The same scene in early June is lush and green, with several parks where fountains play...
...and the ubiquitous sign in Arabic asks you to "keep off the grass!"
The souk takes place on the outskirts of Azrou, covering several acres of sprawling tent stalls, and on this warm Tuesday morning, packed with shoppers and merchants.
We began at one end, and slowly meandered our way through the aisles. I was so impressed at how this stall holder managed to display their rugs and blankets without any table or tent, just by turning them into pillars of bright colors and patterns.
These sacks of spices gave off such fragrances, you really had to stop and "sniff" it all in!
Some stalls covered a range of items, dates, nuts, pottery, leather handbags...
...whilst this one devoted its entire space to RAT POISON, Yikes!
This sweet young man spoke Arabic and some English, but very little French. He comes here every week and sets up his trusty Singer sewing machine (treadle foot!). Customers line up with clothing that needs alterations, or repairs, he'll even sew up a metre or two of cloth into a garment for you.
Meanwhile, Shaqib tried to persuade me to buy this giant couscoussière!
I was more interested in the pretty tea services, the metal tea pot and the lovely glasses for serving the delicious Moroccan mint tea. I ended up with a dozen glasses!
And I was always drawn to the stalls displaying women's tunics and dresses in rich fabrics and bright colors.
It was, however, pretty evident that not all the bright colors were on hangers in the stalls!
The whole of the Mid-Atlas Region is spilling over with sheep -- on the hills, grasslands, along the roads, but it was still quite amazing to see so many here on display, for sale. And I loved how each shepherd joined his little flock together, noses in, tails out!
Once the sale is concluded, the new owner leads the sheep away and loads them onto his truck.
Looks like one got left behind here! I never quite understood whether the sheep were being sold for meat, or for wool, or for augmenting an existing flock, but all I can say for sure is that there sure are a lot of sheep in this part of the world!
Before we left the market, Shaqib made a point of stopping by this man's stall and buying a large bag of peanuts. Maybe he needs a snack, I thought.
We stopped by the side of the road, and out they all came, and immediately began gobbling up all the peanuts!
They are obviously used to this "free lunch" and made themselves quite at home.
In fact, it took starting up the car's engine to encourage this young monkey to hop off and go back to his/her troop!
...chili peppers, nuts and spices...
...endless displays of sweets and cookies, just waiting to be enjoyed with one of those nice glasses of Moroccan mint tea!
This shop keeper is grinding meat into patties, behind a huge side of beef...
...whole cows' heads were up for grabs here...
Then, just as the alley narrows down, you sort of narrow down your focus, and you find yourself seeing very specific people and things.
We marvelled at all the musical instruments...
...the very pretty pottery -- we did indulge here!
And we were modest in the world of leather -- one belt only!
...the egg seller, sitting on his stool by an open door...
Then, there were glimpses at the world of Islam. One of several mosques in the medina had open walls...
..but entrance was "interdit" to non-Muslims, alas. It looked very beautiful.
...that would be worn by the bride when she rides in this "bridal chariot", carried through her town, that is also for sale in the Fez Medina!
Along with all the commerce and the mosques, there were also several Madrassas -- their entrances seemed like a quiet invitation to some more tranquil world.
..Riad le Jardin des Biehns...
...where, with our dear friend, Jean-Luc (who organized the workshop in Ifrane) and his lovely friend, Hélène, we spent a most delightful evening and night...
...in this beautiful oasis. What a memorable week!
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