Morocco

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

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