Dear Alex and Sammy: Today we arrived in Fez. I already told you about our very long train ride on the phone, but I think I forgot to tell you about the absolutely amazing view from our riad room. It looks over the medina–I am not sure if it is the old medina (1100 years old) or the new (700 years old). Either way it is very old! The room (2 rooms actually, a suite) is gorgeous and air conditioned–phew!–with 2 big beds and beautiful art work and antiques in it.
I did already tell you that there was a momma and baby tortoise (turtles? but it is so dry here so I think tortoises) living in our riad–here is the picture I promised. Sammy, you would have loved the way the momma hid when I was taking pictures even though I did not use a flash–she seemed very shy!
We hired a tour guide from the government tourist office here–not very adventurous of us, but the medina is very large and very confusing, and we only have 2 days to see it (Friday is a day of rest for Muslims so it will be pretty quiet then). First he took us to the king’s palace, which is by the Jewish Quarter. Those doors are not gold, but bronze, but beautiful nonetheless. And there are orange trees everywhere–which made me think of you, Alex, but it is sadly not citrus season here right now so no fresh oranges for us.
Next he took us to a ceramics factory. Bauma would have LOVED it, as did I but maybe Daddy not so much because we definitely spent some money here. I got a tagine and some plates–the gentleman you see in this picture is painting the plates. It takes 10 years of apprenticing (practicing) to be able to do this and they use such a tiny paint brush you can barely see it!
The mosaics (art work made of tiny tiles) were equally impressive, but we did not get any because until we have enough money to put a fountain in our backyard we have nowhere to put it! However, I included this picture because this skill was even more mind boggling–this is a mosaic, all laid out, UPSIDE DOWN. The artisan must remember exactly what colors he puts where, and yet he does it all upside down without being able to see any of it! Then they pour cement on the back to hold it together.
The last place he took us was the Merenid Tombs, where you get a great panoramic of all of Fez. The picture above only shows a portion of it–although as big as it is, it is still pretty darn small for having 1.5 million people in it!
Last of course we went to dinner. The picture is not the greatest–indoor restaurant photography with a tiny point and shoot camera is not my strength–but this is a food blog and I know you both love food like Mommy and Daddy, so I am including a picture of it. We ate at a family home that has also been converted into a restaurant and cooking school, Restaurant Dar Hatim. We ordered couscous with 7 vegetables and chicken bastilla. The couscous was very good but the bastilla was easily the best thing we have eaten here. Sammy and Alex, you would have both loved it. It was like a dessert and meal rolled into 1! It is a moist and savory chicken filling, encased in a flaky dough similar to phyllo (I am taking the cooking class on Friday and will learn the proper name then) and sprinkled all over with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Daddy and I basically rolled home we were so stuffed, and now that I am done with this letter, we are heading to bed!!! Love, Mommy and Daddy