Oh, to have been in Djemaa el-Fna square when Morocco were on their way to the semi-finals.At the best of times, the place is crazy. But when the nation’s football team were scoring goals and winning hearts around the globe, it must have been utter madness.

At one point, the went live to the square and captured some of the hysteria.And perhaps that’s why interest in . According to the tourist board, there have been more than 13 million mentions of the country on social media in the past month — when normally there would only be some 500,000 for that period.

I was there several weeks before the footy.It was my first time in Marrakech and I realised how true that old line is about Morocco being a short-haul flight to a long-haul destination.

Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna square.Kate Johnson writes: ‘At the best of times, meu the place is crazy. But when the nation’s football team were scoring goals and winning hearts around the globe, it must have been utter madness’

The medina was already jam-packed, so who knows where all the new tourists are going to fit, but they will definitely be made to feel welcome.Even the most persistent shop owners exude good-natured charm, and there’s no awkwardness if you don’t buy.

Just as well, too, as the souks would confuse a compass. The owner of romantic rooftop restaurant L’mida told me: ‘I was born here and I still get lost.’ Google maps didn’t even try to help me find a way through the infinite twists and turns of packed cobbled lanes to Djemaa el-Fna.I arrived and it was thrumming; drumbeats went through my soles as I joined hundreds of people taking in the snake charmers, traders spreading their wares on blankets and dance troupes — all infused with a smell of incense.

I stayed in the Bab Doukkala neighbourhood, at the newly renovated Riad Elegancia, with its secluded roof terrace for breakfast and sunbathing and small stylish rooms with carved wood and hand-laid tiles.

As the sister property of La Maison Arabe, a hotel as dug into the history of Marrakech as Churchill’s favourite La Mamounia, it was the perfect spot to feel plugged in to the rhythms of the city — and to enjoy a hammam in the spa.Top tip on the hammam front: abandon all British reserve before stripping off and keep your eyes closed for a routine of black soap, full (I do mean full) body scrub with a rough glove, lots of hosing down, the heat of a steam room and a massage, after which you’ll understand why it is a weekly ritual here.

Kate’s hotel in Marrakech’s Bab Doukkala neighbourhood – the newly renovated Riad Elegancia

Morocco fans celebrate their team’s success in Qatar – they came fourth overall