Friday. Started counting down the hours long before work ended, our excitement tangible. This was the night! The night we would fly to Fes, a city in northern Morocco.
Who’s this ‘we’ I speak of? Seven girls looking for sunshine, adventure, good food, new friends… and, of course, lots of shopping. I can’t conjure up a more fun group even if I tried.
It was already dark when we landed in Fes but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all. We were overjoyed (and pretty hungry!) to be there and couldn’t wait for what lay ahead.We were guests at La Maison Maure, a riad in the old medina, and Driss, the fantastic host, made us feel warm and welcome immediately. The rooms were spacious, the terrace boasted a spectacular view of the medina, and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful (special shout-out to Mohammed, who personally made sure that we had an awesome time)! Over all, we would recommend this riad hands down — it was certainly just what we needed, and more.
Time to explore
After spending a short night there, we were on the go bright and early the next morning. With a plan to spend one day in Chefchaouen and one in Akchour National Park, we rented cars and headed to the mountains, leaving the center of Fes behind. The four-hour drive felt pretty long, but the panoramic views of Chefchaouen more than made up for it. Soon, we arrived at the stunning city known for its blue dwellings. It was beautiful, to say the least. We strolled in the medina, did some shopping, and even took some pictures… just like a bunch of typical tourists!
In the morning, after a quick cup of coffee, we set out for Akchour National Park. Just like the previous day, the drive alone was already worth the trip. The hike to the waterfalls of Akchour was lovely (and not too tiring) and the path was dotted with stalls. Happily, we walked for around two hours, stopping frequently for fresh orange juice which we drank with our feet dipped in the cold water.
And all too soon, it was time to head back to Fes. There was lots of karaoke and even more laughter on the ride back, two ingredients that are essential for the perfect girls’ trip. Is there anything as wonderful as exploring a new world with your friends?
Back to Fes
We had agreed to have dinner with Driss at the riad after this long day and it turned out to be the best decision ever! The food was heavenly and it was just the kind of relaxation we needed.
The next day, at the crack of dawn, we inhaled a hearty breakfast, ready to take on Fes. This city is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco (the others are Marrakesh, Meknet and Rabat). The medina here is the oldest and largest in all of North Africa, and quite rightly a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Of all the medinas I’ve seen, this one is truly unique. It retains a lot of its history and roots, which is why it’s super easy to get lost here. To avoid that, we used the Bab Boujloud (the ornate ‘blue gate’ which serves as the main entrance to the medina) as the orientation point.
We also visited the Bou Inania Medersa, a beautiful religious building that can be entered by non-Muslim people. It was a school before, and definitely something you should check out for its amazing architecture and green color.
Oh, be sure to stop by the world famous tanneries where they color and treat animal skins. The smell is quite strong, so take a bit of mint or a scarf with you.
The day after these explorations, it was time to go… shopping! Leather poufs, carpets, pillow covers, baskets, leather slippers, argan oil, Moroccan spices, ceramic pots — these are just some of the local products we couldn’t resist.
On our final day, five of us decided to climb the city walls to a viewpoint over the city. For the sights we garnered, I wouldn’t skip it. Then, Jolien and I visited a local pottery place. This was a bit disappointing as it was very touristy but we did get to see how those stunning ceramic pots are made. The others from our group were still out walking (we saw them sweating as our taxi passed them by!) so we had some time left for a visit to the Jardin Jnan Sbil. Brimming with wonderful flora, this botanical garden was a pleasant change from the bustling medina.
And then, it was time to return home. Loaded with tons of souvenirs, and even more memories, we flew back to Belgium. All in all, it was an unforgettable trip to an unforgettable destination. For us, Morocco was full of friendship, fun, discovery and laughter… needless to say, I wouldn’t change a thing.