Trip Start Jan 14, 2012
11Trip End Jan 29, 2012
After leaving the Sahara Desert, we had a long drive to the next destination which was the Todra Gorge. When we arrived to the small village next to the Gorge, we learned that this was our leader, Mohammed's home village. He offered to take us to his house and meet his family. I couldn't pass up such an opportunity! We were greeted by aunties, uncles, and cousins who immediately made us feel at home. We were given traditional Berber hospitality; Tea made from thyme, fresh almonds and cookies. Some of his relatives are fluent in french so we were able to have broken conversation about village life. The young children were especially curious about the foreigners and had lots of questions and we sat for about an hour chatting away.
Dinner that night was served at the hotel and we were the only guest
The next morning we had a 5 hour hike up and down the Todra Gorge. We climbed about 600 metres in altitude to the top of the gorge where is seemed like the top of the world. Along the way we saw Berber goat herders who live in the caves in the gorge most of the year.
Once at the top we met a family of Berbers living in the caves and offered us tea. The small boy in the family was cheeky and was quite interested in us. These people will live all year round without any modern luxuries and the only income earned is from the sale of goat and sheep wool. Their cave house was so remote that there is no electricity or even cell phone service! These people spoke no french or Arabic. Just the Berber language. This made communication quite difficult
After tea we began the long decent back to the town taking another route passing above the village and finally arrived back in the village for a lunch of salads and Berber pizza. Berber pizza is a bread that is stuffed with minced beef and spices including saffron and coriander. It was so tasty!
In the afternoon we wandered the village and ended up at a Berber rug shop. The Berber rugs are hand made with camel, sheep or lambs wool and all of the colours are from natural dyes. These rugs are some of the most sought after rugs in the world. Because this particular village doesn't see many tourists, the shop owner was happy to serve us tea and chat for over an hour about the traditions including the marriage rug. A marriage rug is given to a bride and groom for their wedding to hep furnish their new home. It is a usually quite large, colourful and has lots of traditional symbols woven into it that bring good luck to the new family.
Later in the evening we headed back to the hotel for dinner and for part two of the drumming lessons. Such fun!