Ten Days. Explorative mode.
The trip started in Fes; Morocco's ex-capital (as from 1925) and second largest city.
A majority of the short time was spent in the confusing, maze-like, puzzle Fes el Bali. This being Fes' largest medina quarter which is apparently the oldest walled part of the city and also houses the oldest university in the world! The University of al-Qarawiyyin.
Meandering in the souks, studying the Moorish patterns and reducing eye contact whether possible....Getting lost in Fes el Bali was the aim of the game, finding the way out was just a distant thought. Signs small and hidden....and asking for directions meant opening a new conversation for being sold...a carpet!
The largest and most ancient Leather Tannery in the world...
Standing from the terraces, the smell isn't as poignant as most would describe it. Maybe due to the chilliness and the rennovations?!
Therefore the mint leaves were slightly unnecessary!
The leather tanning PROCESS:
- Cow and goat skins are delivered to the tannery.
- They are soaked in Limestone and Salt to make the skins hairless.
- They are then soaked in pigeon poop! The poop is acidic which makes the skin softer. It also causes the poignant smell of leather.
- The skin is then washed in Cedarwood to reduce the odour. This is done three times at five hours a time.
- The skin is then dried for three days.
- And then it's ready to be naturally coloured...! Colours are extracted from various forms of nature....
Yellow - Saffron / Green - Mint / Orange - Henna / Black - Coal / Red - Poppy / Blue - Indigo
TEXTILES: Wandering through the souks... Beautiful textiles spotted against white-washed walls