If you’ve tired of shopping, there are tons of other fun activities in and around Fes and Marrakesh.
Despite our voyeuristic sleeping arrangements, the Funky Fes did deliver on a nice day trip to the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The ruins of this first century Roman town are only partially excavated, but they’re still pretty extensive, with an aqueduct and several olive presses.
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The Romans left the city sometime in the fourth century after an earthquake destroyed it. Nowadays it seems to be a little-known tourist attraction, judging by the lack of crowds. We went with a group from the hostel and hired a local farmer/tour guide who showed us around. For around $2USD, we were able to walk all over the ruins (save for the mosaics, which have been partially restored). Definitely a nice reprieve from the medina.
Included on our Volubilis tour was a visit to the city of Meknes. We had a nice lunch in the town square and visited the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, who was a Moroccan ruler in the 17th century. This was a treat, since it was the closest we got to a mosque.
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Moroccans won’t let us heathen non-Muslims enter mosques, except for the Hassan II in Casablanca and the Tin Mal in the High Atlas.
In Marrakesh, we journeyed out of the medina into the Ville Nouvelle (new city) in search of something a bit stronger than mint tea. Morocco poses an interesting challenge for people who enjoy drinking. Alcohol can’t be sold within view of a mosque, which is pretty much everywhere. A tip for people visiting Marrakesh: there is a smaller market outside of the medina called Marche Central. There are three liquor stalls there. It’s a 20-minute walk, and a 25CL beer will run you around 20 dirhams. However, the Jardin Majorelle is also in this neighborhood, and it’s worth visiting. This is an extremely diverse garden with Moroccan architecture painted in cobalt blue. Fun fact: Yves Saint Laurent owned it until his death in 2008. It costs 40 dirhams each to get in, but it was a beautiful oasis in the city (and a good place to sneak in a drink!).
We can’t wait to visit again when we have more time to spend in the High Atlas.
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Rue Ibn Toummert
Marrakesh Jardin Majorelle
Rue Yves Saint Laurent
Marrakesh Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
Opposite the Koubbat as-Sufara’