This week has been a bit of a blur, with tons of stimulation mixed in with a series of travel-esque days. Needless to say, its been totally amazing. After leaving Madrid on early Tuesday morning, we began our voyage down to Algeceiras (by train) then to Tarifa (by bus) and finally to Tangier (by ship). The entire experience took most of the day, with our boat landing in Tangier around 5:15pm (Please note that Morocco is 2 hours ahead of Spain, meaning it is only 4 hrs off from the US during daylight savings- Thus, the whole thing with Spanish people eating dinner around 10:30 makes more sense, because their day begins later and ends later than normal countries – i.e. sunrise in the summer around 8 or 9 and sunset around 9:30pm). The only frustrating thing about the boat was the fact that it was promoted as a 35 minute voyage, but ultimately took > 2 hours, leading to us taking a later train that got us to Fez around 2am. As such, we were stuck in Tangier for nearly 3.5 hours before the next train for Fez. Howard ventured out of the train station for some quick eats, returning with some weirdo cheese sandwiches and a chocolate marble cake that could've easily come from a bakery in Brooklyn (had the same tasteless, sponge-like texture, but was surprisingly dense). Here’s some photos:
When we arrived at Fez, we immediately rushed to our hotel, conveniently located right next to the train station. The next morning, we ventured into the old Medina (or town center) where there are several key mosques and the large, unadultered markets that have stood for hundreds of years. The craftsmanship along with the friendliness of merchants was truly a contrast to the pushy Egyptians in their market, which ultimately led to my purchase of a few key items, namely Moroccan shoes/slippers (one pair for walking, one pair for lounging - both in incredibly soft and durable leather) and a leather motorcycle jacket (pretty cool, nice stitching). For both, the haggling skills came out, and while I am sure I could've done a bit better, I am satisfied with the purchase price. For the shoes, the original price was $400 dirham (~$49 USD) for each pair. I bargained him down to $350 (~$42 USD) for both. For the jacket, he started at $3,500 dirham ($429 USD) to $1,365 ($168 USD). Not bad... Howard also got into the bargaining, buying a braided belt for roughly $200 dirham (~$25 USD).
Here's some photo's from Fez, including several from the Tanning Pits, where I got the leather goods:
Around 5pm, we trekked back to the train station to head to Marrakech, with the goal of getting there by midnight...