Finding our Riad within Fes' Medina
We arrived in Fes after an 8 hour taxi ride from Ali, a very nice man. He stopped about 6 times to say hello to relatives, friends, or to snag a dozen dates (the fruit) for Breanne and me. Very kind.
As we got closer to Fes, the nerves started to kick in. We've heard and read that Fes is not a safe place after dark, and that we need a guide to get us around the city. We were arriving around 6, so not too crazy, but no guide to take us to our riad. In fact, we asked Ali to call the riad for us, but he said the number from the website only calls back to Merzouga (where we came from). We found out later from the riad that it was the correct number...
Out of the Taxi, people are already starting to gather, especially when we put on our large backpacks. We asked Ali a couple times if he could drop us off as close as possible, and he did a good job of it. The problem arises when you book a riad back deep in the heart of the medina. Being dropped off close, turns in to twists, turns, and streets that Google maps does not have. Ali helps us out by telling a few of the people crowding around to leave us alone. We depart, and say our goodbyes. It was a fun 8hr journey with Ali.
We begin our walk, and a boy comes up to us, and begins the hustle. "Where are you going? Which Riad? You go to Medina? You want guide? No? You smiling? You will not find your hotel. Good luck to you. You will be in Sunrise before you find it. You will never find it without guide." He spoke all of this consecutively, and I found myself looking at him perplexed, as he was getting more mad. I had my phone out with Google Maps showing where our riad was marked, and the blue dot of satellites showing me where I was going. Don't look flustered. Remember to breath. And find that darn riad!
Another smaller boy came up to me and told me the sunset's this way, and pointed towards the east...
Luckily, after two right turns into extremely narrow alleyways, we saw a sign for our Riad. We were able to follow more signs all the way to it. Probably 6 lefts and 4 rights later (none of which Google Maps had), we came upon 4 stairs that led down into a smaller, darker, more narrow alley with a sign that pointed to go inside. As we were walking in, the alleyway became so narrow that our bags began to scrape the walls. Dead end. No idea. So dark, we can barely see. I knock on one of the doors, lights turned on, and the entrance to the riad was opened. We're in.