Morocco……sounds exotic, right?! It does to me, and it was our first time to Africa! We wanted to see historical architecture and design and experience traditional Moroccan culture so we stayed inside the medina, the older part of the city. We came by bus and arrived in Fes late in the evening. After a loud and somewhat terrifying taxi ride from the bus stop to the old city entrance, we were then pestered all the way through the maze to our riad. When we would first arrive at any medina in Morocco, backpacks on, and clearly not from here, people always semi-attached themselves to us and repeatedly asked us if we “need hotel?” or “where you stay?” and followed us some distance until they got the point that we didn’t want help and we weren’t going to pay for their help. Some people were friendly and others were quite aggressive about it. One young guy in Fes kept walking along side us and wouldn’t leave us alone. One guy walked and talked to us as if he was guiding the way, even though Rob was navigating on his phone through Google Maps. We were both sweaty, starving, and it was extremely difficult to find our way around a medina in the light, so you can imagine the kind of trouble we were having in the dark! After getting lost twice, we finally found our riad (traditional Moroccan house), Dar Jannat, in a creepy, narrow, alley way. The guy who had been walking ahead of us turned to us expecting payment. Rob said no, we found our way on our own. The guy looked very angry. He left very unhappy, but said “later”. I hoped we never saw him again. I was worried about what his “later” meant.
The host opened the door to the riad and kindly let us inside. Mosu, the second in charge, was so sweet and concerned about Rob and me. He quickly found us a comfortable place to sit, and served us hot mint tea from a gorgeous silver tea pot while we waited to be shown to our room. Our room was simple, with a queen mattress, white stucco walls, a few lights on the wall, and a small air conditioning unit on the ceiling. The cool air was heaven sent! By this time it was so late we didn’t know if anything would be open for us to find food, but our stomachs were eating themselves, so we ventured out into the maze once more. We found a fantastic rooftop restaurant just outside of the medina called Nagham Cafe. The food was delicious! Ironically, almost everything you eat in Morocco is served hot, no matter how “hot” it is outside. Although it is still very warm in the evenings things start to cool down a bit at night, which we were so grateful for. It was a nice treat to not be dripping sweat through our meal. There are simple things that you don’t realize are a luxury, but you come to appreciate more when you travel. 🙂
The next day Mosu served us an amazing breakfast before we left to explore the medina. The hospitality in Morocco is unreal! The hosts at every single riad we stayed in spoke English (at least enough to communicate with us on a simple level, and they were very very caring), Mosu especially. For lunch we visited a popular restaurant called Cafe Clock, and Rob ordered a camel burger. It was our first time eating camel and it was actually really good! We had mint lemonade that reminded Rob of Gram and her mint punch. He’s been drinking it since he was a little kid, and this mint lemonade was delicious! It was so refreshing to have a cold drink as we sweated through the rest of the meal. Welcome to Morocco where air conditioning is a luxury and sweating isn’t optional. 🙂
I loved the architecture and design in Morocco; such beautiful craftsmanship in every fine detail, and I am also in love with the doors! When Rob and I build a house one day, don’t be surprised when we have a Moroccan front door! 🙂 We also loved getting to know Mosu. He made us feel like we were special guests in his own home, and told us to bring my mother when we return. 🙂