After another restorative collapse at the riad, I went back to the nearby medina in search of the Bou Inania Madrasa. This was a little gem and when I arrived I had it to myself! I was joined shortly by a young Australian who was also enjoying taking photos. He showed me one he had taken of the mosque, from the roof of the madrasa, and murmured it was perhaps too many steps for me. No. I saw not going to be defeated twice in one day and got to the roof.
Latter, wandering around the medina, getting lost as usual, an elderly man suddenly addressed me in English: “Excuse me, I have seen you before. In a cafe in Fès.” And I remember, he had been engaged in conversation with the young couple next to him.
He turned out to be an Egyptian living in Denmark, a retired psychiatric nurse. It was a surreal situation: we two strangers wandered round the stalls, talking about being retired (he is 77), about travelling on one’s own, about travelling, Brexit… You just knew that he was a really nice man and must have been good at his job. One of those people who thinks positively about the world and people. It helped that he of course spoke Arabic. Here he is (on the right) asking the tailors if we could photograph his shop – we were both intrigued by the tailors’ models.
I was kind of sad when we said goodbye. In his white garb and colourful shoulder bag, he reminded me of Dilip, Kate’s boyfriend all those years ago.
So, this was a good day, and before leaving the medina (once again having taken the wrong alley) I allowed myself to be lured into the shop of an elderly gentleman selling Jewish antiques. Meknes had been a centre with a thriving Jewish population and synagogues for centuries, but no more. There were some beautiful objects. I did wonder how he had come to have this collection, but gave in and bought a small delicate object for my granddaughter, Willow, who was eight on Monday.
And here I am, on the riad roof terrace, just after sunset, waiting for my couscous to arrive.