Our first day in Fes and we venture in to explore the Medina. Our traveling companions Io & H have done the same. We make plans to meet at their Riad late afternoon before heading out for dinner. Kim and I freshen up after our long, hot & dusty day and make our way over to Riad Ghita where Io & H are staying. We are immediately seated in the lobby area and receive a pot of tea. This one has the sugar on the side which you can add to taste and extra fresh mint in the glass. A couple of cookies to the side as well.
We then speak with the owner of the Riad who says Io & H have just wandered out to find Fes et Gestes and suss it out. We figure after our tea that we too would head out in search ... They give us vague directions at the Riad, but within 2 turns we are completely lost. We know kind of it's where-abouts so flag down the Moroccan equivalent of a tuk-tuk; a tiny little truck with an open back space where you sit on the floor. We do our best to describe to the driver where we are headed. He seems to understand, so off we go.
We drive around some bendy roads, chug along up some steep hills and then all of a sudden seem to be heading back towards the fountain & the blue gate, which is where we are staying and not at all near where we are meant to be. We bang on the window to signal him to stop, and hop out while we still know where we are. We head off again on foot, stopping at several shops along the way for directions. We finally make it to where we think we should be and find nothing that is resembling a little quaint tea garden with restaurant. The sun is coming down, and the streets are getting dark ... the Fes Medina is scary at the best of time. Not a horror-movie scary but a overwhelming lack of orientation & unfamiliarity scary. We are about to head back and spot a tiny little sign with a very cursive script that looks like it must say Fes Et Gestes. Yay! We push through the gate and it is indeed a gorgeous little garden.
No sign of the others .... The owner is French, so we head off to ask her if she has seen Io & H. I figure if a tall blonde Canadian girl with a Japanese husband had at all swung by today she might recognize them. Nope, no sign of them. We figure we should wait anyway ... We have a fresh orange juice with a cookie and pick up someones WiFi (in the middle of the Fes Media none-the-less, tres cool!) and send them a quick note that we have made it, and will wait for them there.
We sink into the big armchairs in the library and read through some interesting literature. It must have been a good hour or so later they arrive ... and oh, the stories. They of course got lost, had to pay some young kids to get them back to the hotel, before setting out again on foot (?!) and eventually paying some other kids to take them here. They look exhausted, and hungry, so we head straight to the dining room. 2 large bottles of sparkling mineral water and the meal begins ... An array of Moroccan salads; cucumber with a honey dressing, carrots with orange blossom, shredded cabbage with a mustard dressing, smoked eggplant, roasted zucchini & tomato zalouk, red beets, lentils & more.
The salads are accompanied by a big bowl of bread, with the delicious crunch of the corn meal coating the whole thing. The 2 tagines on offer tonight are both made with turkey, which was quite interesting. The first one with zucchini & onion, the vegetables breaking down into an almost-sauce and keeping the bird so succulent & juicy. The second was turkey with almonds and prunes, the crunch of the nuts and the intense sweetness of the prunes are a great match! Both tagines look a little ugly, but taste great! A bowl of plain cous-cous accompanies the main.
We each get out own little silver tray with a tea pot, sugar jar, cookie & tea cup to finish.
It's been a long day full of adventures in the Fes Medina, but the memories will last a lifetime.
Fes et Gestes
Open every day of the week except Wednesday, from 12pm to 9:30pm
39 Arsat El Hamoumi
Ziat, 30200 FES MEDINA
T: 212 (0) 535 63 85 32