November 7 and 8th The High Atlas mountains
Today’s drive induced motion sickness in a few travellers as we followed windy roads that switched back and forth higher into the High Atlas mountains. Views would likely have been magnificent if it hadn’t been raining. None of us complained as we considered ourselves incredibly lucky with the weather thus far.
The bus left us at the village on the bottom of the mountain and most of us donned rain ponchos. There were two mules to carry our luggage and we walked up the donkey path. Despite the drizzly rain, it was a beautiful walk over a small river, past homes and through orchards. At the Azizi auberge we were treated to popcorn and tea in front of a fireplace and we sat and chatted. It was early and I was antsy so suggested a hike. Hassan offered to go along and a few of us set off. We walked through the village which smelled of apples, crossed the river a couple of times and I managed to sink one foot deep in a pile of donkey poo. Lovely. No, my hikers are NOT water proof.
Back at the auberge I put my shoes by the fire, hoping it would dry by morning. Our hosts treated us to a delicious cous cous, bread, olives and pomegranate for desert. It was early so we played a silly group game something like charades. Throw a bunch of people who don’t know each other in a room and play charades. You can’t help but laugh!
We had lots of heavy blankets and I slept so well in the fresh, crisp mountain air. The rain had cleared and the weather was gorgeous for the walk back down the mountain.
On we travelled to the sea side town of Essouria. One stop included a visit to a woman’s cooperative that makes products with argan oil. This area of Morocco is the only place in the world the argan almond grows. The process of extracting the oils and making products is very labour intensive.