This day found us on the road again and heading to Marakesh for the final three days of our whirlwind tour of Morocco.
Our first stop this morning was the Kasbah de Taoirite. Not overly impressive on the exterior, it turned out to have beautifully painted ceilings and rooms.
The more fun stop of the day was Ait Ben Haddou, another UNESCO world heritage site of pre-Saharan habitation, that had been well taken care of, somewhat restored, and had beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Of course, the best part was that since it had rained the night before, the river had flooded - the one we needed to cross to get to the site. Arrival there gave us a glimpse of our destination which was the last of the ruins sitting atop a high hill. Walking into the section on our side of the river allowed us to get a glimpse of the men on the other side who
were scrambling to saddle donkeys so we could ride across. If you've seen how donkeys run, you know the whole situation seemed quite cartoonlike. We gathered at the river, got sized up, helped onto our rides and off we went splashing across the muddy water. It was a super short trip but fun none the less. It was even better to be on the other side and watch everyone come across. Only a couple mishaps and we were off to climb. UNESCO has done a stellar job of building in stone steps making the trip up through the Kasbah far more manageable for many people, but it was still a climb. A couple stops gave us a great view of the valley and even a couple movie sets at the base where Lawrence of Arabia had been filmed. Once at the top, we milled around taking pictures, vaguely listening to the last words of the fellow who was required to accompany us to tell us about the former structure. After about 20
minutes we headed back down, checked out a couple cool artists who were producing paintings by putting henna, mint, indigo and saffron on paper then heating it up so it would change colors.....kinda cool.
Back on our donkeys for the return run, we meandered back through the village from whence we came and headed back out to Marakesh.
The drive took us through Col du Tichka, the highest pass in the High Atlas Mountains and all of Morocco. Much of the landscape was stunning, but getting good pictures was tough due to the rain.