A last-minute decision to extend our stay in Chefchaouen meant that our trip to Fes was blink-and-you-miss-it, but what I saw of the city made me wish that we had more time to explore.
Our first morning in Fes dawned early. I was excited to visit the medina (market), but a combination of overconfidence and obstinacy on my part meant that we set out to wander one of the world’s most confusing neighborhoods… without a guide. Let me be brief and say: you win this round, medina.
Normally, I would much rather explore a city at my own pace, free to stop whenever something catches my eye, but I found that the medina in Fes was nearly impossible to navigate without someone who knows the area.
Morocco is stunningly beautiful, but much of it is behind closed doors. Without a guide to show you around, we ended up walking through a lot of seemingly abandoned side streets, with little to no idea which way to go to find civilization, let alone some kind of market or something interesting. It was frustrating to feel as though the beauty of the city was somehow eluding us.
So, after a break for lunch to recover our wits, we got a guide. And it was like we were in a brand new city.
Lesson learned: sometimes it’s not a bad idea to hire a guide, even if it’s not normally a part of your travel routine.
If you can, hire someone that’s been recommended to you, so you can avoid the operators that just shuffle you from store to store. Our guide was able to show us parts of the medina that we never would have discovered on our own. It made the experience that much more interesting, and makes the photos that much more memorable as a result.
With that, enjoy:
See you next time, Fes.