Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 8: Todra Gorge-Dades Valley-M'goun Valley

Again, Spectacular Scenery Lines the Route.

We passed many towns and kasbahs along the route. Most of these, in Berber Country, are made of Mud and lime, with grain as a strengthener, and blend into the mostly rocky countryside.

Todra Gorge itself - complete with father and son commuting by donkey

It seems to be the men who are most interested in fertility -
or perhaps, its another "-ility" word?

One of the towns we passed through and stopped for water. Colour is a by word for Morocco.

The friendly camel herder, come Berber drummer. So special...

Sun rise over the sand dunes.

Climbed the hill only half way this time to enjoy a further sunrise ride –which looked a little more like a moon rise and happened whilst we were looking elsewhere- but still wonderful to be up at this part of the day (Unusual!) before we return to our Auberge. A quick reviving breakfast, consisting of mostly jams and strong coffee, and it was off towards Todra Gorge, a massive trench that rises over 250 metres and one of the most dramatic natural sights in Morocco. We took a short walk in the area, where the locals come to swim in the shallow stream and take water from the waterfall which, in local lore, guarantees fertility (and it was surrounded by men, only!) A lunch of beef kebabs and “frites” (fries) hit the spot – but the Berber omelette looked and tasted better – damn!- before continuing to the beautiful Dades Valley, where we stopped for a break, and to take some photos of the remarkable scenery and continue our journey. We arrived in the M'goun valley and spent the night in a Berber house. The walls are made from rammed earth and what looks like straw, and there are geometric symbols carved out of them, with roof panels of what looks like bamboo stems, also laid out in geometric patters, The view from the window made me a very happy chappy - up the road, women carry bundles of grass to be dried for animal feed, on their backs in large wrap around cloths; the local area bus unloads way too many youths to fit in such a small vehicle, after they have enjoyed a day out; while the children don sticks like those the world over and play for hours. And all this to a back drop of spectacular – and you have to see it to believe it – red rocky mountain ranges, seemingly close enough to touch but in actual fact, miles away.

Dinner on the terrace, surrounded by the red stone, monumental mountains and served by – well, lets face it, beautiful local youths (who could, in fact score modeling contracts in places like Italy with the right gear, if only they could be found out here) meant that the views all round were wonderful and a great day capped finishes on a high note.

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