It was lucky that our cheerful taxi driver walked with us all the way to the riad accommodation, because we wouldn’t have had any hope of finding the way alone. We were also accompanied by a man with a trolley, which wasn’t really needed for our wheeled cases, but it’s hard to say no.
The entrance through the fortified walls at the Bab Marrakech reminded me of the very similar arrangement in my home town of York. Perhaps Morocco was not so different from the UK after all ? We were both too exhausted to really take-in all the sights, sounds and smells assaulting our overloaded senses; any thoughts of a quick shag were fast disappearing in favour of a late afternoon snooze.
After ten minutes following a route down so many dark and dirty passages we arrived in the heart of the medina, and stepped through an ancient, tall wooden door into a most delightful courtyard with a fountain in the centre. This central area was open to the brilliant blue sky high above, and surrounded by four floors of rooms leading off pillared balconies draped with climbing plants.
A young woman greeted us warmly in English, offering some refreshment in the cool interior; these buildings were certainly cleverly constructed to escape from the heat and filth outside – it can reach fifty degrees Celsius in the summer months.
‘This is more wonderful than the pictures’ said Jess.
‘About as far away from the Travelodge you can get !’
We had both perked-up a bit after arriving at the riad, and Jess was happily reclining on the giant, shiny cushions scattered everywhere. I was gripped by a desire to explore, and almost bounded up the marble staircase to the roof, which offered a spectacular view across the bustling town to the ocean.
A few minutes later we were shown to a fairly compact room with high ceilings on the first floor, which was beautifully decorated in green, red and gold. It seemed that none of the bedrooms were very big, leaving the lovely, large open courtyard at the centre for residents to congregate in.
Jess immediately went into the large, open shower, where our thoughts of sleep evaporated like the hot steam. We kissed passionately as the wonderful water washed away all the grime and exhaustion of our journey; it finally felt like we’d arrived in a place better than our imagination.