Do as the Romans do?
Rome’s empire seems to have had no limit, no matter where you go in Europe you can be assured that there are probably Roman ruins nearby, but I never thought I’d find them in Africa. So when I heard of the Roman city Volubilis not far from Fes, I had to go. Getting there was interesting and consisted of a taxi to the train station, a taxi to another taxi station, a taxi to the city near Volubilis called Moulay Idriss and then about a 5 km walk to the Roman city.
First, here is a little bit of information on the Morocco taxi system. As far as I experienced there are four different types of taxis, a petit taxi that will only take you somewhere if they are heading in that direction and will pick up others along the way (this is what I took to the train station and from the train station to the other taxi station), a normal taxi which are expensive (I didn’t take one of these), a grand taxi (which is what I took from the desert to Fes) and a bus taxi, in which individual people pay to go to the same destination. There is always a sense of accomplishment in figuring out how to get somewhere in a foreign country and getting to Volubilis is up there on my list of things I am proud of. Getting to the train station and getting on the train was easy enough. The train was suppose to leave at 10:49 and didn’t leave until 11:10, meanwhile people arrived sauntering toward the train like they were on time. After arriving to Meknis (the first stop) I then thought I had to find a taxi to Moulay Idriss (the city near Volubilis), however the taxi drivers only wanted to take me to Volubilis for an absurd amount of money. Finally after asking the 5th or 6th driver he kindly told me that I needed to take a taxi to the bus taxi station within Meknis. From there I could take a bus taxi to Moulay Idriss. I did just that and once in Moulay Idriss I walked the 45 minutes to Volubilis.
The city of Volubilis was more extensive than I imagined and better preserved than I thought. It was like being back in Italy. At the time it was the most remote city in the Roman empire and at its peak is believed to have been home to more than 20,000 residents. With their wealth generated from olive production Volubilis was home to many grand residences with stunning mosaics that are extremely well preserved, they alone are worth visiting the city for.
Going back I tried to hitchhike my way to the town but nobody wanted to pick me up. However, when I got closer one of the bus taxi drivers stopped and asked me where I was going, I told him Meknis and he said I could go with him, instead of ripping me off he charged me the normal price and nobody was in it. He was without a doubt the nicest taxi driver I met in Morocco and maybe the nicest person from Morocco I met. He dropped me off at the train station for an extra euro and right as I was buying the train ticket a train to Fes arrived so I hopped on it. It’s as if the stars aligned just to allow me to get back to Fes hassle free.