Back on the road again this morning; first stop is the city of Meknes – one of the 4 Imperial Cities. We don’t spend much time here other than to have a look at the Agdal Basin. It’s a stone lined lake that was used as a reservoir for the gardens of Meknes and also a pool for their swimming needs.
It’s a quick stop, even though it seems there are other cool things to see here…. but the tour says there are more important things ! Don’t get me wrong…I prefer doing group tours, but sometimes the itineraries don’t include everything you’d want to see!
Now it’s a drive up some sweeping hills to a place called Moulay Idriss, a city perched high up on one of the hills.
It’s really a cool sight to see! It’s claim to fame (other than being stunning) is the tomb of Idris I, the first major Islamic ruler of Morocco.
It’s time for lunch and I finally try chicken tagine, a super tasty slow cooked stew with an amazing blend of flavors and a side of rice. Even though the restaurant we dine in is quite high on this hill and provides amazing views, it might have been cool to wander around the city a bit by foot. The drive up and down in the van will have to do!
I’m super excited about our next stop, because I love exploring ancient ruins. It is the old Roman-ruled Berber city of Volubilis. First, it’s time to get prepared because it’s around 44C today and we are still high up on a hill without much shade. Loads of sunscreen, water, and a good hat! Over the years, Volubilis was damaged by an earthquake, and looted for material to build nearby cities. And today we have a guide to show us around what was unearthed many years later.
The mosaics that adorn the grounds are really beautiful and surprisingly well preserved.
Some of the structures are just stunning, like the Arch of Caracalla – the most distinctive sight located at the end of the main street.
Walking through the remains of the large basilica, it feels like I’m thrown back in time.
And it’s incredibly hot, so it’s a welcome spot in the shade as we check out the restored olive press; olive oil was super important to the people who lived here as they used it for food, lamps, fuel, animal feed and medicine!
A last stop to admire the Capitoline Temple, before we wander back to the bus.
One hour is all we can handle in the extreme heat and despite our best efforts, everyone is flushed red and ready for a nap as we head to the next destination.
Arriving in Fes, we chill at the hotel for a bit and then head through the small alleyways of the medina to a quaint little family restaurant for dinner.
I finally try the tagine kefta, which is meatballs cooked in tomato sauce and topped with egg. So good!
Also a favorite of Jason’s, as he ordered it for every meal we had in Morocco. Haha. As we wander back through the medina after dinner, so many locals are greeting us and inviting us to come into their house and visit. It feels so welcoming! Tomorrow we explore more of Fes….