Fes

Crafty Workshop in Fez at Craft Draft

When I went to Fez for the second time, I attended a really cool workshop I didn't know about in my first visit. I went to Craft Draft for leather embroidery. Taking arty workshops that relate to the city, fills my heart with a whole new level of love for the city I am visiting. 

Hamza Elfasiki, a second-generation brass worker, is the founder of Craft Draft. He is an educated Moroccan with a master’s degree. Perusing crafts was a conscious choice he made. He currently gives various craft workshops in Fez and internationally. It's worth checking with him if you are visiting Fez. Not to mention that his studio is the cutest ever and worth a visit just for the vibe. 

Fez Take Two

My friend Samira came to Fez the start of 2015 to study Arabic for a year and from the start of her journey she loved fez and held it so dear to her heart. During my first visit to fez I couldn't share her enthusiasm because all I was exposed to was the tourist part of town. She invited me again and I decided to go again and give Fez another chance. This time I opted to live the local experience. There is a whole other side to fez that the usual tourist doesn't get to experience which is the hospitality of the locals. My friend has established relationships with her neighbours, landlady and various people around. They were so pleased to invite me along to lunches and dinners. Moroccan home cooked food is super delicious thing ever and no Moroccan restaurant can compare. The people were so kind and hospitable. It was a whole different experience than my first one. It felt like I went under the surface and blended.  I am so happy I got to see this side. Luckily the weather was absolutely gorgeous too (in December when it's usually cold) and that's always a plus.

Fez Guide

Two months ago I went to Fes/Fez/فاس , Morocco for a week. I went there for the Art of Islamic Pattern study abroad short course. I didn’t know what to expect from Fes. All I knew was that my friends who visited loved it and highly recommended it. One of them told that Fez was the most beautiful city they visited.

Fez

I think you can pack everything in and make it a lovely weekend or a three day trip. 

Activities

Art of Islamic Pattern Class

Around the old Medina of Fes

Artisanal Tour in Fes

Bou Inania Madrasa

Al-Attarine Madrasa

Cherratin Madrasa 

Dinner under the stars 

Groceries & Cooking Class

Chefchaouen, the blue city

There are few more activities that you could do or surrounding cities that you could visit if you are staying longer. Check Culture Vultures FezPlan-it Fez and House in Fez for some more things to do and places to see. 

Stay

I took a look at few accommodation options there and my favourite were Dar Safferine and Riad Fes Aicha. I haven't looked at all the possibilities there, but I loved those two. 

Hijabi Fashion

If you are going there during the summer, make sure to pack light and modest wear with you. I took six outfits with me. You can take a look at Six Summer Hijabi Travelling Outfits for ideas. If you are going during winter, take warm clothes with you because it could get really cold -London cold- and rainy. Many Riads and flats are not heated well so keep that in mind. 

Ps. if you don't wear hijab, that's totally fine, but try to be modest because the more you show the more you get bothered. T-shirts, jeans and sandals are totally acceptable for women. 

Top Tips

  1. Do most of your photography during guided tours with an official touring agency such Culture Vultures Fez or Plan-it Fez
  2. Ask permission to take photos of objects, shop fronts people and even animals. 
  3. Avoid taking photos of locals or even pointing a camera at them because they get angry and extremely irritated, older men and women especially. 
  4. Dress to blend because if you stand out you will get harassed.
  5. Avoid standing aimlessly or appearing lost because the second you stop walking many people will come and try to "help" you and that will probably lead you to their own shop or restaurant. 
  6. Have an open mind and an accepting attitude towards some of the locals who will treat you like a walking wallet. It is inevitable and there is no point getting upset about it.
  7. Fez has a lot of beauty and heritage so try and focus on that and block all the other negative factors that might bother you. 
  8. Have fun! You are on holiday and you owe it to yourself to make the most of it :D 

Feel free to add more tips in the comments below! :) 

Art Of Islamic Pattern Study Trip To Fez

After my Granada trip with the Art of Islamic Pattern group, I was hooked. So, I joined the group again in Fez for another wonderful Islamic pattern experience. It was five days packed of learning geometric and biomorphic patterns and getting really inspired. 

The course took place in the -oh- so beautiful Dar Seffarine. We started by going on an artisanal tour around Fez and meeting the local crafters. Then we visited three lovely traditional Islamic Schools: Cherratin MadrasaBou Inania Madrasa and Alattarine Madrasa. The visits were informative and full of inspiration. Between those visits and the tours, we had lessons with Richard who taught us the construction of a few geometric patterns and with Adam who taught us a couple of biomorphic patterns. On the last day, we attended a zilige/ Moroccan mosaic workshop and each of us ended up with a handmade tile.

The experience was wonderful and everyone on the group was very creative and great to be around. I can't wait till the next trip :)  

PS. During the course I stayed in Riad Fes Aicha

Full gallery from the trip on the Art of Islamic Pattern website.

Hotel in Fez, Riad Fes Aicha

When I was in Fez, I spent a week at Riad Fes Aicha. It is a little lovely gem in Fez. It looks better than the pictures on booking.com and on trip advisor . I really enjoyed my stay there. The location was perfect. It was exactly at the taxi drop off point of the old Madina. There is a tiny alleyway that leads to it. It was straightforward though. It is close to everything. The service was great.

My room was really nice. I had the top floor room next to the terrace. I loved the view of Fez from the terrace.  I enjoyed their breakfast. It was a selection of breads and jams. The first half of the week I had it in the courtyard, but then on the terrace because I wanted to enjoy the view and the sunshine. They can arrange dinners and other services as well. I had a lovely dinner under the stars there. If I go to fez again, I will surly go there. I found it safe and friendly for a solo female traveller.

Dar Seffarine in Fes, Morocco

The Islamic Pattern course I did in Fez took place in the -oh- so beautiful Dar Seffarine. It was such a great venue restored by the owner Alaa, an Iraqi architect, that moved with his wife Kate to Fez few years ago. The Dar is two minutes off the Seffarine square in a tiny alleyway. Once you enter, you are welcomed with the gorgeous unexpected courtyard. There are two big rooms downstairs along with a courtyard bathroom and the kitchen. There are more rooms upstairs.

I had lunch everyday of the week there and every day they served something new. Their food was delicious. It was hands down the nicest food I had in the week I spent in Fez. It was a mix of Moroccan, Iraqi and modern food.

They also have a terrace with a view of the old medina of Fez. That view and their mint tea were the perfect combination for an evening of relaxation. Dar Seffarine was one of my trip's highlights. I keep recommending it to my friends. It is very suitable for a weekend, where you can just stay in the Dar away from the hustle of the Medina.

Dinner under the stars in Fes, Morocco

I have loved looking at the stars for the longest time. When I was a child, my family and I went to Meddina. It is located in the West of Saudi and we used to take the bus to go there. The bus passed through the desert for hours taking us from the East to the West of the country.  One of the strongest memories I have from those trips was the stars and how they filled the dark desert skies with sparkles.

When I was in Fes, I was happy to repeat that memory and dine under the changing colours of the sky & the stars. I didn't have to go far for this experience, I just asked my hotel, Riad Fes Aicha, if I can have dinner in the terrace and they arranged an elaborate delicious one for 200 Moroccan Dirhams per person, which equals 14 GBP. It was one of my favourite nights in Fes and from that point on I was hooked on the terrace and went there for breakfast, tea and star gazing.  

Six Summer Hijabi Outfits for Traveling

Happy Summer days lovelies! 

I hope everyone is having a good summer full of adventures and days out. I find it hard to be outdoors during summer at times because I wear the headscarf & keep my body covered, which can be challenging when the temperature reaches 30 C & above. In May, I went to Fes, Morocco. It was only the start of summer there and the heat was bearable, but it was still HOT. I knew it would be hot before I even got there, so I packed accordingly. I was there for a week and had 20KG of luggage allowance, so I had the luxury of packing six outfits, one pair of walking shoes (from Clarks) & three jersey hijabs (I got them from Kuwait) . All very summery, cottony, airy & cooling. To add a little something to the outfits, I took four long chain necklaces with me and one bright orange nail polish (from the body shop). I think as far as modest/hijabi summer wear goes the outfits worked a treat. All the outfit details are under the images. Hope you can find these outfit ideas helpful.

Enjoy your hijabi holidays ladies :D 

Credit: 
Big thanks to the travel photographer & designer Piotr Fedorczyk for taking the first five awesome photos 

PS. I know my poses need some work. Will do better next time! :D