Drive to Fez
Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
17Trip End Mar 07, 2010
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Where I stayed
We took a detour so we could go into the forest near Ifrane where Barbary apes live. Roger casually asked where that was, and before we knew it, Hamid was driving us there. We stopped at a little stand and Hamid bought peanuts for us to feed to the apes. We only saw one on the ground, and fed her some peanuts while her 2 babies hid up in the tree branch above us. Honestly, they were adorable
We went to Ifrane for lunch. It's a very odd town - called the Switzerland of Morocco because of the architecture. It was built by the French some years ago as a holiday escape and now it's a popular place for locals to go for vacation or to own a second home (if they're doing really well). The whole town looks like it could have come directly from Switzerland - A-frame houses, little cafes on the street. Strange. The king of Morocco also has a big palace here. We had a nice lunch and then met Fazia and Thomas from Journey Beyond Travel, the people who organized this amazing vacation for us! It was really nice meeting them since I felt like they had done such an amazing job putting this all together.
From Ifrane, we had a short drive to see Lake Aoua for a drive around. It's a huge natural lake but currently there is SO much flooding that a lot of the fields around the lake were covered with water as well. There were a ton of trees down all around the lake, but people were still there enjoying it.
Driving into Fez was very interesting
Hamid dropped us off at a large parking lot outside of the medina because there is no driving at all inside. Once we got in I could absolutely see why! The streets are even smaller and windier than Marrakech, and the hills! Holy cow. The poor guy with the cart carrying our bags. I guess at least this way was all down hill instead of the other way, but if he had lost his grip for a second...watch out! We walked under a lot of scaffolding (holding the buildings up!) and eventually made it to our riad. Holy crap. This place is absolutely stunning. Tara greeted us and gave us the low down on the place and showed us to our room. Beauty all around.
We were pretty wiped out so we decided to skip venturing out into the city and just went up on to the roof terrace to lounge with some tea. The call to prayer was just as awe-inspiring here and we both stopped what we were doing to listen. Tara came out just as it was happening and it stopped her in her tracks as well. We started visiting and the next thing we knew, we were all having dinner together and swapping life stories! She's an absolutely lovely person and although she's only taking care of the riad for her friend currently (the owner isn't here), she does own a house here that is currently being renovated. She's originally from Wales but currently lives in Barcelona. She writes travel books (Time Out! for Andalucia of all things in addition to a number of others!!) and does food writing and has even written a cookbook. We honestly had such a great time talking with her, I'm hoping we stay in touch! I can't forget to mention that dinner was FANTASTIC, totally vegetarian (yay) and extremely interesting. We have to remember to look for Jerusalem artichokes at home. Definitely my best tagine.