Rise and shine. Early up to get ready for the day trip. I got a mail yesterday when to await the driver (about 8:30 am). Waiting outside in the nice, but still chilling, weather. The Mercedes van arrives 10 minutes early and we are of to a trip collecting all the other 6 passengers at the different hotels. The car fills up with a couple from Austria, two German women and a couple from Denmark/Scotland. Our driver Mido is of Berber origin and will get us to all the important places.
On the drive out of the city towards the south we get information about Marrakesh, Morocco and Berbers. Quiet interesting. To much to repeat here, but the Berber language is very old and special. And there are people very critical to the king in Morocco. The group seem to be good. We got a lot of conversation going an ask questions.
First we go to the Ourika valley. After ca. 1 hour drive. Some photo stops at our request and then the first small break at an Argan Oil Co-operative. We see and learn how the oil is made – a lot of handwork and patience needed. Some products we can taste (great taste) and we can try the cosmetics. Of course they want o sell stuff. But I don’t need anything so I just collect the information and taste the paste and honey.
Along the river in the valley – which has water in contrast to the Marrakesh area – there are quiet a few restaurants with a lot of chairs and table standing in the water or close to the water. We get to know, that the summers can be so hot that the people from Marrakesh drive to the mountains to cool down. Interesting concept – maybe not very popular in the icy waters of Norwegian mountain rivers.
The tour goes on to our next stop in Sidi Faress. here they offer a hike to a waterfall. i first read that this in not mandatory and my include some climbing, so I was ready not to go and not slow down the group. But Mido said that it will not be a problem and the tour will be slow. Or guide is the local Mohammed. We go through the village up a lot of stairs. 45 families live her, most of them living of the tourists that come all the year. Moroccans in the summer, tourists in the winter. The make arts and what you buy will benefit the village. They have some great natural coolers her. The bottles of soda/juice stand on rocks cooled by the river water.
As we climb, the path gets more rough and steeper. Some places I – and others – have to go slower and climb. Mohammed lends a helping hand when necessary. Som places I take my time and the last bridge is disputable stable, but again the helping hand gets everybody to our goal. Not the biggest waterfalls I have seen, but the views, and the landscape is great. It was well worth climbing up here. At a small cafe we stop to take a last break with some fresh mint tea before we take another way down.
But first we have to climb a ladder to get up some meters and then we had to be pulled up a rock without any place to put your feet. Nice… But we made it. The way down is more easy (even when I found some lose rocks that send me on all four) and some very nice views. Good, that we didn’t went up on this side (very steep) and down the way we came (a hell of a climbing adventure it wold have been). Even seeing some wild monkeys (without having to pay for it). Back in the village Mido is waiting at the car and Mohammed (the mountain goat that was more jumping up the mountain). We needed two hours for the trip. Slow people, taking loooots of pictures and good group dynamics.
We drive back down the valley. Our next stop will be at a village in the Oukaimeden Valley at 1800 meter above sea level for a lunch at a Berber house. A beautiful place overlooking the valley and mountains. The tajine is made in charcoal the traditional way. We will have a lunch with a salad, chicken tajine, couscous and a dessert. The view from our table was beautiful. The food was more than great and there was more than enough of it. Always leave some food on the plate or in the bowl. Otherwise the hosts might be ashamed not to have offered you enough food. Olives, bread, oil salt, pepper and cumin for an appetizer – that was nearly enough food. Soooo good. Fresh tomato salad – yummy. Everything great. After the fresh local apples for desert we go back to the car to start the drive back to Marrakesh.
We drive through the Asni Valley and can get a glimpse of Mt. Toubkal – the second highest mountain in Africa. Some photo stops along the way driving the winding roads. The group in the car is great, but the Austrians are quiet and don’t want to participate. Their own fault. We have a great time. Talking and joking with the guide. The Danish student and I discussing hunting in Danish/Norwegian to avoid the two German women knowing that we are for it – they are very against hunting.
Last valley before Marrakesh is the Asni valley. Getting closer to home, a little bit behind time, but nobody cares. The whole group minus the Austrians make arrangements to meet for dinner tonight. An WhatsApp group is established.
We all meet at 20:00 at the Amaia restaurant which is listed on place 10 of the restaurants in Marrakesh. Great food (I had a beef filet with tagliatelle and pepper sauce) with for Morocco higher prices. But worth the money. A fun evening with good conversation.
Back to the hotel, tired, stuffed and happy. Tomorrow will be the last trip – this time by train to Casablanca.