Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday Morning in the Fez Medina

In this week's guest post on the wonderful Ever The Nomad blog, Lonely Planet writer Helen Ranger of The View of Fez takes you for a Saturday morning wander around her adopted city of Fez in Morocco. Join Helen on a stroll through the medina and find out what a typical day in Fez looks like.Here is a taste... for the entire article follow the link at the end of the extract.

The Medina of Fez - photo Suzanna Clarke

Remember that old song, 'There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza'? I was humming that gently to myself this morning, thinking of my father singing it when I was a child. It brought a smile to my lips. Well, what would you do if you had a hole in your bucket? If you live in the Fez medina, you take it to Monsieur Tazi who made it for you in the first place. Mind you, it's a very special bucket, made of cedarwood, and used to pour water over yourself in the hammam, the traditional Moroccan steam bath. I have a couple in my bathroom that I use to store towels and soaps. They look great and smell wonderful. A metal band has come off and the bottom has fallen out, so it has to be repaired. Monsieur Tazi is pretty famous, being the last cedarwood hammam bucket maker in the country. All the smart spas in Marrakech order their buckets from him.

On my way down the street, I pass the usual places and smell the usual smells that I've come to take for granted. First there's a small yard built around a natural spring, and it's here that tanners wash the freshly flayed sheepskins before taking them to be dyed. Mules transport huge piles of skins up and down the street and it doesn't smell too good. Where else, though, can you hear mules clip-clopping past your house all day?

Down a bit further is the ferran, the neighbourhood's community oven. Bread is made here for distribution to local shops, and women take their loaves to be baked just before lunch. You'll often see women or children bearing trays with flat loaves covered with a cloth, on their way to the ferran. A much better smell emanates from this area. If you want some slow-roasted aubergines or peppers, or even a leg of lamb, you can bring it here and ask the bakers to cook it for you, for around a Euro or less.

The full article is here: Ever The Nomad blog

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