May 8, 2012

Marrakech Pt 1: Jemma el Fna and those sexy Moroccan riads!

When I first let the word ‘Marrakech’ roll off my tongue, I envisioned shades of red, Moroccan lanterns, and candlelit markets. Marrakech was absolutely on our list of places to see. Our 30 hours in Fez was a true glimpse of a city withstanding time in the 21st century. On the other hand, Marrakech, known as the red city, combines a taste of old with a modern kick. We arrived just before sunset and were chauffeured to our riad right in the medina and a stone’s throw away from the famous Jemma el Fna square. We were wowed by our riad in Fez but our experiences with riads in Marrakech were off the charts! Riads are typical Moroccan homes with an open-air garden in the middle and the house surrounding it--and they are gorgeous. Our taxi driver led us through a labyrinth of streets to a plain door with a single candle by its base. And once the door was opened we were greeted with a smile from a fashionable French gentlemen who had picked up and left his life in Paris to remodel his very own riad. And not one single detail was spared--Riad Dar Thania was an absolute dream.

Our generous hosts brought us a piping hot pot of mint tea and offered a little taste of Morocco as he offered to prepare a water pipe for us. We tucked away in a corner filled with pillows and candles and giggled (ok maybe I did the giggling) and puffed on the water pipe enjoying every second! We felt so lucky to have found this place because we arrived in Marrakech a day early and the next riad we stayed in had no availability that night but offered us a night ‘down the street at a small place they knew about’…yep that was Riad Dar Thania! We were dying to check out the night market in Jemma el Fna, so we did a quick wander around the square admiring the food stalls, monkeys, artisans, and storytellers gathering by candelight. But after waking up at the crack of dawn to catch our long train ride from Fez to Marrakech, we were exhausted. As if Riad Dar Thania couldn’t get any better—the bed was like a giant fluffy cloud and the best we’d ever slept in. Ummm…what gets better? Seriously?

The next night we already had reservations at Riad Boussa for the rest of our time in Marrakech. Our gracious Parisian host prepared breakfast for us and served it on the roof terrace and offered to take us to Riad Boussa because ‘it’s always lovely to go to Bridgitte’s’. Ya who’s Bridgitte? Our thoughts exactly. Navigating again through the twists and turns of the alleyways, we came to a door and were welcomed inside by the one-and-only Bridgitte—an older French woman with short brown hair who didn’t look a day over 35…oh let’s not forget that she had the sexiest French accent ever. Her French partner Bruno and jack-of-all-trades with his salt-and-pepper hair and George Clooney swagger descended from upstairs to give us a hello, clearly he had been doing something crafty because he had a bandana over his head. His all white linen outfit didn’t have an ounce of dirt on it even though his hands had clearly been hard at work—aaaah the French. That evening, Christian asked me what the possibility is for me to turn 50, develop a sexy French accent and look damn good like Bridgitte. I retaliated and said ‘if I’m Bridgitte, you’ve got to be the Bruno!’ We both agreed that there’s no way he could restore a riad in an all white outfit and look as badass as Bruno. And let’s face it, I’m not developing a French accent either.
{Riad Dar Thania}

{Exploring Marrakech's night market in Jemma el Fna}
{Riad Boussa! Our fave!}
{Christian's buddy :)}
{...aaaaand he's still following Christian around}
{Amazing Moroccan breakfast}


Jill said...

That looks like a very yummy breakfast.

Lily said...

Wow, what an adventure! I'm dying to visit Morocco and definitely living vicariously though this blog post :)

Samantha King said...

You've made me want to go to Morocco! And, wow, that breakfast!

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Marcela Gmd said...

Wow great post!!! I love your photos!!!
Take a look on my blog and if you like we can follow each other?
Besos, desde España, Marcela♥