Wednesday, February 28


Here's a wee map for your reference.

We arrived in Fez on the Saturday afternoon after a 4am start at Luton Airport. After checking into our hotel in the Ville Nouvelle (new town) we went for a wander to get our bearings. We also organised a guide to show us around the Medina (the old town) on the Sunday. You pretty much need a guide as the Medina of Fes is a bit of a labyrinth...

In front of the massive bronze and mosaic gate near the entrance to the Medina

The most amazing doorway/gate I have ever seen - I love the colours and patterns and the contrast between the blue and gold.

One of the shrines to the local saint.

Inside the Medina

The Medersa Boub Inania. Fes apparently had the biggest university in the world during the middle ages. The medersas were basically student quarters where they lived, studied and prayed. Each medersa incorporates its own mosque. This one is the most intact and oldest medersa in Fes. The craftsmanship and detailing is amazing.

A cute Moroccon donkey - these animals are still widely used and commonly refrred to as the 'Fez Taxi'

Another shot of the medersa

The Fez tannery - one of the most interesting (and smelly) industries in the city. Leather hides are cured in pigeon excrement (the white troughs in the background) and then dyed using (supposedly) natural dyes: saffron for yellow, opium flowers for red, mint for green etc etc.

Getting weighed the old-fashioned way

View from terrace at the pottery/mosaic workshop we visited, towards the Middle Atlas mountains which form the backdrop to the city

Graham posing as a desert warrior at one of the local silk weaver shops

Overlooking the city from the Merenid tombs

Graham tucking into some vege/chicken couscous 'Fassis' - style
(i.e. the Fez variation on couscous)

Thursday, February 8

It snows again! - This time properly...

Here is the email we got yesterday:

The early warning for snow on Thursday morning has now been updated.
The risk of disruption during tomorrow morning's rush hour has been raised to 90% for the London area. The main area of concern is likely to be to the north and west of central London where 10-15 cm of snow is possible. Accumulations of 2 to 5 cm are expected to be widespread.
One concern is the rate at which snow could accumulate during tomorrow morning. The impact of this could lead to problems in keeping main routes clear (despite best efforts). Grid locking would then need to be considered as a major risk. Other impacts include disruption to power supplies due to ice accretion.

As the snow moves northwards during the day on Thursday, it is expected to turn to rain. Some thawing will occur but on Thursday night into Friday.
Staff need to take this weather warning into account when considering their journey to work tomorrow morning.

Here is what happened this morning:

View from our bedroom window

Outside the door

In the car park

At work

Tuesday, February 6

P A R I S - Day 4

Monday morning we packed our things, took advantage of the all inclusive breakfast buffet one last time, checked out and headed off to the Louvre where we spent the next three hours wandering their absolutely MASSIVE collection of art and artifacts. The building itself consists of the Palais, which is a horse-shoe shaped palace building once housing french royalty, the Pyramid, which forms the main entrance, and then several floors beneath the ground. It really would take days if not weeks to look at everything properly and to listent to the thousand odd commentaries on the audio guide. We were lucky in that, being a Monday, it wasn't too busy and so there was no queue. The great thing to see was that there were billions of school kids and students touring around - imagine going on a school trip to the Louvre, just not possible from NZ!!

The huge entry hall with the central pyramid above

The pyramids in the central courtyard of the Palais

The Venus de Milo

One wing of the Palais was built by Napoleon as his state apartments and still features the same furnishings. It's quite impressive and very grandiose.

After Louvre we had our last meal en Paris....Graham really liked his pizza!!

Here is the massive glass dome at the Galleries Lafayette. We had one more stop over there on the way back to pick up our packs and took some pictures.