Rabat was a nice surprise. It's the youngest of Imperial cities and the capital since 1912. Thus it has the biggest palace, wide boulevards, beautiful gardens and, of course, a medina. We stayed in the medina at the beautiful Riad Zyo. Staying at riads give you an opportunity to interact with the riad owners and hear their stories about how they bought the building and what it took to renovate it.
In Riad Zyo, we met the owner, Mr.Ali, who was an amazing chef. We had a wonderful dinner cooked by him and he also educated us about Moroccan wine which is really good.
During the dinner, Ali told us about the building next door. It is an old riad and he just bought to renovate it. We told him that we'd love to see it. He will be connecting these two riads once it's finished.
This riad of course needs a lot of work and we are sure Ali will do a fabulous job renovating it. It was amazing to see the old tile work called zelij and the woodwork still in good condition. It has 4-5 room with a nice courtyard in the middle. Just beautiful.
If you want to read about buying and renovating an old riad in Morocco, I recommend the following book: The Caliph's House by Tahir Shah
We walked through medina towards the beach and saw the locals getting ready for a picnic on the beach. It was "iftar" time (breaking the fast at sunset). It was wonderful to see hundreds of picnic tables being prepared, locals bringing hot tagine just out of the oven, freshly baked bread to the picnic. As the muezzin started chanting, iftar dinner started. After dinner, some of them played guitar by the sea and some of them played soccer.
This is a typical sign in Morocco: Arabic, Berber and French. Most Moroccans' mother tongue is Darija which is Arabic highly influenced by Berber, French and Spanish. Then when kids go to elementary school, they learn Classic Arabic. In third grade, they learn French. Most of them learn English in middle school or high school. It was amazing to see that almost the whole population from street vendors to teachers were polyglots.