Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 6: From Fes-Midelt

The first sighting of a Midelt Berber - at our hotel! How touristy (but he is a real Berber!)

Colourful shops at a small town along the road from Fes to Midelt. The weather was getting decidedly cooler.

Carcasses hang outside shops in this town known for its kebab/barbecue cooking.
Not much else seems to happen here.

Spectacular alpine scenery and our first glimpse of Moroccan snow

The rock formations in Morocco have to be seen to be believed! There are many colours from gray to green to red.

We stopped for a picnic at a trout fishermen's paradise -and we liked it, too! We bought French brie on long white w\loafes, fresh dates and tomatoes -perfect! - at our first "French-style" supermarket experience

There are many colourful wildflowers along the road - the yellow and purples were my favourite. Scenery changes at almost every bend, and you find yourself anticipating the next "wow!" moment.

A curious Barbury ape.

The Ski town of Ifrane - the local private American Boarding school means that the helicopter pad is kept busy during the term break, so the parents can fit in a little skiing with their offspring!

Leaving Fes we drove south, passing through a variety of spectacular scenery as we made our way towards Midelt. We stopped to in the ski town of Ifrane for coffee, and to see the Barbury apes who live in the forrest but are fairly used to tourist hand outs. We happened upon a small town where kebab was the specialty, with carcasses hanging in the open air from butchers hooks along the streetside kiosks (including a goat which still held on to its head) and the scent of wood-fired meat tantalizing the senses. Midelt is a smallish market town, nestled between the Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains, at an elevation of just over 1500m. It’s a perfect spot to break the journey to the Sahara, being a great base for some easy walks. Many of the locals are Berber, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful. After lunch, we stretched our legs for a few hours on an easy hike in the nearby hills of the Merran Gorge, where the locals were extremely friendly and obliging this camera happy trekker with free photos (most Moroccans seem camera shy; if not, we need to pay them 1 -5 Dirhams (approx 1/10 -1/2 cent) depending on their ability to make us feel guilty). Their homes are stacked on top of each other and the hills, and camouflaged, and the washing drying on the rocks of a steep gorge made for colourful shots against a mainly yellow ochre background. More than a few donkey photos, and lone cycler shots were taken, along with photos of curious adolescent girls, sunning themselves on rooftop terraces amongst the satellite dishes (the cost of one dish and wiring is relatively cheap, there are over 200 channels available, and subsequent dishes are free – so the locals everywhere, even in the most remote areas, seem to take exceptional advantage of this). Another wonderful day and a great breakfast followed.

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