The Color of Fes

The color of Marrakech is burnt sienna.  The color of Chefchaouen is blue.  The color of Fes is yellow ocre.  At least it was at twilight.

This was my second trip to Fes (See first trip to Fes here).  We went without the kids which meant that we could walk ’til we dropped, at night nonetheless!  Fes is just not possible with a stroller or anyone of the toddler variety.  We also chose not to use a guide this time.  Most folks say that you really need a guide to get around Fes.  It’s easy to get disoriented, difficult to find landmarks, and without a guide, you are a magnet for unwanted attention.  These things are all true, but I just couldn’t stand the thought of being tethered to a guide during my precious hours of freedom.  We couldn’t have made a better decision.

While we wasted a lot of time trying to find some garden that we never reached, we saw these things on the way:

A famous fountain. I don’t know the name because I didn’t have a guide.  Wait, Google knows.  It’s Fontaine Nejjarine.

One of the thousands of examples of Fassi craftsmanship.

It’s easy to miss these things overhead while trying to avoid uneven pavement under your feet.

Carved cedar

And then something amazing happened.  We stumbled on an incredible restaurant.  There were signs everywhere in the medina, so naturally, we dismissed the place as a tourist trap.  But we were hungry and lost and we couldn’t even find a place that served food.  So we followed the signs through the winding alleys and it led us to The Ruined Garden.  If you’re reading this right now from your Fassi riad and are considering what you might eat tonight, run, don’t walk to The Ruined Garden.  Yes, your riad’s chef will serve a delicious Moroccan cous cous, but this place is special.  We ate by this outdoor fire:

And our feet walked on this distressed tile:

And I had a piping hot chickpea and artichoke tajine with saffron.  Matt had an onion pie.  There were lots of Moroccan classics with a twist.  Lots of vegetarian options.  Lots of creative dishes you’ve never heard of before using local ingredients. Matt ordered a coke, but traded it for a date and orange blossom milk once he tasted mine.  All around, a magical night.

The next day we resolved to get lost some more.

The copper forgers hammer to a funky beat, turning potentially obnoxious noise into music.

Some rugs tempting Matt.

Some nougat tempting me.

Some bottles of unknown liquids tempting no one, but makes a great picture, eh?

Another fountain.

Another Mosque

Another rooftop photo.

Fes, I don’t know if we will meet again.  But you were definitely worth a second try.