December 17th, 2009



I’ve said it a million times but technology has really changed the way we live. Actually, the way I exist. Gone are the days of relying on travel agents to help me get around. Now with a few clicks I can arrange–even at the last minute–seat assignments on my flights booked electronically, lodging around the world, and dinner reservations based on recommendations by an online community of globetrotters. With forums like those on tripadvisor I can be an independent traveler…but without blinders. Yes, the experiences are still my own and I will continue to make mistakes here and there, but I find other travelers’ advice on things like local tipping protocol and tourist traps quite useful. Accordingly I contribute my own tips at the end of my trips. Next year I hope to expand my blog to include favorite hotels, restaurants, and other attractions in case some of you might find them useful.



So anyway, it is through consistently positive reviews at tripadvisor that I come to select the Dar El Menia riad in Fes out of a short list of five that actually have availability for the days of my visit. My only requirements for this booking are that the riad be inside the Medina and that the room come with a private bath.

As I mentioned yesterday, when I first turn a narrow corner



to face brown unmarked doors,



I am kicking myself for not considering a traditional hotel at all on this journey. But upon entering the bright courtyard,



I am happy to have made this selection.



Luckily the riad only has one other guest when I check in so it’s almost as if I had the place to myself.  I think it would actually be pretty great to rent the entire riad and bring your kids on a family vacation. Judging from the size of the breakfast (this picture does not include the omelette that comes a few minutes later)

on the terrace, from which you can see endless white rooftops full of satellite dishes jokingly referred to as “white flowers” by one of the Moroccans I meet later,



I think I am also eating for the entire riad. But no complaints here; if I could have baguettes this delicious every day in the US I’d be more of a breakfast person.



There are two small kitchens in this riad, one on the roof near the breakfast table, and one on a lower floor near the dining area for inclement weather.  It is a charming way to spend a few days in Fes, but I am waiting for the magic of Fes, outside, in its inclined labyrinths of corners.



Shall we go shopping tomorrow then?

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