the factory and the adjoining shop we saw many beautiful items being made or for sale.