Negotiating for a mosaic piece, the man asked where I would be shipping the piece. I said “Idaho.” He said “you don’t know?!?”
Whenever anyone asks where we’re from, the follow up question is “which state?” When we say “Idaho” they respond with a blank stare. They expect California or Chicago. Whitney has been hoping that there will be one person who knows Idaho. I told her to give that up.
Fez has the largest medina in the world–over 9500 walkways–and is housed within an ancient wall. Some of the walkways are impossibly narrow. Fez is renowned for housing the oldest university in the world. And more exciting for me, their craftsmen!
Our day started at a cooperative for mosaics. We saw a skilled potter deftly form a tagine.
We watched with fascination as artisans chiseled ceramic tiles for intricate mosaic patterns.
We viewed artists paint ceramics with precision.
Then we entered the showroom. I didn’t purchase a piece after all. I didn’t know where to ship 😜. But I left inspired to create some masterpieces of my own.
Our next stop was in the Medina at the largest tannery in the city where leather is dyed as it has been for centuries: in enormous pots. I was anticipating this stop but dreading the infamous smell! As we entered the leather shop to view the tannery in action, thankfully we were handed a sprig of mint to inhale. I wanted some of the leather shoes that are typical to Morocco. While haggling, the salesman said, “bargaining does not look good on you!”
Our guide explained that beauty in the medina is always hidden behind the door. This was certainly the case when we entered our restaurant for lunch. We never would have guessed the grandeur that lie behind the door. We had a sumptuous lunch. I have grown to love the “salads” presented before a meal to eat with homemade bread. And olives–always olives, which I love.
We made some interesting discoveries in the medina. The Moroccans have a method of preserving meat by drying it like jerky, then placing it in jars of fat. We also saw camel meat for sale–it looks like beef. I think I’ll try it. We tasted yummy bread that is paper thin, draped over a large oval-shaped orb to cook. And sadly, we saw the last craftsmen to be making combs out of horn, on “Comb Street.”
Fez fulfilled my expectations. And my suitcase still has room. Tomorrow, we journey to the Sahara! It sounds romantic. Here’s to sweet dreams of Lawrence of Arabia.