Culture and History
We have said before that Marrakesh is too busy and too touristy for us. Fortunately, there are other Moroccan cities worth visiting.
Fes, Meknès and Chefchaouen are located on the north side of the Atlas and we visit them on our way back to Europe (at least we thought then …). Beautiful cities in which a lot of cultural history has been preserved and where we can quietly find our own way in the small streets, without being steered too much by well-meaning guides.
Eventually we also visit Melilla, a Spanish enclave with a European feeling in Morocco.
We visit Fes after our beautiful drive through the High and Middle Atlas. As we noticed earlier in 2015, this is a city that radiates much more tranquility than Marrakesh. Narrow alleys, the tanneries and the mountains surrounding the city give this city its very own atmosphere. We do not meet pushy guides other than the young men who take us to the tanneries after drinking tea with them.
I even dare to convince a hairdresser to cut my long mane, with good results and for only 50 Dhs (= € 4.50)
A pleasant surprise is the old school of arts that we discover by chance, we get a private tour, especially when Sonja tells that she is / was involved in the Nieuwe Nobelaer in Etten-Leur.
Fes is a beautiful city with many surprising vistas and details and definitely worth a visit when you are in Morocco.
We visit the city of Meknès when the half marathon is running, the traffic in the city center is completely closed. That’s nice to walk around.
The city itself has, besides the Heri es-Souani, the huge granary and the adjoining former horse stables, many historical buildings within the complex of the Cité Imperiale that is closed to the public.
In the souk we do our daily shopping, always fresh from the fields.
We make a surprising stop in Moulay Idriss, a town just south of Meknès, near the Roman ruins of Volubilis that we visited earlier in 2015. We get lost in the narrow streets, but find our way thanks to the GPS on the phone.
The Blue City of Chefchaouen has enchanted us before. This time again we are impressed by the cozy and welcoming atmosphere with (more than) 50 shades of blue.
On the way to Nador we pass Melilla, one of the two Spanish enclaves in Morocco. Purely out of curiosity, we decide to cross the border.
We discover that this city is indeed a piece of Spain / Europe in Morocco / Africa. Clean streets that are well finished everywhere, historic buildings, a modern harbor, parks, churches and statues.
The cemetery shows that the city is short of space, all graves are close together, but neatly cared for.
And, because this is Spain, we can enjoy a glass of wine and a beer.