Through the rain to the Smurfs’ town [Morocco 6/7]

The beginning of our stay in Fes is not the most interesting. We meet our host Amine in the evening and we go to his apartment. We already had some concerns about this guy because of the “interesting” messages he sent me. But they were not weird enough to let go of staying with him, we decided that he may have such sense of humour, and maybe it’s not a sufficient reason not to meet him. But the fears were right. The apartment is extremely dirty, cold (the exit door leads straight to the street, they are always open and wind goes through them), everywhere there is smell of cigarettes, and in the room where we stay is one weak green light bulb, so it’s terribly dark and gloomy. Moreover, we discover that there are 5 other couchsurfers in addition to us. While in Essaouira such a situation was bearable and even very nice, here – in this dark, cold room with a host that arouses our anxiety, we don’t feel comfortable. In addition, Ania, one of the other couchsurfers says that Amine also wrote strange messages to her. Today we don’t really have anywhere else to go, but we decide (or rather I insist) that tomorrow we consider finding another place.

Next day we head to Medina. Here, fortunately, you don’t have to fight with the taxi drivers to turn on a taximeter, which is on by default. Our weather is tough – it’s all day pouring, it’s not warm either. Still, we are decided to walk around. Fes was one of the most important points of the tour, and besides, we don’t really want to go back to Amine’s apartment. Why should you visit Fes? Because it’s the capital of craftsmanship. In Medina you can find a variety of leather, ceramic, metal or wooden products, and also see lots of small workshops in which craftsmen regularly produce their small pieces of art.

Wyrób drewnianych ozdób
Crafting of wooden details

 

Fes
And their presentation on the palace’s walls

 

Stolica rękodzieła
The capital of the craftsmanship

You have to mandatory see Tanneries in Fes, the place where goat’s skin is properly prepared for leather products. To make the skin soft enough, it is soaked in urine and then dyed and dried. The whole process can be observed from above, from specially designed terraces. I suspect that in the summer the smell is breathtaking. But we encountered a rainy day and it wasn’t that bad, though the urine was noticeable. It’s not difficult to get there, because in the medina every now and then someone wants to show you the way there. The tour is free, but there is a strong suggestion to buy something later. We didn’t buy (there were no wallets there and other things were not in our scope) and they didn’t stop us.

Tradycyjne wyrabianie skór
Tanneries in a rainy day

Approximately around 18pm wet and cold we surrender. We also don’t have the strength to look for a hotel for one night only, because it would involve a trip to the apartment so as to take our stuff and back to the medina. We decide to stay with Amine. In the initial version we had for Fes 2 days, but due to poor weather and housing conditions we decide to run after 1 day. Nevertheless, we recommend staying there for 2 days because there is a lot to see there. We buy some fruits for the evening to make friends with our host. There are no other couchsurfers yet. Ania and her boyfriend had already left Morocco (according to their), while the three Belgas just moved to the hotel. We are trying to spend the night with Amine, but the conversation is not living its life and we go to bed early.

The next day with relief we leave the apartment and move in the morning to a spot to catch a car towards Chefchaouen. Our first ride is two students, future Imams. The first question that hits us in the car is: “Do you want to go with us for a breakfast?“. Yes of course! In spite of the trouble of finding a common language (they lack in English, I’m lack in French), we are able to speak with Google Translate. They take us to Moulay Yaâcoub, where in the row of similar restaurants lots of Moroccans eat their breakfast. It turns out that the village is famous for its natural products such as honey, cheese, peanut butter and various types of bread and pastries. Definitely worth a visit. Also in Moulay Yaâcoub there are natural thermal springs, so if anyone wants to relax and his wallet allows him to do so, it’s a good idea to bump in here. On the way back from breakfast (we had to take a little drive off the main road) future Imams  show us an app about Koran, which displays selected verses in the chosen language. They quote some in Polish showing us, that in terms of basic assumptions Koran is almost the same as the Bible. Do we have any Bible apps? With stomachs full of local goods we hitchhike towards Chefchaouen again. Along the way we have the opportunity to observe the world’s most brilliant double rainbow.

Tęcza
Double rainbow – double jar of gold. Unfortunately we didn’t find anything 🙁

Most cities in Morocco have their colour “assigned” in which most of the buildings are painted. Usually these are different shades of bronze. Chefchaouen is unique – its color is blue. Medina makes an extraordinary impression, which we will try to prove:

Chefchaouen
Pretty they have there

 

Chefchaouen
Passage

 

Chefchaouen
She is a shepherd, going with her goats through the city (unfortunately goats are not on the picture)

 

Chefchaouen
Another advantage of the city is its location on the bottom of Rif mountains

The mountains around Chefchaouen are perfect for marijuana plantation. This is where 80% of the hash distributed in Europe comes from. A dozen proposals for byuing hashish a day are normal, and wherever you go you will find people rolling “funny cigarettes”, from little boys to old people. You have to to watch out for intrusive dealers, when we were looking for a hotel one of them got stuck to us and we couldn’tt get rid of him. Fortunately, they are harmless, and one word about the police is enough for them to leave. And it’s best not to talk to them at all.

Next day we go for a walk in the mountains. Beautiful views, probably don’t need to write. You can also occasionally smell the surrounding green crops (although it is winter). But what makes us happy is snow. We haven’t seen it for a long time (to Morocco we went after a half year stay in the Canary Islands), and although to reach it we ended up in muddy and soggy shoes, we found it worth it.

Walking in the mountains can’t be too long, unfortunately, because we still on the same day we have to hitchhike further. Objective? The little village of Ouzanne.

IMG_1998
Snow and happines

 

Góry w okolicy miasteczka
A view on Rif mountains

Our route


See why it is worth visiting small villages and how not to hitchhike [click].