This is the view from the balcony of a riad we stayed at in Marrakech. The photograph was taken in 2010 before POD arrived. We decided to go to Morocco for a long weekend without really knowing what to expect.
The taxi we had from the airport dropped us off in a dusty street and pointed at an alleyway when we asked where our riad was. The sense of unease was quashed however when we located a big black door with a beautiful riad the other side. It was a place of calm, a stark contrast to the mayhem we’d just experienced. Our room was wonderful and a roof terrace provided a superb location for breakfast. The door you see to the left was where we ate dinner and chose wine from a secret menu.
Outside this place of beauty, all sense of direction departed you. Even though we knew exactly where we were heading, there are so many distractions, we soon lost our focus. It was a mistake to stare at a map like a couple of lost tourists. Within minutes we’d been approached by locals keen to show us where to go.
Totally lost it wasn’t long before we selected someone and headed through a labyrinth of alleyways. There seemed no logic to any of them. We did end up where we wanted to be.
The best way to get around the Medina is by foot. Other than scooters, that appear from all directions, it’s closed to traffic.
There was an endless maze of markets and the souks comprised of alleyways of small retail outlets. If you ventured in, it was presumed you would purchase. A mix of specialisms covering everything from carpets and textiles to spices, clothing and blankets. Not forgetting alligator skins.
The renowned Djemaa El-Fna square was home to juice vendors, henna tattoo artists, astrologers, magicians and monkey trainers. We were collared by the snake charmers when one of their ‘team’ discovered us taking a photograph from way back. Before we knew it we both had snakes round our necks.
Although real snakes they appeared dead to us. We were asked to hold each just below it’s head, presumably to show unsuspecting tourists they were alive. They resembled something you’d find in a party shop rather than a reptile enclosure!
It was a truly memorable weekend and it may have also have been where POD was conceived. She did arrive nine months later after all.