By the time we got to Fes, we’d already experienced a roller coaster. In Marrakesh, we learned to put our guard up and keep Morocco at a distance while in Meknes, we’d been lured back in. Our first sense that things were about to change again for the worse, happened when chatting up a cab driver on the way to the train station in Meknes. When he cheerfully asked where we were going next and heard our response, he frowned. “Oh… that’s too bad”.
No Culinary Paradise
After checking into our hostel, we decided our first mission would be to find a bite to eat, asking the hostel for recommendations. They warned us that our food options would be sparse and suggested we buy the dinner cooked by the hostel. Thinking we knew better, we set out with empty stomachs sure we’d stumble upon something. Unfortunately for us, Fes does not seem to abound in food options. Thus far we had been able to easily find places to eat but Fes had little in the way of restaurants. Though there were particular areas we were told we should go, we only found a paltry few after a long search and were unimpressed by the quality or prices. Markets abound but if you’re not able to cook for yourself, good luck.
Moving on, we decided to explore the medina. As Fes is the most intact medieval city in the Arab (or maybe the whole?) world, we had high hopes to discover its charms. What we were greeted with instead is a city with a conflicted relationship with its tourists. Having only recently opened its international airport, Fes has become an incredibly popular tourist destination perhaps before it was ready. Just walking down the street, we faced aggression (verbal and physical) from random people that made it clear, we weren’t exactly welcome. This went far beyond the everyday salesman hassles we’d usually encountered.
Getting Out and Away
Not wanting to overstay our (seeming lack of) welcome, we grabbed a cab and headed away from the medina. After spending the evening sipping mint tea (not sick of it yet!) at a French themed cafe, we called it a day and returned to the hostel: in for the the night.
Though I’ve heard other people say they loved Fes (usually for the famous ceramics school), I can’t agree. Only 45 mins away, Meknes was a much better choice for me for the architecture, the food, the cost… everything. As for Fes, I doubt I’ll ever go back.
Have you been to Fes? What did you think?