In Morocco we discovered a new type of place for travelers to sleep and eat - the riad. The word "riad" comes from the Arabic word, "ryad," which means garden. Riad architecture began in the city of Volubilis, originally a Roman town (now a ruin which we visited), but later conquered by Idris I in the late 8th century who established Muslim rule and the Idrisid Dynasty and riad architecture. A traditional Moroccan riad is a house with two or more storeys around an Andalusian-style courtyard. The riad is typically sparse looking on the outside, with walls made of clay or mud brick and few, if any windows. This was primarily for privacy. The dull outside was more than made up for by the beautiful interior garden or courtyard, which often had lemon or orange trees and a fountain.
We stayed in three riads in Morocco: in Fez (3 nights), in Skoura (1 night) and in Marrakech (3 nights). We ate our breakfasts there (the cost of which was included with the room) and dinner at least one night in each (dinner was an extra charge).
In many ways L'Ma Lodge in Skoura was my favorite. Skoura is on the desert side of the High Atlas Mountains. It is about a 6 hour drive from Merzouga, where we spent the previous two nights in the Erg Chebbi Dunes, and a 5 hour drive to Marrakech, which was our next major destination. It is quite close to the spectacular Dades Valley and Dades Gorge.
When we pulled up about 6:45 p.m. after a long day of driving, Judy looked at me like "yuck, what have you gotten me into." She said something to the effect of, "I hope it is nicer on the inside than on the outside." The next morning as we prepared to leave she was wishing she had more time there and giving me a little bit of a hard time for our excursion up the Dades Gorge the day before which kept us from arriving earlier.
|Judy outside L'Ma as we left. Vanessa, one of the owners is to her right, one of the help is to her left, as well as Cacao the dog. The mud wall and dirt parking area in front were what sparked her initial lack of enthusiasm.|
L'Ma Lodge is surrounded by a large mud wall (which largely provoked the "yuck"). Inside is a main house with lounges and tables, a fireplace, piano and kitchen. This is where we had dinner and breakfast.
|The main house is behind Judy, as well as part of the garden.|
|A fun painting inside one of the eating rooms.|
|Another painting and beautiful lamps on a lounge wall.|
|Judy eating breakfast, viewed from one of the other rooms.|
|The fireplace in the main house. The kitchen is through the door on the left. We ate dinner on the other side of the fireplace.|
|A lounge area just beyond where we ate dinner.|
|The fire place with a fire while we ate.|
|One of a number of benches in the garden.|
|Rugs and pillows under an olive tree in the garden.|
|Part of the garden.|
|The swimming pool.|
|A very fun sign post in the garden.|
|The riad where the guest housing is located.|
|Stairs going up to our second level room. I loved the wooden slats.|
|Part of our bedroom. Morocco has wonderful lamps.|
|View toward the bathroom from the bed. More of the wonderful wood slats.|
|View of palm trees and the wall outside our window.|
|Wonderful place setting for dinner.|
|Hot Moroccan salad.|
|Lamb and apple tagine. I will never view cooked apples in the same way.|
|Lemon and lime dessert drink.|
|Breakfast jams lined up on a table.|
|A few of the varieties.|
|French crepe with cheese and egg.|
|Cacao the dog.|