Before Ali left us in Fes, he made sure that we would make it to our Hostel with ease. He called a guy that took our luggage in a wheel-barrel type carrier and we followed this guy through the winding roads to our Hostel. The roads in the Medina were much tinier than Marrakesh. We were told it was a “car-free” zone. The hostel was called Medina Social Club and this was our first hostel since being in Spain. It was tucked away in one of the the alleyways. The staff was super very friendly upon checking us in. The hostel was set-up like our Riad in Marrakesh. Our room was filled with people from all parts of the world and made for some interesting conversations. The hostel had a restaurant on their ground floor in their lobby, with tables all around to relax. We also enjoyed the pillow-lushed rooftop lounge. The entire hostel had a welcoming, colorful vibe.
Fes had a different vibe than what we experienced in Marrakesh. The streets were a bit more narrow and it felt much easier to get lost. What’s funny is it seems like tourists had strong favorites of either Fes and Marrakesh, and oddly enough, it seemed their favorite was whichever they visited first. I’m not sure if that’s because it set the standard, but we did enjoy Marrakesh a bit more.
One of our memorable experiences we had here was going to all the different leather stores and getting to see the tannery from above, seeing the leather in different stages, watching the men work with the leather. We ended up meeting a guy that worked at one of the leather stores and was very generous to take us to a few places (after all he was trying to make a sale). It’s important that you feel comfortable the entire time, some of the guys can be aggressive salesmen, do not be afraid to walk away. Everything is negotiable. We ended up negotiating to 200 Euros for a custom leather jacket that would be delivered to our hostel. Upon delivery, the sales guy asked for a tip for the “free delivery” and when I gave him a couple of Euros, he was not satisfied and argued that he brought the jacket over to us. We stood our ground as Rainier had the jacket already and we knew we didn’t owe him anything more. Sadly, these type of things happen in other countries where the culture is different. Because we were tourists, we are expected to have all this money. Experiences like this may also be why I am a bit biased between cities since we did not feel this hostility while talking to the locals in Marrakesh. In the end it was worth it and just became a new experience.
Fes is known for some of it’s historic sites, such as one of the entrance doors to the medina, the Blue Gate and home to the oldest existing university. The Moroccan King also has his Royal Palace located in the heart of Fes. We really enjoyed seeing them and walking through the surrounding parks (Jnan Sabil). One of our favorite, interesting meals in Fes was at M Touch. It had great, attentive service and some really good food options, such as camel tajine.
On the 19th our time in Morocco came to an end, we took a train to Casablanca and began to make our way to Egypt.