Fes

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 

It is very easy to recreate these looks and you can easily revamp them and add your own style to them. I would suggest that you first go to second-hand shops to find these idea because you can save and help the environment in reducing waste. If you have access to ethical and sustainable brands, I would urge you to head to them first!! If all fails an

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Groceries & Cooking Class In Fes

I wanted to make the most of my Fes trip, so when I had a free day, I filled it with something fun and unusual, a cooking class! :D I already know how to cook and I am ok with following recipes, but I wanted an in depth look into Moroccan cuisine because when it is done right it is DELICIOUS!  Plus when my friend did this same cooking class, she raved about the grocery shopping part and I wanted another excuse to take photos of the beautiful Moroccan produce. 

I did the cooking class along with few other ladies at the Cafe Clock with Chef Souad. The chef was very cheerful and sweet. Her English was great and she explained everything thoroughly from food to culture. It was three hours well spent. We started with picking our three course menu then we went around the corner from the cafe to shop for groceries. We walked around and it was a great opportunity for me to take photos of stalls and shops. Chef Souad knew the shop owners and because of her everyone was fine with me taking photos until a strange old man walked in and thought I took his photo and got angry for few minutes.

After 30-40 minutes of wandering around, we got back to the kitchen and started cooking! We made smoked aubergine salad, harirra soup, lemon and olive chicken Tajeen and Moroccan cookies. Everything took about an hour to cook and the results were smashing. I can't believe how easy it all was. We also got a little recipe book! Just thinking about the food is making me hungry! I highly recommend the experience (it was 600 Moroccan Dirhams/ 40 GBP per person).    

If you are not interested in the cooking class, I would still advice you to go checkout Cafe Clock. It's considered one the hippest places in town. They also have nice ice tea and a yummy dates cake :D 

Enjoy the photos below! :) 

Address: Fez Cafe Clock is located in Al talah Alkairah in a little inside street with a tiny sign above the entrance right in front of the Bou Inania Madrasa

Cherratin Madrasa in Fes, Morocco

The Cheraatin Madrasa was the only Madrasa in Fez that was not built by the Marinid dynasty. It was completed in the 17th century and became the largest school in Fes and hosted 150 students. It reminded me the most of the historic Architectural sites in Marrakech because it has a similar design and a patterns style. The design of it was simpler and less decorative than the previous two schools I blogged about. It did not include any detailed ziligi/tiled geometric islamic patterns only the very simple ones. It also consisted of carved stucco and wooden parts. Read more about the school on Archnet

Enjoy these few photos! 

Bou Inania Madrasa in Fes, Morocco

One of the beautiful sites in Fes is the Bou Inania Madrasa/School. This is where "more is more" works really well and harmoniously. From the wooden beams to the tiled, carved walls and the simple tiled floors. It was founded in 1350 by Sultan Abou el Hassan. His son Sultan Bou Inan completed it by 1357 hence the name of the madrasa (Morocco.com, 2015). The special thing about this school is that it includes a full mosque with a minaret, a mehrab (where the leader of the prayer prays), a praying hall and a water clock for prayer times.  

What I like about this school is that it is still alive to this day and being used by the public. During Ramadan, the extra night prayers are held there. Wouldn't you just love to pray surrounded by all that beauty?

Resources: 
* Morocco.com, (2015). Medersa Bou Inania | By Morocco Channel. [online] Available at: http://www.morocco.com/attractions/medersa-bou-inania/ [Accessed 30 Jun. 2015].
* Read more about the school on Archnet: http://archnet.org/sites/1725

Al-Attarine Madrasa in Fes, Morocco

From the second I entered the Attarine Madrasa, I was in Aw of its beauty and design. It was the first site I visited in Fes. It is called Al Attarin, which means perfumers due to its location near the perfume market.  It was built during the Marinid dynasty in 1325. The madras's main beauty is in its courtyard. It is fully decorated and adorned from the floors to the walls. The walls have three elements. The stucco carved biomorphic patterns (arabesque) that are based on a geometrical grid, the painted Arabic calligraphy and the tiled (zilige) Islamic geometric patterns. If you have noticed those Islamic geometric patterns are only used on the walls. The floors have simple tiles because those geometric patterns are too sacred to be stepped on.

Here are few shots I took while I was there. 

Artisanal Tour in Fes Morocco

I turned around sharply to the unexpected loud banging noise and saw few elderly men and their apprentices hammering away at copper plates, shaping them and turning the flat material into beautiful useable kitchenware. After all, I was standing at the “workers of yellow/Saffarin” Square. The name should have given it away, but I thought it was only symbolic. It turns out that each square's name in the old medina of Fes is named after the type of workers who reside there.

I followed the tour guide of the Artisanal Fes tour eagerly as we got closer to the copper workers. We were given a quick introduction of how the copper shaping is done. The workers of yellow were not only the ones who worked with copper, but the ones who worked with brass as well. The brass crafter was working on a really big chandelier. The shaping was done in similar format to the copper, but it had more precise tools. The little shop had brass rings, earrings and little key chains. The prices were exact without the usual inflated tourists price tag. I think that was the most honest crafter in Fes.

Next stop was the knives sharpener who welcomed us with his brightly coloured clothes that matched his shop front. He was one of the oldest workers, but full of life sharpening one knife after another with his old stone machine while chatting, balancing the sharpening and the eye contact perfectly.

We continued the walking until we reached the “workers of combs/ Mashateen” Square, where we stopped by the combs maker shop. He had combs and key chains made out of discarded animal bones. The shapes of his combs and key chains were unusual and everyone in the group instantly wanted one. He was a stubborn man who did not lower the price one bit. He told me in Arabic in a soft shivering voice that he is worthy of every penny and pointed at some various scars in his hands and feet. After he said that I handed him the money happily without any more discussion. I even believed him until he did a miraculous jump to show us how he closes his shop. I guess the scars were not as painful as he made me believe. He was a great entertainer though.

From there we moved further into the small, crowded weavers space. There were a couple of weavers at work making bright scarves. The tour guide told us about the weaving process and to make the experience fun they gave the girls and the boys of the tour a quick turban tutorial that added to the atmosphere.   

The last stop of the tour was the tanneries. Before we even got there we were embraced with the most appalling smell of dead animals and it only got worse the closer we got. I was very thankful for my headscarf because I instantly wrapped it over my nose to block the smell. The torture of the smell was mildly solved by fresh branches of mint that we were giving upon entering the leather exhibition, where we went to the top floor to see the tanneries. It was interesting to look at the process, but it turned into a leather shopping spree after the tour was over.  

The tour was very pleasant and picturesque. There is something beautiful about capturing crafters at work. I was most comfortable taking photos during the Culture Vultures of Fez tours and workshops because everyone that we met has had previously agreed to photos. I highly recommend it.  

Enveloped in Blue In the Moroccan Blue City, Chefchaouen

For the past three hours, we have been in the car on the roads’ ups and downs. My friends were fast asleep from the start of the trip, but I was wide awake awaiting all the blue I was promised. My patience was running low, but then the driver yelled as we took a turning in excitement: “It is over there!” “Can you see it?” My friends jumped awake to spot it.

It took my eyes a minute to adjust to the brightness of the sun and then it was there. Blue buildings in the midst of white and brown ones. I was instantly disappointed. That amount of blue was simply unacceptable. As the road folded and we got closer, more blue started to emerge. When we left the car, we followed the trail of blue. It was not until we walked up a little that we were enveloped in blue. Sky blue doors, half painted Majorelle blue walls, powder blue paintings, sapphire blue windowsills and even children dressed in Persian blue. That moment, I was satisfied that the ride from Fez to Chefchaouen was worth it.

 Walking around the different hues of blues took two hours. It was mostly a clam walk without any loud voices, shouting or disturbances until we arrived to the big square and all the aggressive sellers materialized. We turned around quickly and went back to the peaceful violet blues in the inner part of the town. The stone staircases were many and scattered around. Going on the stairs, whether up or down, held a new gem to uncover. From the quaint painting shop that mostly stocked canvases adorned with every shade of blue to the hidden blue restaurant.    

The driver suggested a restaurant called Casa Hassan. Finding it was a challenge. It was tucked away in a small alley. When we asked around they told us it is the one with the “blue” door not like the whole city was immersed in that colour. They were right though, that electric blue door was striking and popped up more than the rest. It came to no surprise when the interior was baby blue as well. We ordered the Moroccan classic, Tajeen and it was tasty and filling. It fuelled us to go around the town yet another time.  

At the end of the trip my friend turned to me and said: “Just paint it all blue and it will be beautiful.” I nodded in agreement and inhaled the last bits of blues before we set off back to Fez.