To Fez and back

From the blue city I took a bus to Fez which has the biggest medina in the world, though technically, that means the biggest medina of North Africa. New York doesn’t have a medina, nor does Tokyo…

Walking through a big medina is not fundamentally different from walking through a smaller one. It only takes some more time to find your way out once you got lost. Like Tangier, the city is infested with hustlers, touts and illicit guides.

The dentist

The dentist

Merinid tombs at Fez

Merinid tombs at Fez

As the photograph above illustrates, I also visited the Merinid tombs, but I am not sure who the Merenids were. The tombs were big and old.

After a few days in Fez I took the train back to Tangier. Thanks to the low prices I could indulge in a little luxury, and so I got a petit-taxi to the train station and once there, decided to splurge on a first class ticket. While I was waiting, I drank some fresh orange juice (only 4 dirhams) and bought some muffins for the journey. It was a very pleasant day.

Looking out of the window of my air conditioned compartment and comtemplating my experiences in Morocco, I had to come to the conclusion that the country was much less developed than I had expected. Possibly due to the fact that it is so close to Europe, it is hard to imagine how different it is from Western Europe.
Things I like about Morocco: eating Tajines and…. well, I am sure I could come up with some more things if I’d really try.

From Tangier I took the boat back to France. Unfortunately, the boat would leave from Tanger Med, the new harbour, 45 kilometers from Tangier. I decided to cycle along the coastal road, but when I got up that morning it was raining.
Just my luck… Fortunately it stopped raining around noon which gave me ample time to get to the harbour in time. Since I hadn’t done any cycling for several weeks, it was pretty hard work in the midday sun.

The ferry

Starboard side of the ship. Or Port side. I don’t know…

The ferry was an Italian boat (it was operated by Grandi Navi Veloci) and I shared a cabin with two elderly Moroccans. The key of the cabin was a little card that in true Italian fashion stopped working after using it twice. At the reception desk they shrugged and gave me a normal key, the sort of key that always works.

Food and drink in the ship’s cafetaria and restaurant was surpisingly affordable, so I dined in style and had many a cup of coffee while strolling around the promenade deck.

During the night one of the Moroccans flipped on the light and rolled out his prayer rug. It was a good moment to exercise my religious tolerance.

The journey was the longest I have ever done by boat: 36 hours. Halfway the next day I checked our position with my GPS and it seemed we were much delayed.
That night we must have increased our speed considerably, because at seven o’clock the next morning we were mooring in Sète.

'Fantastic' is a good name for a ferry.

‘Fantastic’ is a good name for a ferry, I think.


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