Friday 1 October 2010

The Magic of Fes

Once you enter one of the historic gateways into the old medina of Fes, you’re literally flung back into time. The old town is a maze of small streets and very narrow alleys with high ceilings and magnificent decorative details. It is reputed that there are more than 10.000 small shops in the medina. Motorized transport is not permitted and all freight to and from the workshops and tiny stores are delivered by donkeys and handcart-pullers.

A stroll through the old medina is not easy with hundreds of alleys with dead ends but it certainly is an adventure. Our goal was to find examples of brass hanging lamps which we wish to use for the guesthouse and Fes is the place where the best brass work is produced. In the cramped workshops lamps in all shapes and sizes are manufactured as well as many other brass items.

Sometimes the long walks and especially a lot of waiting while we discuss possibilities and negotiate prices, require a lot of patience from Zohra. To keep her interested in her environment and to entertain her we tell her stories, intertwining reality with fairy tales and the medina of Fes is the perfect setting. In the shade of a small brass maker’s courtyard, while waiting for reasonable prices to unfold, a tale of Aladdin and the stolen magic lamp was told.

After a long and hot day in the medina of Fes, Zohra found Aladdin’s stolen magic lamp in a dark, stuffed brass shop which we decided looked suspiciously like the treasure cave of the forty thieves. It was really time to call home and tell someone!

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