Marrakech and Fez - the Imperial Cities

Dates for 2018 to be confirmed

I miss Istanbul and when I was in Marrakech last month I decided to develop and expand my Moroccan Adventure to include all four Imperial Cities as a consolation. It is stressful to keep changing hotels so we will spend 4 nights in Marrakech and 4 in Fez, breaking our journey with a day and night in Rabat. We will make a trip from Fez to visit Meknes, the other Imperial City.

Fez is the Imperial City where time seems to have stood still. The Medina with its labyrinth of steep, winding alleys is intact because it is an Unesco World Heritage site and some 9500 streets and alleys are there waiting to be explored. In the oldest part, El Bali, there is the Al Karouine university, founded in 859, and the famous Chouara tanning works which were started in the 11th C. The streets resound as the brass and copper cooking pots are being hammered into shape and the scent of spices mingle with the rose and orange flowers. After this assault on the senses we will welcome the cool calm of our Riad, an oasis in the frenetic, colourful hullabaloo. Fez is the food capital of Morocco and we will indulge in great feasts, sample some judiciously selected street food, and try home-cooking with a local family.

Marrakech is magical city. The pink and turquoise walls and buildings shimmer like a mirage and the shady tiled courtyards and gently-splashing fountains soothe the senses. In the Medina the smell of the heaped, exotic spices and grilling meat is all-pervasive and the vibrant colours and perpetual hubbub are almost a physical assault. The city has many moods and we will explore them all, on foot, from a horse-drawn caleche or lolling on the cushions of our rooftop garden. Prepare to be enchanted, and leave lots of space in your suitcase !

Rabat is the elegant capitol of Morocco and a good place to break our drive from Marrakech for an overnight stop. We will have time to wander around before enjoying a superb dinner in an opulent setting.