6 October 2014
As we walked up the main street of the medina the sheep skins that once lined the streets were now stored behind one of the shops walls. We had seen two men working the night before to stack up all the skins and while the doors were all shut; my nose knew we were out in front. Luckily it didn’t linger long and the smell of rotting flesh wasn’t too over powering since this morning brought fog and much cooler temperatures to the desert.
Our plan for the day included the Roman pillars. We could see these pillars from our roof top and the reasonable weather made today the day we went to see them up close. It was a short walk outside of the Medina and up a small hillside to the pillars.
As we walked up and looked out at the densely populated Medina, we caught a glimpse of something we hadn’t seen a few days, open space. Just on the other side of the pillars was rolling hills with a few homes and plenty of olive trees. I was more impressed with the Medina views and being able to find our riad.
Back on the road outside the gates of the Medina we made our way towards the Royal Palace. We came across beautiful and peaceful looking park that was closed for the day. In all the chaos of the city life this park looked like a true refuge.
We walked thru what I assume to be the newer medina, with wide walk ways, but still lined with small shops, before we arrived at the Royal Palace. We spent a short time there taking photos and when I walked from the main entrances toward a smaller door which had lots of beautiful details I heard a whistle and a guard point at me directing me to walk back from where I had come from. I guess they really only want you to look at the main gate door.
From here we walked up to the new town, with big wide roads and many round a bout, Pizza Huts and shopping centers and cars zipping by. However even in this, we saw a few sheep carcasses lying on the very wide sidewalks. Soon enough we were at the train station to pick up our tickets for our train ride to Marrakesh in a few days (we figured we’d already done one 6+ hour train ride without seats so it would be a good idea to pay the extra few dollars to ensure we had a seat in first classs). The station was surprisingly calm and there was only one guy behind us who I thought was trying to cut in front of us, otherwise the line looked just like a line.
After our lunch just up the street from the train station we caught a cab only a few meters from where we picked up our first one when we arrived. This time however we got the metered price which was just under 10 dirahm as opposed to the 50 we paid Friday. You gotta love when you learn you paid the tourist/holiday rate.
For dinner our guesthouse host brought us some leftover’s from last night’s celebration. For a few days, the meals are part of the celebration and only certain parts are consumed. Last night it was the stomach, so tonight we were able to try it. While the flavors were nice, the texture was a little odd. Most bites were fine, but occasionally there were pieces that were just weird. I am glad we were able to try this dish knowing that this was probably the first and last time I would have it.
Today’s Travel: From the Medina to the Roman pillars to the new town with a stop at the train station before catching a cab back to the blue gate.
Accommodations: La Maison Maure