Day 1 Marrrakesh, a first bite

Riad An nur, Marrakech

We left home on a Friday night, heading to my parents home, in Varese, where we left the cat and we slept few hours before leaving for the airport (Malpensa is much nearer to my parents house then to our home in Milan) at 4.30 am on a Saturday.
3 hours flight with EasyJet from Milan to Marrakech, just the time to chat with a nice Moroccan woman living in Italy and traveling to her parent’s house in Beni-Mellal, half way between Marrakech and Fès, as we will discover the day after…
We land in Marrakech the early morning of a wonderful sunny saturday (Morocco is two hours behind Italy) and we catch the bus heading to the city.
It’s a short ride, 20 minutes at most, to arrive to the souther part of the famous Place Jemaa El Fna, which we do not explore then, but we begin to look for our riad: a little treat we indulge ourselves, as it will be the most expensive of all our trip.
The riad is on the map of the Guide Vert Michelin, but we soon discover, in the wrong location. Really in the wrong location!
But mind: we are still naive, we do not yet know how to act with “helpful” Moroccans…
And you have to know that Medinas, the Moroccan old city centers, are a labyrinth of noisy, narrow and cul-de-sac streets, with few exits and you get easily lost. And there isn’t street names… And when there are street names, they are in Arab alphabet…
We were approached in the street by an old lady (you can normally trust women in Morocco, but they rarely speak to strangers) whom speaks only arab. She’s trying to help us, we understand. So when she turn to a young guy explaining him (we suppose, as the conversation is in Arab) we are trying to find Riad An Nur, we gladly think that in the end, what all the travel guides tell you, is not really true: people in Morocco are genuine helping strangers in the street…
And of course we were WRONG. The young guy put us in the hands of another young guy who tells us to follow him. We of course follow him. But after 20 minutes going endlessly around the labyrinth, with no clear aim and we the feeling that he’s just trying to making us feel even more lost, we decide we do not need is “help” anymore and we prefer to call the riad for specific directions.
But this guy is still following us, saying he know where to bring us, he knows where the riad is, he’s helping us…
We kindly tell him, please, don’t worry, we call the riad and they’ll come to pick us up, thanks for your help… Nothing. He doesn’t go away. And I tell you that the situation is beginning not only to piss us off, but to worry us…
We call the riad and the gentleman on the phone tell us to wait for him in front of the “bureau de tabac” (tobacconist). Only we do not find a bureau the tabac, because the guy that was trying to “help” us listened to everything, he’s ahead of us and (supposedly) saying to everyone to give us wrong direction. We asked to the bureau de tabac if it was one, but they told us, no, sorry, we are not… But they were!
After looking around for 20 minutes, always followed by the guy, we finally find the riad gentlemen, Faissal whom get rid of the strange guy in a sec…
From that day we learned that never, under any circumstance, you should trust anyone who’s approaching you in the street in Morocco. They seem nice, they smile at you, but all they want from you is money for nothing. They do not care about you, they do not care you are lost. They are just after your money, as a tip or a percentage on a selling or a room, in a way or another they just want your money. Sure they are not just trying to help.
Anyway, after this weird start, we enter the riad, and WOW!

Riad An nur, Marrakech

First of all, there is silence.
Then it’s fresh, calm, clean…
It’s a paradise, with a luxurious garden, wonderful suites, shadowy patios and sunny roof top…
And then,suddenly, we are affected by what we called “The Riad syndrome”: you don’t want to go out any more. You just want to stay there, lying on the bed, or on the sofa, or on the terrace, taking a refreshing shower, or a nap, or just reading… You want the riad be your home. Forever.

Riad An nur, Marrakech
But deep deep inside you, you know you cannot…

And so you go out of the door and boom: another world, another dimension! Noise, children loudly playing in the street, mopeds with their noisy horns, people trying to get you in their shop… But you begin to adjust and you like the outside too, because at the end you know you have a refuge…
Anyway, we forced ourself to go out because we had to eat and to buy the ticket for next day bus to Fès.
So we go to the bus station. And suddenly, again, people asking us, in any language “where do you have to go?” And I’m almost starting to answer, but then I think why someone should care? And so we decide to ignore them: we knew, from the travel guides, it was better to travel with CTM, because all the others companies have very poor services. We find the CTM ticket counter and we buy our tickets for the day after 7 am bus to Fès: 8 hours of bus riding…
Then we head to Place Jemaa El Fna to eat.
We survey some stalks (constantly harassed by everybody, trying to convince us to eat at their place) and we chose one full of Moroccan people.
We have our first tajine de poulet au citron (Chicken with confit lemon Tajine) and grilled meat, with bread.
Bread was the most amazing discover of Morocco: the best we’ve ever tried! And you know why? Simple: is cooked in a wood oven. But I have time to tell you all about it!
Finally we can head back to our paradise!
A paradise with a kitchen, where, for not too many dirham (at least not compare to Europe, but a lot compare to the Morocco), you can have your dinner, cooked expressly for you by the riad cook (whom is normally the woman housekeeping the whole facility too). Moroccan cuisine, of corse! Salads, tajine, fruit salad, mint tea.

A luxury we’ll experience again during our trip!

Minaret, Marrakech

Next, Day 2 Rain going to Fès

P.S. Let’s say I wasn’t SO inspired when I wrote this entry! 😉 I hope to be less boring and more catchy with the following! 🙂


  1. Magnolia Wedding Planner

    che bellissime foto e che meraviglioso racconto!
    Deve essere un posto magico!
    Grazie per condividere questa esperienza

  2. Betty C.

    The food looks wonderful but I can understand that you could get fed up if there’s not much variety.

    The sun looks nice too…we seem to be having a very grey spring.

  3. comidademama

    La prima immagine è molto bella.
    Prima o poi andrò anche io in Marocco.
    Ho ospitato in un festival una signora di Casablanca, Mina, che ci ha preparato il tè alla menta e spiegato come prepararlo. Molto buono. Peccato non so in che scatolone siano la teiera e tutto il resto, ci penserò una volta rimpatriata definitivamente.
    Aspetto di leggere il resto della cronaca di questo viaggio.

  4. Private Chef

    Hi There

    I just stumbled upon your blog and think it is an excellent read for foodies and especially like the photos and design of the blog.I started off as a blogger myself and realise the importance of a good clean design like you have here. I have now bookmarked it for myself to read and have added you to our new list of “all the food blogs in the world” on which we have been compiling for the last month! Hopefully it will send you some traffic in the long run. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on food so keep up the good work and talk soon. Cheers

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