Freezing in Fez
Fez Travel Blog› entry 26 of 38 › view all entries
Fes is one of Morocco's Imperial cities, and was founded in 789 AD ... growing to be the largest city in the world (it is believed) around 1170 to 1180 AD. Today the old city is a tourist magnet ... it is full of alleyways packed with just about everything you can imagine, eg. spices, meat, hardware etc.
It is also home to a cooperative tannery where leather is cured naturally using products like pigeon droppings then coloured with natural dyes.
While the old city is always bursting with people and energy, the architecture is largely plain but it is dotted with mosques and theological colleges which are architectural marvels (with their fine wood carvings and mosaic). This is quite a contrast to Old Sana'a where every building comes with the wow-factor on its exterior.
At a working class (?) hammam
It is winter ... it is wet and freezing ... for the first time ever I've worn my Arab scarf-headress on my head. The scarf is from Yemen, the Gulf and the Levant. It is rather out of place in North Africa.
With the cold weather I decided to go to my local hammam not far from the hotel. It was marked only in Arabic together with the hours for men vs women. The women have the afternoon while the men have the evening when we need it most due to the cold.
While the sign said the men's session begins at 9:00pm, I stood outside the hammam with a growing queue till about 10:00pm. Women dribbled out of the hammam with their bathing paraphenalia (eg. stool, bucket, water scoop, towel etc). Men are just happy with their towels and toileteries.
When we were finally allowed in, it was a frenzy of activity inside ... everyone was filling up buckets (made from old tyres) of hot water ... there were limited taps in this hammam. Then the crowd started washing themselves (but some elected to be washed by the staff). It was quite a sight with three generations of people ... young and old, blind and sighted, body-beautiful and deformed ... oh! the humanity!