The riad we are staying at is a bit away from the main tourist drag, about 2 km away, but it has its advantages in that you get to experience how the locals live. On our way to the souqs we passed carts selling oranges, small butchers and fruit and vegetables shops all with a steady flow of local customers.
We finally arrived at the medina which can be quite overwhelming as it is filled with a labyrinth of narrow streets, motorbikes, donkey carts and wheelbarrows carrying products. To add to that you also have vendors calling to those passing by and the general flow of other shoppers. In the past the medina area was divided into the various crafts, but today, although there are still specialised souqs, savvy vendors have moved further south to where tourists enter the medina, to get the best trading opportunities before they venture further in. If you can get to the individual souqs you do have the opportunity to see the different crafts being carried out like the metalworkers, carpenters, tailors and leather workers.
I was keen to go to the Souk des Teinturiers to see the fabric dyeing, which turned out to be a little disappointing. We were invited to see the dying process in one shop, but was told by another shop owner that we must pay the artistian which we agreed, the only problem was the artisian was cleaning the vats, but still wanted to be paid. One shop vendor did show us the colouring powders which works in magical ways, the green powder dyes fabric red, the yellow powder dyes things purple and the red powder dyes things blue. He also tied a scarf around Ava’s head, she was volunteered for the process. You need to look up through out the souq so you can see the yarn/wool hanging from the roof.
On our return route from the Souq des Teinturiers we had motorbikes weaving around people as they wandered the narrow streets and one little boy right next to us was hit. He was very lucky that the motorbike was going so slowly, he jumped up off the ground and was on his way.
Wandering aimlessly through the souqs we passed streets selling olives and another selling lanterns and other metal work items. While the vendors did encourage us to come in, they generally accepted a no thank you without any further hassle.
We wandered back to the Djemaa el Fna, where there were lots of vendors selling juices and dried fruits before we stopped for lunch. The square is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for the spot to view snake charmers, henna women and storytellers, I think lunch is probably not the time to see them, we saw a snake charmer and henna women, but that was about it. We stopped for a brief lunch of swarma sandwiches before Andrew went off for a Hamman, while the kids and I went shopping in the souq, which was a lot of fun and we go some touristy souveniers to take home. We did discover an interesting street filled with shop vendors selling an array of brightly coloured dried fruits.
We met back up with Andrew and continued onto the Jewish medina. I think the medina was a bit less touristy and filled with vendors selling all kinds of spices, herbs, berber teas, soaps and even geodes.
Natural colour pigments used for dying of fabric.
A mixture of spices for sale including the indigo rocks.
In this photo the little terracotta bowls are actually different lipsticks if you rub your finger on the inside the pigment comes off to put on your finger. You can also see the geodes in the photo.
Of course you can’t go to the market without seeing a donkey, this little guy just got yelled at because he tried to eat one of the bags in the cart in front of him. We also passed one of the water guys who was a bit pre-occupied with his phone and another vendor which had a variety of herbs and spices, but also a cheetah skin, which you can see in the top right hand side of the photo.