From the Sahara we made our way to Todra Gorge – the narrowest in Morocco. We got to enjoy the amazing rock formations but declined the option of rock climbing and a motorbike ride from some local guys hanging around the area.
I managed to make my first touristic purchase – a stone bowl with fossils visible in the stone. I couldn’t resist making the purchase once I realised my salesperson was completely blind. He was so trusting – asking me what I had paid him and offering the money for me to take the right change.
It was also along this stretch that we got a true appreciation of Leigh’s accent comprehension skills. Intrigued by why the traffic police continually pulled drivers over Leigh asked Abdul what they were checking. We all cracked up when he said “they are security”, to which Leigh then replied “ohh, cigarettes”. The comprehension of ‘Tracey?’ from ‘Taxi’ as we we were waiting for our driver had been gold but we all agreed that ‘cigarettes’ was our favourite to date.
It was a real day for feasting the eyes on our surroundings. After we left the Todra Gorge we headed toward the Dades Valley, which was also spectacular not only for its amazing rock formations but for the wonderful meal we had at our lovely accommodation Chez Pierre. This was a real treat with our accommodation perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the Valley. We couldn’t believe our ears when they indicated beetroot and feta salad and a duck l’orange was on offer….we were over the tagines already!
We were sharing the hotel with a group of about 30 American motorcycle riders. They obviously appreciated the noise of their presence as they generously offered us complimentary drinks wit our meals. It certainly was a country perfect for long bike rides – must admit it whet my appetite a little.
The next day we made our way to Ouarzazate to check out the studios that had been used for Games of Thrones, Ben Hurr, Gladiator and a well known French comedy film scenes, among others. They were certainly impressive given they were in the middle of nowhere. It can’t have been easy for the actors in these conditions – it was very hot and dusty.
Once we realised there was no hope we’d been spotted by a talent scout we moved on to Ait Ben Haddou. This was another amazing spot. The site is Unesco World Heritage listed. The walls of the Ksar (fortified village) were an amazing earthenware clay material – with extremely thick walls for thermal management. The Ksar had been used by the traders on the caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech.
After our visit we settled into our lovely Riad in the next town where we were served yet another tagine for dinner (although we actually rated this one) – his semolina cake with creamer brûlée topping was divine!
We were moving on with full bellies once again.