What a day in Fes! Nothing quite prepares you for the assault on the senses of the medina, known as Fes el-Bali. They say you don't know what lost is until you've tried to navigate your way out of its labyrinthine alleys and bazaars, past stall holders, craftsmen, cheeky lads, haggard, begging old women, children scurrying from school, and colorful bricks of nougat, swarming with bees. "Balak!" hear the cry and you know to press your back quickly against the nearest wall for the approaching donkeys and mules which labour up through the alleys. Laden with huge boxes containing goods, or gallons of water, they are the only form of transport that can squeeze into the medina's slim streets. It is without irony they are described as 'Michelin taxis'. An upturn of a hoof reveals that indeed, their shoes are made from cut out pieces of tyre. It's the centuries-old traditions that really take my breath away here. At the town's centre is a tannery that has operated since the 11th century. Giant vats of liquid dye are packed into a corner of the medina like a jigsaw puzzle. Men stand in them, knee deep, dunking animal skin into the coloured pools. Around them, sheets of leather bake under the sun on rooftops. There is the stench of ammonia from pigeon poo which is used to strip the fur off skin. I can't believe that stuff has a purpose! This complex is set against a backdrop of rooftop satellite dishes - Morocco's "white flowers", as Fassis - locals to Fes- like to call them. You'd be inclined to think anyone in this business is in the money. As I continue to wind my way through the bewildering maze, I stumble upon a community bakery. It runs an operation that points to the neighbourliness of a bygone era. Here, families deliver bundles of their dough to be baked by the afternoon for collection. I watch as the baker, seated in front of the oven, puts on a masterclass in speedy bread- baking, extracting discs of hot golden bread and tossing them onto a pile. His son trots back and forth with trays of dough. It is a production line of centuries past. And indeed, in Fes' medina, I've stepped back into the pages of time.