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Published: October 23rd 2019
immigration at Casablanca airportOf all the places we visited, Marrakesch was my favourite
25 booths were open and in service still it took an hour to exit.
. It was our first destination after arriving at Casablanca airport whose long lines of arrivals were reminiscent of Piarco! 25 immigration counters were open yet we took an hour to exit. Good news aside - next year they are dispensing with the documentation that takes all the time at immigration desks everywhere.
A six hour train ride brought us to this bustling ancient-modern city and our accommodation - Riad Tizwa
- on the edge of the old Medina. The taxicab found our street but a "foot taxi
" (i.e a man on foot with us walking behind) took us to the door. Farrida had put me on notice about this and here they were “taking” us the final way, because vehicles cannot drive along the narrow ancient alley, to our door! My travel companions were startled and skeptical (i.e indignant) but having been told, I was cool. “Its OK” I said.
A riad is an original traditional Moroccan home of the well to do, lying within the ancient walled cities. Like a mini fortress itself, the home lies behind heavy wooden doors, is 3
Tizwa neighbourhood main street
That unmarked entrance leads the way to our riad, typical way in to the alleys of the old medina
or 4 stories high, laid out in a square around the open air central courtyard which provides light. Riads are very popular with tourists seeking a genuine experience of the land. Ours, Tizwa, is a 5 star riad, proof that Luxury is not a function of room numbers, but of amenities and service. Breakfast would be served on the rooftop restaurant.
We rapped on the dark wooden doors which opened up to admit us. We were warmly greeted and seated in the courtyard shade. A large bowl of bright orange oranges was presented, with bowls of nuts, and hot mint tea - poured from a silver teapot on a silver tray. Near by, on the ground in the middle of the courtyard, water was poured from an urn into the bowl of the marble water fountain and it gurgled to life. After exchanging niceties with our host, we were shown to our rooms.
My room was on the ground floor of the courtyard. It lay behind an ornate wooden door which spoke of antiquity. Inside a king size bed lay under a large cotton canopy. On the bed was a large silver
Entrance to Tizwa in the old medina
Forbidding but impressive, the impenetrable strong doorway of old offered protection to homes like mini forts
platter with a set of white towels. There were rugs on the floor beneath a high wooden ceiling, ornately decorated
. Moroccan leather house shoes in red and black were placed near the antique dresser. The mod cons were there too, a hair dryer and electric adapter.
The room with the shower, sand coloured, was huge. It had a high conical ceiling and long slatted benches along two walls. I guessed it to be the sauna room of the original home. White bathrobes hung on the wall of the steps into the bath room. A subtle fragrance filled the air. Soaps, shampoo and conditioner were provided. All comforts necessary were thoughtfully supplied. This was five star treatment at a traditional Moroccan home offering bed and breakfast in Marrakech.
Each morning we went to the rooftop for breakfast. Again, every care was taken to ensure our comfort. Canopies and screens of white cotton, like alcoves, provided shade over seating areas with large cushions also in white cotton. A riad is a home, a small place; the restaurant has just 3 sets of tables with crisp white tablecloths and napkins. Breakfast was served by Hassan who brought us
an assortment of breads and delicate pastries (baskets with a variety of breads were standard everywhere we ate) tumblers of fresh squeezed orange juice, excellent coffee and steaming mint tea brewed from fresh mint leaves. The aroma was satisfying. There was yogurt and bowls of fruit and muesli. Every morning we sat under brilliant, cloudless, blue skies. And we planned the day ahead.
More Marrakesch stories to follow. See 14 photos of the Riad below
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