High Atlas, Telouet, Ait Ben Haddou
Trip Start Jan 24, 2008
6Trip End Jan 29, 2008
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Where I stayed
Snow is getting closer and closer, vegetation vanishes, colors of the ground keeps on changing and changing and the road gets more and more winding and having quite steep valleys below. The road is lined with people offering fake gems, but there are some very good places to shop some berber products and fossils as well (some of them really cheap). Since we want to have a good karma we take some hitchhikers, which try to get home and had to go along the road otherwise
We break the car every 2 minutes to take photos, but our first real stop is fairytale kasbah (stonghold) of Telouet [10dh]. To get there, we pick up a young guide at the crossroads (of which we thought he wants just a ride) and drive a 20km rally through very nice nature. The crumbling kasbah really strikes us - so beautiful and there are no tourists there! Inside of the half-ruined building there is a surprise, very nicely decorated rooms similar to Bahia Palace. The building is quite self-containted, it even has camel caravans parking lots. Moreover, our guide is actually educated (french-speaking) and is a real guide, not just a "here, go this way"-person.
The way back to the main road is Karolina's possibility to show her good driving skills;). Btw, as we've gradually found out, it's unexpectedly hard to stop for a photo - once you stop your car, children from all around start running towards the car and want some money. In one case they nearly broke the windows of our car, wow;). And if not children, there are some tourist-things-sellers nearby for sure;). So it's good to be quick or to stop at desert places.
Back on the main road we cut the corners down into the valleys. And then comes a surprise, a police roadblock
Because of all the stopping and really heavily winding roads, the crossing of the mountains took as nearly all the day and it's nearly evening now. But still, we want to visit the famous kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. We turn to a minor road and after cutting local stone desert for some time, we arrive in the village together with a bus of Japanese people (package travel agencies are behind the schedule as well;)). So, nearly at sunset, we run down to the valley, cross a stream without boots and then through the kasbah (10dh) up to the peak of the hill on which it is built, just right to see the very sunset - rewarding;). The kasbah itself (or a kasbah village) is quite large and even now people actually live there
Darkness comes quickly and we have some tasteful soup in the village. In the evening, nearly all Moroccans are busy watching Africa Footbal Cup and are looking forward to a game agains Ghana two days later (spoiler: Morocco lost it;)). In the absolute darkness there are so many stars on the sky it's hard to believe.
In 30 minutes we reach Ouarzazate, one of the greater cities in the south. There's one kasbah and that's nearly it. The main reason for us to stop there is to find a cyber cafe to look for some travel info and have a good dinner. In the cafe we make a decision not to go southwards to real sand deserts beyond Zagora (quite a way, boring) but go to the east for some gorges and oasis (Karolina always has good ideas;)). The internet cafe was funny for one thing: to experience it on your own, try to use french keyboard and arabic layout in Windows;). As for the second point, Karolina finds a stall with really superb kebab-like sandwiches. Although the city is definitely not complited, the only problem is to get back to our car since we are unable to find it for quite lot of time;)).
Because tomorrow there will be very many things to see, we drive about two more hours in the night, just beyond Boumalne du Dades. Here, at midnight, we decide to camp somewhere. The final decision [luckily] is to camp somewhere in the desert. To accomplish this, we drive the road for some time behind the town off to nowhere, where we take a turn to a smaller road to nowhere and then simply ride off the road through the actual desert to nowhere, so as nobody could see us in the morning.
Cool, this is freedom and isolation;). Logan is not so small and thus it's possible (not comfortable) to sleep in there. The only problem is that I though the car will provide some temparature isolation...it didn't and it was REALLY f**ing cold in the morning;). Hope we will awake in the morning.