"Prices have gone up the last 18 months" he said. It is very difficult to know what you should pay so you need to do your homework on prices before hand if possible. Unfortunately we hadn’t, as we hadn’t expected to use a guide. As it turned out, I guess this was his payment for helping us the day before!
First stop was Fondouk el-Nejjarine which also houses the Musee du Bois.
Next a Theological school, and a whole raft of crafts places where you can see the items being crafted. While we couldn’t go inside Karaouiyine Mosque, Rahid gave a man stationed at the entrance just to take pics for visitors ,our camera, and for a small fee he took several photos for us.
Pictures of Crafts and Tanneries on the Next Page
Brass,Silverware, Wool, Clothing
Into the Rugs and Carpet shop where everything is created in the workrooms on site. Making rugs involves the men weaving on a loom, while the women hand knot the rugs. We weren't buying... but still got the cup of mint tea to sip on while we looked at the various carpets and heard their history.
This carpet shop was apparently where Dave Dobbyn….a well known New Zealand musician had visited and made a NZ TV programme.
Down Rue des Teinturiers (Dyers Street) - colourful skeins of wool are hung out to dry. There were young boys winding the skeins of wool. They had nails in the plaster wall several meters apart and they walked back and forth winding the wool onto the nails.
We saw clothing shops with everything from the traditional jelabas, to high fashion.I didn,t find a jelaba I liked sadly....a jelaba is the long loose fitting garment with a hood. Woollen weaving.....I would have bought a pashmina shawl but again, couldn,t find one with colours that appealed despite the choice. The men do most of the sewing and you see them as you walk around the Medina hand stitching or machine sewing.
And So to the Tanneries
You could see the men ...some looked very young,... stomping the skins in the vats, cutting away the raggy bits, then laying them out to dry. There were white vats with pidgeon poo for the ammonia treatment where the skins stay for 15 days. It had been very smelly the last few days apparently....glad we stopped by a little later.
We then went to purchase the one thing we really wanted…. some good quality slippers. Goat skin suede we decided. My feet were too large for the female slippers so I got plain aqua men,s slippers and Brian chose the same colour with a tassel. We had to do some hard bargaining - did we get a good price? I am not sure....bargaining is not my favourite sport! There was a huge array of colourful bags but unfortunately ....or fortunately depending on how you look at it, we have to restrict our luggage.
Carved.... Furniture and Other Things
No one was pushy and they now have co operatives so people work making the crafts and it is all sold without any commission to guides. I was overheard joking to Brian about commission and the guy was very upset! Phew ......big ears….was his horror really genuine? I am not sure Certainly misplaced I thought.
We eventually went to a restaurant Rahid suggested for lunch. When I finally got the menu it was rather expensive and we only wanted salads. However.......they presented us with a whole range of delicious salads which we really enjoyed. That was our main meal for the day!
Walking home back through the maze, there is always so much happening…..fruit piled high, bread being made in wood fired ovens, local shoppers hurrying past covered in burquas so not an eye is to be seen. Little vignettes of local life so different from our own.
Back in our room we enjoyed putting our feet up, resting and relaxing interrupted only by the muezzin calling followers to prayer every so often from the nearby Mosque. I think we have seen the best of Fez Medina.....which is huge, housing over one million people! We definitely liked it better than Marrakech Medina.