First order of business today was to get our Covid test in order to get back to the US.
After arriving at the public Covid testing site, we realized that the turn around time was too long, and there was a chance that we may not get the results in time. So our driver Mohamed started looking for some private laboratories with quicker turnaround time. Unfortunately, there were none in Fez (something to do with corruption, it was unclear to us), so Mohamed made an appointment for us to get it done tomorrow morning in Meknés, which is an hour away.
Then we were off for our 6-hour tour, which later turned into a 3-hour tour because Mohamed got us a Covid test appointment for the afternoon.
I noticed that the morning sun was behind the gate and I thought to myself, “that’s a bummer” as the door looked dull. I was debating whether to return in the afternoon on our own to get a better look. One thing I noticed was how empty the area in front of the gate was. Normally, I’d expect to see crowds and Instagrammers in front of a site like this trying to get a photo. However, it was just the 3 of us. So refreshing.
One of the things tour guides will do is to bring tourists to shops hoping to make a commission off a sale. It can be a waste of time, but sometimes the shops will show you how everything is made and that makes these tours worthwhile.
We finally got to the Medina and started working our way through the different souks.
Our walk was punctuated by beautiful doors to our left and right.
Every once in a while we’d duck into tight alleys to get to a hidden shop.
Finally we made it to the other must see in Fez – the Chouara tannery.
Hide is collected from meat processing slaughter houses, and then treated to remove the fibers and oil.
Workers work between 2-3 hours a day during slow season (i.e., now) , and 10 hours during busy season. The seasons depend on how much hide they can procure. Busy season usually follows Eid that results in a lot of animal sacrifices.
After lunch we headed to Meknés for our Covid test, but that ended up being a snafu since they stop testing at noon, which means we have to return tomorrow morning. Since we were already there, Mohamed showed us around the Meknés Medina. Bonus!
Back in Fez, I asked Mohamed if he could swing by the palace gate again since the afternoon sun would be casting a light on the doors.