Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fez to Marrakech

The Medina in Fez is the first Imperial city of Morocco and filled
with hundreds of thousands of people living in a labyrinth of shops.
To get a feel for the maze of the Medina I hired a guide to show me
around a bit. Of course I was shown the leather and carpet shops for
his commission, but they were all very friendly and not pushy. After a
couple of days I was ready to leave. Shopping has never been my thing
and the constant clamoring for your attention to buy stuff was getting
old. I had some delicious meals and tried some new foods with mint
tea(their specialty), that was enough for me.

From Fez, Marrakech is an eight hour train ride. I spoke with a few
locals and travelers who told me that Marrakech is even more money
driven, expensive, and the people are not as spiritual as Fez. I
forgot to mention that in each major town there's the Medina (old
town) and Ville Nouvelle (new town). The Ville Nouvelle's are
basically what you would expect, all the new buildings, big hotels,
expensive shops, things you could see anywhere.

When I arrived in Marrakech, it was more or less what I was told. The
Medina was smaller than Fez, but one of the nicer features is the main
strip of shops leading to the huge square just before the maze of
shops. I liked it better than Fez, but I guess it's all about
perspectives. Marrakech is definitely faster pace and main strip
connecting to the big square was a nice change to the claustrophobic
feeling of Fez's Medina. Each night the Marrakeche's huge square
(Djemaa el-Fna) transforms into a gigantic open food court serving
snail soup, sheep's head, or the less exotic couscous and other
moroccan fair.

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