We've been having a funny time since the revolution, what with a distinct lack of tourists and therefore also a distinct lack of income. The financial crisis in Britain and Europe has been rather cruel to us as well, resulting in our family not being able to visit us in Luxor for two years now!
One thing in our favour has been that we have been able to book our easyJet flights to go back home very early, and very cheaply! Or so we thought! We booked to travel to England in June, for about 50 quid each, and intended to book return journeys in July to come back to Luxor. easyJet, though, had different ideas! They stopped flying to Luxor for July and August, and the beginning of September, what were we to do?
Freda, being as resourceful as ever, trawled through all the Internet flight sites and found that the cheapest direct (or even via Cairo) flights would run us around the £300 mark, with the others being considerably more! What she did find, though, was that by taking the train to Manchester Airport and flying to Marrakech, catching another train to Casablanca and then another plane to Cairo and onto Luxor, we could do it for £316. Why couldn't we find the extra few bob to stay in Marrakech for a couple of nights? If for no other reason but to break an otherwise tiring journey?
Obviously, this plan would need some more attention! So it was that Freda looked into the hundreds of riads available to tourists in Marrakech. Then the memory of our first attempt to get to Morocco reared its ugly head, and we wondered if Susan and Roy would care to complete their aborted journey too. Of course they would came the answer, if Freda could manage the arrangements.
You know how visitors to Egypt can become 'templed out'? Well, believe me, Freda had me 'riaded out' in no time at all! Mind you, there are sooooo many of them, and soooo many of them are stunningly beautiful, it was certainly a daunting task to pick just one. I remember that one looked ideal in every respect, but the people had dogs, or possibly A dog. That put the kibosh on it, and I was quite disappointed! Never mind, Freda kept at it by a process of elimination. Each time she found one that fit the bill, she checked it against those already in the running and eliminated one or the other. Eventually, she plumped for the Riad Les Trois Mages. (The Three Kings.) Just off the centre of the Medina,. but nearby to everything that would be of interest to us. Riads are built around a central courtyard, with the rooms emanating off it. No outside interference at all.
It would all work out spiffingly, after our little sojourn in Marrakech, we would catch the train across to Casablanca, and Susan and Roy would jump back on the plane to Manchester. Easy Peasey!
But...........our name is Jennings. That means that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, ever goes according to plan! What would it be this time? A counter revolution? Could the newly elected Egyptian President decide to expel all the foreigners? Perhaps Barak Obama might decide to invade the whole of North Africa to save the people from themselves, who knows?
In the event, our youngest daughter telephoned to tell us that she was expecting her second child, in early August! Of course, Freda needed to be there (no, not at the actual birth, ugh!) and we couldn't afford to stay in England for all that length of time. So, the £50 flights were changed to Christmas, and Egypt Air flights were booked for the same week that we would fly to Marrakech, and the Marrakech flights were all booked as returns, back to Manchester. Pheeeew! Could it all possibly work out the second time?
easyJet kept us standing on the tarmac at Manchester for about two hours, because one of the engines wouldn't start! Bad omen? When we trundled into Marrakech Manara Airport two hours late, the taxi that the riad had arranged was still waiting for us. Al hamdulillah!
I was actually startled by the grandeur of Marrakech, the wide, and well kept roads, and the imposing buildings The apparent cleanliness everywhere was really quite a shock after being used to Luxor and the filth! Of course Marrakech is a huge city by comparison, and the French have been there for a long time, stamping so much of their own culture on the civic side of things. Plus, the indigenous population seem to be mainly Berber rather than Arab, so their culture would be different anyway.
The taxi stopped about a hundred yards from the riad, the road just wasn't wide enough for a car to get there! By the time we got to the riad door, the space between the buildings was no more than five feet.
|The door is just past the moped.|
As we stepped though that door, it soon became apparent that the place was just as nice as the pictures on their adverts and web-site. We'd be OK here! Our room was 'Melchior', on the ground floor, what a treat! Here are a couple of pics:
|A touch of romance, don't you think?|
Time and tide wait for no man, as King Cnut proved! I'm off to bed now, but I haven't finished with this theme yet! Goodnight.