Thursday, March 13, 2008

From Marrakech to Fes

Although my hotel in Fes has rather seedy rooms, I'm elated to find a cybercafe here with English keyboards.

It's 11 in the morning and I should be out looking at stuff but it's a good time to relax since I've been walking almost nonstop for the last seven days. It feels like I've spent 20 days in Morocco even though I arrived at 9 am last Thursday. I hired a guide to take me around Old Fes and New Fes tomorrow so I might just see a few smaller museums today and enjoy the cuisine.

Yesterday morning I took a rapid walk through the medine to see the four major sights that were pending on my itinerary--Palais El-Badi, the Bahia palace, the Saadian tombs, and the Dar Si-Said museum. Both the El-Badi and Bahai palaces were grand, but I enjoyed the other two sights more, especially since I love Moroccan doors and ceilings and the Saadian tombs and Dar Si-Said had splendid ones. I was also thankful to have both the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet guides at hand. The Rough Guide noted that the gardien at the minbah at El-Badi might let you past the barricade if you are really nice; this is actually true.

I thought my Fes train departed at 2 so I got to the station at 1.30. It was actually a 3 o'clock train, but arriving early was good nonetheless because the availability of the Carte Fidelite, the discount card, is erratic and it gae me time to find the manager who issues those cards. I took a quick trip to the Menara gardens between 2 and 3; it was a bit too hot to enjoy the walk through the garden, but the pool was refreshing.

The train journey was quite pleasant; the trains are much cleaner than in India, bu the vibe is similar. People are friendly and share food. I shared the compartment with a stewardess, a businessman, and a couple of other people. Most of them spoke some English and I received some general advice on French pronunciation once again.

I'm not sure what I'll do today. I hired a guide to take me around the Fes medina tomorrow so I may explore a few smaller museums today and also get a hammam with a massage.


Blogger Ashutosh said...

People share food? Based on your past experiences, I would make sure it's not drugged (that does happen in Indian trains by the way). At the same time, it is important not to become paranoid...

11:18 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I'm pretty sure it wasn't drugged.

2:50 PM  

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