Traveling solo in Morocco, in the middle of August (part 2/4)
After the tour I returned to the Ryad to have some rest. Then after a couple of hours I hit the roads again. I spend some time in the streets of Medina having in the back of my mind to find a place to drink a beer. In the medina, things are difficult in this area. Generally, you will not find any alcohol. The best thing to do is get a taxi and go to the new city. There you will find what you want. The search for a beer led me to a hotel, which, as it turned out, was close to me. The Batha Hotel is a great hotel, but not traditional at all. It was located near the Bab Bouzloude. Basically as you look at the gate from the outside, the hotel is in your right hand. It’s next to Medina, and yes, it has a bar on the second floor, and it’s open until ten o’clock and it’s got beer (with alcohol). So I went to the bar and asked for a beer. If you want to find more hotels according to your budget in Fez you can have a look here: hotels in fez. After I finished my third beer, I left and I turned to Thami’s restaurant, guys there were very helpful and I promised them that I would be back again. I ate classically a Moroccan soup, I loved it, a dish of couscous with chicken, chickpeas, onions and various other things and watermelon. Oh, let me not forget the mint tea that almost always accompanied me. To finish I met an Italian guy who also traveled by himself. We talked a little about our program, for other trips and we continue separately. Now I had to arrange the daily excursion for tomorrow, Meknes, Vollubilis and Moulay Indris (the forbidden city). I had decide to do it on my own by train and grand taxi. As it turned out, it was a wise choice because it was incredibly economical, and I also met people. I also have to say that it is really easy to carry out this trip independently, as well as finding people to share the grand taxi. So after I take a look at the lonely planet to make sure of its procedural excursions, I fell to sleep with the sweet breeze to keep me company for one more night.
I wake up and full of excitement going downstairs. I eat fast, and I’m leaving for the train station. A ticket for Meknes costs 40dhm ale-re tour. In the train a couple of Italians sit beside me. I want to mention now that the majority of travelers were mainly Spanish, Italians and French. As it turned out, the couple were going to do the same route with me so we agreed to go together. Arriving in Meknes, after about one and a half hours, many taxis came to us, offering each one his price for Volubilis. After a while we found a nice guy who told us that he wants 100 dhm from all of us to take us to the places we wanted for as long as we wanted. The route was not special. Plain fields, corn and olives. The first stop was the Volubilis. Roman city of the 2nd-3rd century. It was not impressive. However, it is good to go. If you go in August be prepared for a lot hot. Essential accessories were hat, sunscreen and water. The place is open and there is no shadow anywhere. Fortunately, they were selling some hats there.
Then the taxi drove us to moulay idriss or a forbidden city. It is called forbiden because, by 2005, the overnight stay in this city was banned in non-Muslims. It is one of the most, if not the most sacred, city in Morocco. At the entrance of the city a guy comes and offers to become our guide. He basically identified himself as our guide after he started to follow us. We went to the main sights of the city and took some nice pictures, although the world here was not so friendly with the camera. We headed for a little tavern at the bottom of the city. Well, I forgot to mention that the city is uphill. This made me feel great because it was quite different from Fes and of course much quieter. It was calm. You could leave on the uphill streets and when you arrived to the highest point enjoy the view of the city from above with quietness. Without the panic of Fes.
I wanted to tell you about Fes that the impression he left me is that it is a really strange city. So simply, if you ask me, “You loved Fes?” I do not know what to say. I never felt comfortable in Fes. However, it is an experience that you have to live. Back in the taxi and stop to Meknes for a short walk and then back to the train station.
Back to Fes. We exchange phones with the Italians and I am heading to Riyadh to rest. The Italians couple were very friendly and interesting people. Giorgio and Julietlo were their names and they lived in Rome . Now I want to propose you cafe clock if you want a causal meal or a drink. Several tourists in the shop but also many locals, mostly young. To get to the cafe clock you have to take the left main street from bab boujloud. After about two hundred meters on your left you will see a sign with the name of the shop. If you do not have it on your mind you will lose it. It’s a nice big shop crowded all the time. Alcohol naturally does not be served. Also in Cafe Clock they are proud about the camel burger that they serve so don’t lose it! As I said before, Fes did not win me (at least not at first). On the other hand I have to say that this is an authentic city that you will definitely remember for a long time, if not forever. Let me make a parenthesis. Those who are involved in tourism are hustlers but as everywhere there are some guys that actually make your day. If give yourself a few moments to relax and be lost in the streets, smells and colors of medina will be rewarded one hundred percent.