This is when using a travel company with our own driver becomes an advantage – this was not our problem! (Although, in theory, using a tour company should guarantee that this won’t happen. Hmm. . . ) We are directed to wait in a lovely public room with plenty of hot mint tea to stew relax while others figured out what to do. Soon enough we are informed that we have been booked into sister property – the Riad d’Or – just “a few steps” away.
That “few steps” turn out to be a good way into the medina, but the rain has mostly quit, the evening air is soft and warm, and our driver and staff from the riad were handling the larger pieces of luggage. Despite the lack of time to stop and really take a look, this brief trip through the narrow twisting streets provides an enticing glimpse of life in the medina.
Best of all, there is a large, comfortable room awaiting us when we arrive!
Since the evening is rainy and we (literally) have no idea where we are, we eat at the riad. Oddly enough, doing so requires that we exit the building and re-enter just down the street. (We find out later that you can get to the restaurant without leaving the building, but it involves going up and down quite a number of not-particularly-well-lit stairs. Apparently the riad has expanded over time.) Inside the restaurant we find a small dining room that is warm and welcoming with a crackling fire fed by painted boards. I have a pleasant Moroccan red wine along with one of my best meals of the trip (lamb tagine with almonds, honey, and dates). It is the perfect ending to the day. On the other hand, Lane is unnerved by the unpredictable sparks and smell from the burning paint. (The smoke IS pretty bad). In addition, he has what will turn out to be one of his worst meals of the entire trip — a reminder that sometimes the difference between a great meal and a lousy one is simply lucky ordering.
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