From the luscious oasis to a mountain gite

So it’s been about a week since I last posted and rather than try fit in everything that I did and saw in one post I’m gonna split it into two, especially as I’ve so many photos as well, would be a terrible shame not to put them all up, ha. So in my last post we had just arrived in the Todra Gorge. After an afternoon of relaxation we went for a lovely river walk passing through the oasis that sits in between the mountains. We saw a massive beetle scurry across our path and wild mushrooms of various sizes underneath a fallen tree. We passed under lots of palm trees and by plenty of impressive vegetable lots, it was very peaceful and a little cooler than earlier in the day. We were driven over to another part of the gorge where families were having picnics and children were learning how to rock climb, very brave. We had dinner back at our hotel, I opted for the spaghetti bolognese and we had some mint tea to end our night.

The next morning we got up and had a lovely buffet style breakfast served on our own table, we even had some Nutella, woohoo. We drove to a lovely viewpoint and we also stopped for a view of the road of a thousand kasbahs where we caught a glimpse of a few impressive kasbahs. On our way to lunch at Ouarzazate we passed by a small pick up truck filled with a soccer team heading to a match, only in Morocco :D. I had a chicken pastilla for lunch, it was massive, and a creme caramel for dessert. We passed by the Atlas Studios also and I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to go in and take a tour of it, it was more of a passing glance than anything else. I’ll just have to come back again someday.

We drove to Ait Ben Haddou where we checked into our hotel, La Rose du Sable, where we discovered another pool, we were like kids in a sweet shop when we saw it. We got straight into the pool once we were checked in and we relaxed for the afternoon. Before we met for our walk up the Kasbah I got an ice-cream in a nearby shop, to demonstrate just how damn hot it was there, my ice-cream didn’t make it five minutes, it slid right off the lollipop stick just before I got to my hotel room, I was devastated, haha. Anyways, later on we walked up through the windy, quiet streets of the kasbah Ait Ben Haddou to the 9th century building on top for some beautiful views on top. The film The Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed here. We passed by a few little shops and under some lovely tunnelled alleyways too.

Afterwards we visited a rug co-op where we watched some local women weaving rugs by hand and we were shown some rugs from the low, middle and high Atlas mountains. I found a rug that I absolutely fell in love with and I was quoted 2800 dirham to begin with, I eventually got it for 2200 dirham, which worked out at about E205. They managed to roll it up into the tiniest little package and he wrote my name in Arabic on it also. I was happy out as a rug was high on my list of what I wanted to buy in Morocco. As you can see above it fits in just nicely with my slippers and the pouff from Fes too. 😀

Back at the hotel we put our chef hats on and got cracking on making our own chicken tagines with lemon and olives. I had great craic doing this class. It was a very fast cooking class, you put your chicken in first, followed by red onions, seasoning (cumin, curry powder, paprika, ground ginger, salt, pepper, roasted lemons and coriander), we drizzled plenty of oil on top and put in onto the hob and we covered it with the lid. Next we picked our veg, sliced potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, olives and more lemon. We poured some water on top and stirred the meat and veg and then we layered our veg on top, creating a food pyramid of sorts and covered it and let it cook for about 30-40 minutes. It was very exciting, waiting for it to cook but the wait was totally worth it, it was very tasty, although I would prob put in less olives, I got a bit olive happy with mine and I couldn’t even finish the olives. I went to bed very happy after our meal anyways.

The next morning we had another nice buffet style breakfast and off we went towards the high Atlas mountains for our gite stay. We stopped off for some lovely valley views and met a shepherd minding his goats by the mountain side. We also passed plenty of trucks filled with onions, hay bales that were so overfilled they looked like the trucks were going to topple over. Some lovely mules carried our small backpacks up the mountain and after about an hour of a slow, uphill hike we reached the little village of Aroumd. We went hiking in the late afternoon so it was a really nice time to hike as it wasn’t too hot. There was a lovely breeze up in the village and we had some mint tea and popcorn and just chatted away for a few hours.

Later that evening we were treated to some lovely harrira soup with some funky little wooden ladle spoons, vegetable cous cous with chicken on the side and some lovely watermelon. The rooms had three per room which was grand and they toilets and showers were all good. It would have been nice to chat with the family but we didn’t seem to get the opportunity to do that, which is a pity.

We were up early enough the next morning so we could hike down in the cool mountain air. We saw some very energetic lambs and passed by some lovely woodland areas, as we went down a different path to the day before. Which is just as well because we would have slid down the other path. My next post will be about the infamous goats in the trees (yes this is a real thing), seeing Argan oil being made, the beautiful windy city that is Essaouira and our final stop, Marrakesh.