There is a cacophony of noise, people, mules and cars as you pull into a parking spot outside of the medina walls of Essaouira. Is this what it is like all the time because right now its overwhelming (you learn the next morning you’ve arrived during one of Essaouira’s music festivals) and you have no idea how or even whether you can get your car and its five occupants (your family of four and a friend) and their luggage even close to the Riad. Well, it turns out you can’t! After ringing up Riad Dar Nafoura-Mogador and reaching the night clerk (its late Saturday afternoon/evening) who speaks not a lick of English it takes a little bit of time with the limited French you have to work with to understand you need to find one of the local person-powered wagons, tell him where you need to get to and just follow.
We look up and down the street and see a couple of carts with their owner lounging inside parked near the medina gates. We pick one, mention Riad Dar Nafoura-Mogador and, of course, he immediately understands what we need. He follows us back to the car, he insists we load all the bags and backpacks into the pull-cart and off we go. Talk about the adventures of travel…he leads us through those same medina gates, takes a quick left, then about 100 paces and a right, then a left and a quick right and then I’ve lost all sense of where we are. The pathways, all way too narrow for a car but otherwise congested with shoppers, bicycles and the bane of every medina in Morocco, the motorcycle, keep getting more and more narrow. We’re all looking at each other like, where is this going to end. A seemingly longer but probably really less than a 10 minute walk from where we parked the car and the porter stops and walks down a dead-end alley no wider than my outstretched arms. At end he faces left and raps on heavy wooden door… Riad Dar Nafoura-Mogador!
As with every Riad we stayed at in Morocco (I stick with booking.com ratings of 7.