Mischief in Fez

Inner courtyard of a riad in Fez

When I was a kid we had a ton of books. There was one story that I especially loved called Mischief in Fez, which was full of djinns, and animals that could talk and shape shift, and of course, lots of mischief and guess where it was??

I didn’t even know Fez was an actual place until I was much, much older. (Embarrassingly older, like mid-twenties.) However, when my sister was living in the south of Spain and we had the opportunity to plan a quick trip to Morocco, naturally we made a beeline to Fez.

On the ferry to Tangier with my sister.

We took the ferry from Malaga, Spain to Tangier, Morocco and boarded a train to Fez, which is not as well touristed as some of the other cities in Morocco like Marrakesh and Casablanca. On the train a young man sat next to us and talked about maps and his architecture degree and some other random things. When he got up to go to the restroom a couple of other guys quickly came up to us to express their concern that we were being conned. I’m not 100% sure how the first fellow was trying to con us (maybe it hadn’t happened yet) but the other two guys weren’t helping matters as they seemed like the more suspicious characters. In the end, we stared blankly enough at all of them that whoever was conning whom must have moved on to likelier prospects.

The Riad

Eventually, we made it to our riad, after a winding, maze-like trek into the old town.

Riads are traditional Moroccan homes that have an interior courtyard. Here’s ours.
This is the view into the courtyard from the second floor where our room was. An open balcony ran along the entire second floor.

The courtyard of our riad was super charming, and the proprietors were exceedingly welcoming and nice! They gave us refreshing cold tea when we arrived and we had a delicious breakfast there the next morning.

Yummy breakfast of coffee, tea, flatbread and little containers of relishes and spreads.

Our room however, was unbearable. There was only one window and it was a small one, just above our door – opening at a slant, toward the inner courtyard. We had no fan, no breeze, no air conditioning; and the nights were HOT.

I’ve never been in a coffin before, but I feel like this might come close.

Before bed we hosed ourselves off in the shower so we could get in bed with wet hair. Yep, our shower was a hose: a single hose in the same room with the toilet. No water pressure or anything, just, you know – a garden hose.

It’s fine! We weren’t there to hang in the room anyway.

Old Town

Fez has an ‘old town’ which is made up of narrow lanes, traditional architecture, gurgling tiled fountains, market stalls, stray animals, and all the other things you think an old world city would be made up of.

Gates leading into the old town.

There’s no specific dress code for visitor’s and we weren’t expected to cover up completely. But we were encouraged to dress conservatively to avoid drawing attention to ourselves, especially in the old town. So we wore pants under dresses and made sure to keep our shoulders covered. After all, when in Rome…I mean, Fez…

Narrow passages with high walls made it very hard to keep your bearings in the residential section of old town even if you have a superior sense of direction, which I don’t.
Market street in old town
The goods “truck” barely making it through the market
Where the “trucks” don’t fit – they have more old school ways to get the goods in. 🙂
Could I interest you in some dusty pig’s feet?
Visitors can still see traditional Moroccan satellite networks dotting the rooftops of the old town.

The City

The ‘new town’ (aka the city) didn’t feel all that special to me but we also didn’t spend a lot of time in it as we’d opted to stay in a traditional riad which are mostly in the old town.

We did go to a spa there and that experience was anything but ordinary. You can read about it here.

City view of Fez

Also, everything in Fez is super blurry and out of focus. Couldn’t be my camera skillz, must be a mischievous djinn at work. 😉

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4 Replies to “Mischief in Fez”




  2. Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it. 😀

  3. […] my sister and I were in Fez, we met a cool British couple, James and […]

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