We woke up early, before all of the peddlers and shops began selling their wares. Usually the entire medina (walled town) is full of items designed to thin your wallet.
We were not interested in trinkets or crafts, but the blue paint.
This town is like no other.
I could see why Eric Clapton is looking to move here (based on the unsubstantiated rumor read on the internets).
We practically had the town to ourselves, besides those who have gone out for bread.
The town matches Eric's eyes.
After breakfast at our riad Lahsen picked us up at the source (the spring) and we began the four hour drive to Fes, with several stops planned along the route, we didn't arrive at our next riad until the late afternoon.
This is hay storage; it will soon be covered with plastic and then mud.
Near the fertile lands of Meknes are the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The area has been occupied by Berbers since 300 BC, before being taken over by the Romans 400 years later.
It has survived a devastating earthquake in the 1800s and Moroccoan looters soon after, so calling it Roman ruins is no insult.
The most amazing thing about the ruins, unaffected by the previously mentioned events, are the mosaics, which were not uncovered/discovered until the French occupied Morocco in the early 1900s (if it isn't one conquest it is another).
Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of the Christ was filmed here.
Elephants, bears and lions (oh my!) were raised here for gladiator events to the north.
Meknes is one of four Imperial cities in Morocco.
These walls were built 400 years ago by Sultan Ismaïl, to keep the Berbers out. They had a reputation of attacking, because the Arabs stole their land (this would have made for some intense reality TV).
It took 30,000 slaves per day (mostly Europeans taken at sea) to build the palace, which includes a 40 km wall.
Finally! We made it to Fes. Two Imperial cities in one day... look at us!
This is the largest of the four, and the capital until 1925, when it moved to Rabat.
The medina is one of the world's largest urban pedestrian-free zones, and it houses one of the oldest continuously functioning universities in the world (founded in 859).
But for now, tea and a little peace and quiet in Riad Cèdre dàrgent.