Saturday morning and first job was to say goodbye to friends we had met on the tour, hugs and promises to keep in touch were given and last to leave were Graham and Jill who we had first met in Burgos….seems a very long time ago!
After everyone had departed we had about an hour before the mini bus arrived to pick us up. Just before we did so, the man from the shop came and told us to move our motorhome next to the shop. “Better place, I looky looky for you.” We did in fact move it but what we knew he meant was that he would want us to give him some money for looking after it!
Everything was piled into the minibus and off we set at the speed of light again, Mohammed (the driver) talking on his mobile phone, not giving way at roundabouts and generally scaring the s*** out of us.
After a while, several grey hairs later we arrived at the designated parking spot and imagine our surprise when we saw Ric, Aoife and Emer (Aoife’s mum) just disappearing down an alleyway. We shouted for them, they heard us and waited. Meanwhile barrow boy wars were happening at the back of the minibus, some violent argument had erupted between two lads who haul luggage or what have you in carts down the narrow alleyways. Fortunately there was room for our luggage on the handcart that R, A and E’s luggage was in, so we left them behind being dragged off each other. This is where we are staying. “our” riad
At the riad we were introduced to the ladies who cook and clean and then shown around. It is on 3 floors and is open to the sky in the centre, the ground floor has the kitchen and one bedroom and bathroom. The middle of the ground floor houses a small plunge pool which must be very refreshing in summer. The next floor has two more bedrooms and a bathroom and a lovely cosy sitting room and an outdoor reading area. Then it’s up again to the roof terrace with seating, a shady corner and, we soon discovered, two tortoises! Nigel and I chose the downstairs room as being most practical for the dogs.
Outdoor covered seating/dining area
We were served lunch on the terrace which was a very tasty tortilla and salad and then we had a relax in the sun. Nigel had realized as soon as we arrived that he had left his rucksack with his clothes in in the motorhome!!!!! So he, Ric and Aoife went back in a taxi to collect it. R and A had a sudden and shocking introduction to Moroccan driving skills and habits!
Meanwhile, Belle and Dash decided to amuse themselves by chasing each other around the terrace….good fun as long as you don’t trip over a tortoise.
Circuits on the terrace
The others arrived back after about an hour, the dogs were ecstatic to see them and the inevitable happened, Dash in his excitement fell in the pool….it was always going to happen! We had no dog towel with us, just the white riad towels so Emer dried him off a bit with her hairdryer. What a palaver. Good job all the floors are tiled.
Later we walked down to the main square Djemma-el-Fna and had some street food, the hassling to eat/buy/have a henna tattoo has to be witnessed to be believed. Tired from our busy day, we headed back to the riad after eating, past snake charmers, acrobats, monkeys, dancers and musicians and an old man with a mat down on which were a puppy, a hedgehog, a guinea pig, a falcon and several pigeons. What that was about we are not at all sure! It was a much needed early night for all of us.
Sunday 23rd December
First picture of Ric and I together for years!
View from our lunch spot, storks also gone for lunch!
Breakfast was served for us on the terrace, juice, bread, pastries and tea and coffee. After a laze in the sunshine, we decided to go to see the Saadian tombs and then wander where the fancy took us. Aoife skilfully found the way to the tombs which were discovered after an earthquake and restored at the beginning of the 20th century. Interesting but very crowded, after some photos we left to have a coffee in the cafe opposite but it was such a long time coming that we decided to have lunch as well, for which we had another long wait. So, about two hours later, after being entertained by two resident storks perched precariously on a nest across the way we left and went to have a look in the government shop which we had seen a few days ago. Nigel decided he would go back to the riad as the dogs had been left a long time but assured me that he was happy for us to carry on and see/do whatever we wanted next so we caught a caleche, horse and cart (yes yes yes I know, very tourtisty!) to the Jardins Majorelle. We had a wander round the gardens which were bought and restored by Yves St Laurent who had a house here. It houses a huge collection of cactii and many other plants and trees including massive bamboo and fruit bearing banana plants. The predominant colour of the architecture in the gardens is indigo which contrasts brilliantly with the many shades of leafy green, the terracotta pots and the sky. After a herbal tea it was time to return to the caleche for our trip back to the medina, world war three almost broke out as our driver pulled out the wrong way into oncoming traffic nearly maiming several motorscooter riders.
Interesting cactus at the Majorelle gardens
Back at Djemma-el-Fna we threaded our way between the entertainers again and decided to go up to a rooftop cafe for some more tea and a look over the square and were rewarded for the climb up the stairs by a spectacular sunset behind the mosque.
Back at the riad, intending to go out again later for something to eat, instead we snacked on dates and nuts, had a rum and coke or two and decided that we were all too tired to go out again.