22.09.2015 - 22.09.2015 34 °C
Today we rose to a taditional breakfast of Moroccan pancakes, bread, mint tea, olives, butter and oil. Our tour guide, Mohammed, Moh for short, told as that in Morocco, breakfast is not a big meal, with bread and mint tea being the most common combination.
We left Moulay Idriss after breakfast for the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a town that was built by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. The town features the ruins of a Basilica, Temple, Olive press, public bath, villas and the homes of the poor. Due to the town being buried for so long, many features of the town floor plan have been preserved by the dirt, including the mosaic floors in the villas. The floors depict images of Romans Gods, mythalogical scenes and sea creatures, and are generally found on the floors of the dining rooms. The Romans were extremely sophisticated, using the pull of gravity due to their position next to the mountains to bring water into the town. There's still evidence of sewage pipes, heated flooring and courtyard pools used for cooling oneself down on a hot day. If only they'd still been in tact - it was with very little shade!
After Volubilis, we headed for Meknes, once the capital city of Morroco. A local artist showed us around the old royal palace and market, which was full of sweet almond and honey sweets, spices, people and bees. Yes, bees. They were on everything; the fruit, the sweets, you name it. He also showed us the old dungeon, where prisoners and foreigners caught by Moroccan pirates were kept. It was dark and long, containing just one chamber where everyone was kept in shackles. It smelt as all old underground places smell and many of the walls were covered in graffiti engravings by teenagers who were declaring their love for one another. Perhaps we are not all so different as we may think...
We also visited a Berber (the indigenous people of Morocco) craft shop, where young men were beating silver into black plates, and tablecloths, serviettes and cushion covers made of linen that were hand stitched by local girls from an orphanage nearby, were on display. Most of us bought souvenirs, I myself bought a cushion case, and then we headed off to lunch. For lunch we went into the market in the old city and ate camel burgers in a restaurant draped in colourful silks and carpets. Camel tastes a little like mince meat; however, it was so full of spices and herbs, I probably wouldn't recognise it if we ate it again.
Next was a train to Fes, missing our first one because it decided to leave early and luckily only waiting 20 minutes for another.
Once in Fes, we dropped our bags off at the hotel and walked to the 'Mall', where we were shown the local supermarket, which is like a
small version of what I imagine Wallmart to be like. Their shops and brand preferences are much the same as ours, with Hungry Jacks, McDonald's, Nike and Lactose being quite popular. We then went with Moh to get some street food for dinner. He walked us 5 minutes down the road from our hotel, which is on the main road of the city, to a tiny streetside restaurant where we had Turkey and Liver skewers in sandwiches. The group then relaxed in the hotel lounge and laughed about language differences, as we have seven Australians, one American, one Englishwoman and a Mexican on our tour..
Tomorrow we explore more of Fes!