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Enchanting Exploration: Northern Morocco, First Stop – Fez

Our approach to Morocco was a bit different than the typical US-based trip, given the travel distance from Spain. Valencia has nonstop, quick flights and we had a school break, so we focused on four cities in northern Morocco: Fez, Chefchaouen, Asilah, and Tangier. Morocco Colourful Tours @morocco_colourful_tours refined a vibrant yet slower-paced itinerary that fit our needs, with excellent accommodations. 

We stayed at Riad Fes Nass Zmane @riadfesnasszmane. Stepping inside the courtyard of what used to be a family home, you feel a sense of calm. The bonus was an expansive rooftop deck, with panoramic views of the city and Mid Atlas Mountains. The daily breakfast was bountiful and delicious.

A day and a half in Fez was plenty to explore with our guide, Hasan. Thousands of years of fascinating and complicated history are impossible to capture in this post, but a few highlights:Β 
β€’ the Mellah (former Jewish quarter) with the bright white gravestones and the Ibn Danan synagogue
β€’ South Fortress with views of the city
β€’ Madrasa Bou Inania (former school)Β 
β€’ wandering the maze of the Old Medina, filled with workshops making ceramics, dyeing and weaving fabrics, baking breads, etc. There’s a ton to take in, overwhelming your senses at times in the best way possible!Β 

A few tips: 
β€’ ages of kids matters; you won’t find playgrounds or traditional hands-on stuff. Visiting some workshops and souks ended up being more interactive for Jacob than we anticipated, but it was still an exhausting day.
β€’ strollers are impossible in the Old Medina, plan on a lot of walking/carrying 
β€’ family-friendly guide with a sense of humor and appropriate pace
β€’ having a trusted driver with the tour package helped for getting around and for Jacob to have a few iPad breaks so we could listen to the guide describing something of significance!

Finally, the food πŸ˜‹ So many fresh juices and smoothies in Morocco. Lovely dinners at @Veggie.Pause with vegetarian specialties such as zaalouk (eggplant dip), taktouka (roasted pepper dip), and spiced carrots, and at @cultureboxfez with chicken tagine, vegetable pastilla, and Berber goat cheese salad.