Riad, Jamaa el Fna, Palais Bahia and Koutoubia mosque

I wasn’t able to have a good sleep, but the rest of the family slept and rested well.

The announcer from the nearby Koutoubia mosque called at 6 in the morning. I rose shortly after that. I had a good chance to take a look at the Riad at daybreak and listen to birds chirping in the quiet morning.

I walked out to the terrace and looked the surrounding. The third level had only one customer room with six single beds on the Southside. There’s a storage room to the left and a second kitchen for making pastries to the right side of the customer room. The tiny bathroom was next to the pastry room. The other three sides of the level is an open terrace with plenty of patio furniture and plants. There’s a flight of stairs leading to the second terrace above rooms on Southside. I saw hanging strings in the uncovered area where the Riad used it to dry towels and clothes. There was more patio furniture in the covered area for relaxation.

Sitting area seen immediately after I walked out of our room

Sitting area, seen immediately after I walked out of our room

The narrow doorway to staircase on the left

The narrow doorway to staircase on the left

Narrow doorway to the rooms behind me. The green door opened to the second chicken

Narrow doorway to the rooms behind me. The green door opened to the second kitchen

Standing near the door to staircase, I saw more things in the back

Standing near the door to staircase, I saw more things in the back

I walked back and saw another area for sitting

I walked back and saw another area of sitting

I climbed up the stairs to the right, there's the drying area

I climbed up the stairs to the right, there’s the drying area

Another covered sitting area next to drying area

Another covered sitting area next to drying area

Standing at the drying area and looking down

Standing in the drying area and looking down

Decor seen while walking down toward courtyard

Decor, seen while walking down toward courtyard

Old elements

Old elements

Unusual decor

Unusual decor

I walked down to the courtyard and was greeted by Muhammad near the water tub. He asked if I’d like to have breakfast. Sure. Then he asked what I’d like to drink, I said Moroccan mint tea. He went into the kitchen. There were two other men by the kitchen door. One had lighter skin and was shorter than Muhammad, the other had the same skin tone but was chunkier than Muhammad.

Looking up from courtyard

Looking up from courtyard

Looking up from another angel

Looking up from another angle

This was a very colorful and cheerful Riad. It had almost every color. Painting alone probably would take a long time. It’s a big property to take care of.

I sat myself down and looked around. There’s a note posted on the wall behind me saying that breakfast was 15 MAD. There was a group of four sitting in a corner of the courtyard before I came. They were talking and singing. Then a girl walked over to me and asked whether the breakfast was free. Mr. Adventurer told me the breakfast was included when he booked, but I wasn’t sure about other people’s deal. Since there’s the price on the wall, free breakfast might not apply to other customers. So I told her that I didn’t know and pointed the piece of paper on the wall to her. She then went into the kitchen and said that her friends told her the breakfast was free, was that true? The other two men pointed to the light-skinned shorter man and he said no, it would be 15 MAD. That man might be the boss. The group then left.

My carbohydrate breakfast

My carbohydrate breakfast

My mint tea

My mint tea

As I was enjoying my breakfast, a lady customer walked out from one of the rooms on the first floor and talked to Muhammad in Arabic. Then she disappeared. Later came back with wet hair. She went to shower, apparently. I asked her if the Riad provided towel and shampoo. She said they gave her a fresh towel and there was a bottle of shampoo in the bathroom on the second floor. Then her husband went to shower and came back unhappy and was complaining to the three men and his wife in Arabic. Too bad that I didn’t understand Arabic, but by the look of it, I thought it was because the water was cold and the wife said it was fine when she used it.

Another girl stopped by the courtyard and asked me was there a bathroom. I told her there was one on the third floor and another one on the second floor.

I ate all of the pastries on my plate. A little protein, e.g, a boiled egg, would be ideal. The tasty butter was made by the women working there. The homemade orange marmalade was churned by Muhammad. I refilled my tea with hot water. I drank my tea without sugar. Before I went back up to my room, I told them that I didn’t have money on me and Mr. Adventurer would take care of the 15 MAD later.

By this time they were all awake. Mr. Adventurer took out the printout of the reservation and it had free breakfast on that piece of paper. I told them that they needed to get ready and go down before breakfast time was over.

They had the same breakfast as me except the kids had milk made from powder and they didn’t like the taste of it. The boss looking, man, honored the reservation and didn’t charge us anything for breakfast.

At 9 o’clock, three women came. One was looking at bookings. She might be another boss. The other two went to work. One used the water in the water tub to clean the courtyard furniture, mopped the stairs with a towel, and swept the courtyard floor. By the time she finished, the water tub was dry and a potted tree was put in the center. One was tidying up customer’s rooms and bathrooms. A little washer was moved from the storage room to the little bathroom to wash towels. I then realized that the place was well cleaned but the sheets, rugs, and towels were just well used. I was actually relieved to learn that. As long as it’s clean, I had no problems with stuff being old.

Later we took a walk to the Jamaa el Fna. There were all sorts of people. People with snakes, and monkeys. Music was playing. People selling clothes, purses, shoes, spices, fruits, fresh juices, souvenirs, you name it. We bought 12 bottles of 60 ml water for 40 MAD and half a gram of Moroccan dates for 50 MAD at the square. We also bought a bar of soap, a small tube of toothpaste, and Adventurer Jr. II bought a keychain.

Small business men setting up their dates stands

Small businessmen setting up their dates stands

Small shops for all kinds of stuff

Small shops for all kinds of stuff

Shops along a narrow paved street

Shops along a narrow paved street

Jamaa el Fna in the morning

Jamaa el Fna in the morning

Fresh juice stands on the right at Jamaa el Fna

Fresh juice stands on the right at Jamaa el Fna

Koutoubia mosque seen from Jamaa el Fna

Koutoubia mosque, seen from Jamaa el Fna

Another view of Jamaa el Fna

Another view of Jamaa el Fna

A jewelry shop

A jewelry shop

Moroccan flags

Moroccan flags

Spices. The "white minerals" in the middle are their deodorant. They sell the best grade saffron (not pictured) for 80 MAD per gram

Spices. The “white minerals”, called Alassala Alum Potassium Stone, in the middle are their deodorant. They sell the best grade saffron (not pictured) for 80 MAD per gram. I forgot to check Argan Oil and Frankincense out.

We walked back to our Riad and asked for towels and shampoo. There’s actually a little closet for storing clean towels on the second floor. The kids took a shower. But the water was cold. I opted to go another day without showering.

Then we walked to Jamaa el Fna and were looking for something to eat for lunch for Adventurer Jr. and Adventurer Jr. II. We stopped at a roasted/grilled whole lamb stand, and the man with a long knife cut me a piece of meat. I tasted it and it was pure fresh delicious lamb. So we decided to eat at their place. We were escorted to a little room on the third floor behind the stand after climbing up flights of narrow stairs. The room had three little tables and sets of chairs for people to eat there. Two customers occupied one of the tables near a window. In one corner of the room, there’s a little sink and water faucet to wash hands with. There was a door next to it and it was a little bathroom inside. We sat at another table near a window.

View from our window

View from our window

There was no food transporting system, the waiter had to bring food up there on foot to customers. That’s a lot of exercises. The lamb was served with naan and a little plate of cumin and salt for taste. The cumin and salt brought the lamb taste out even more. The very delicious meal cost us 105 MAD. I could eat that every day.

Lamb and naan

Lamb and naan

We then got a horse ride. The asking price was 200 MAD since we weren’t very interested and they wanted to make some money, they offered 100 MAD to take us to the Palais Bahia. The tickets cost us 45 MAD. We admired the building complex.

Such a beautiful tile art with intricate details

Such a beautiful tile art with intricate details

A fireplace

A fireplace

The ceiling in one of the rooms

The ceiling in one of the rooms

Ceiling tile art in another room

Ceiling tile art in another room

One of the windows in a room

One of the windows in a room

A room

A room

A corridor

A corridor

A courtyard

A courtyard

A doorway

A doorway

When we were done, we walked back toward Jamaa el Fna. We saw small shops along the way. And many locals were out and about. We stopped at the Koutoubia mosque.

Koutoubia mosque

Koutoubia mosque

Koutoubia mosque up close

Koutoubia mosque up close

Koutoubia mosque ruins

Koutoubia mosque ruins

We walked back to our Raid to rest for a little bit. Adventurer Jr. II and Adventurer Jr. III found their new love on the terrace. Two turtles. One big and one small. They fed them vegetable leaves and water, while I was sitting in one of the chairs and watching.

Two turtles on the terrace

Two turtles on the terrace

At 6 pm, we headed out to Jamaa el Fna for dinner. The square was filled with more people. It really came to life at night.

First, we spent 30 MAD for three cups of freshly squeezed grapefruit and strawberry juice. Then a hustler from No.100 food stand walked over to us to try to get our business. We saw two snail stands nearby and wanted to try that. We walked to one of them. There’s a couple eating. The male said it was very good and the soup was really tasty. He spoke English with an American accent. So we sat there and got three bowls of snail for 30 MAD. When we were eating, an Arab boy walked behind us and spoke Arabic. We didn’t know what he was saying but it couldn’t be good, so I told him “lā”. He was persistent. Then a guy working for the snail stand spoke to him in angry Arabic and he left. He was asking for money, the guy told us. Some of the snails tasted good but some tasted bitter. The rest of the family didn’t like it. I ate most of it and I personally didn’t like the soup so much either.

A bowl of snails

A bowl of snails

As we were getting up to leave, the hustler from stand No.100 came over again. We asked if they had sheep head and he said yes. So we went to their tables and got rounds of applause from people working for that stand. We sat next to a man that we thought was another customer. The man was very friendly and welcomed us. He was a little on the short side, a little bulky, and wore a beige baseball hat. His face was round and he looked very kind and sincere. We read the menu but didn’t see sheep head. The hustler said it’s not on the menu but they could make it for us. We didn’t take up on it. By this time, the man next to us finished his food and cleaned everything up. He walked to us to take the order. We ordered beef tajine, one order of mixed kebabs with 6 kebabs and 2 sausages, 2 pieces of naan, a small plate of eggplant, and beef couscous from their menu. There were women walking around to sell small packets of tissue to customers. I just told them “lā” and they walked away. The food was very good, especially to Adventurer Jr. and we even forgot to take any pictures. The friendly guy said that 1 piece of naan was on the house and he would give us 5 cups of mint tea for free. Total cost 190 MAD. Hmm, he was the boss. Unlike the mint tea I had this morning at our Riad, this one had sugar added already. We told the boss that we’d come back tomorrow night.

No.100 food stand

No.100 food stand

We walked back toward our Riad inside the food stalls. Hustlers stopped us along the way.

Before we left Jamaa el Fna, we got one cup of fresh pomegranate juice for 15 MAD at a fresh juice stand.

The Riad was so quiet and no customer was in the courtyard. It’s a stark contrast to last night and it felt like that all other customers had left except us.

Next in the series: Riad, Palais El Baddi, Bab Agnaou, Souks, and Jamaa el Fna


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Riad, Jamaa el Fna, Palais Bahia and Koutoubia mosque — 3 Comments

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