Early rise, early start, mountains to be seen! We were down at breakfast for 8 and had a lovely breakfast of pancakes, bread, apricot, plum and orange juice and waited for our driver at 9. Here is some good advice – Take spare money with you. You will need it! It cost 1400 Dirham for 2 people plus we needed a extra 300-400 Dirham.
The driver picked us up at 9 and then we were on our way (in a nice big car) to the Atlas Mountains! Our first stop was just before the entrance to the Atlas Mountains to take some photos of the mountains and we were shown some of the various food growing over trees, such as olive trees. We were then shown around a souvenir shop, which we looked around but kindly declined from buying anything. The next stop was a Berber House. The Berbers live in the Atlas Mountains. The spice shop owner from day two was a Berber. He made us drink Berber Tea.
I wasn’t too enthusiastic about seeing a Berber House but we went around it and saw the various rooms, cooking ovens, flour grinding machine etc. I didn’t take any photographs because I didn’t think it was quite appropriate. You should really give the family a 20 Dirham for the privilege of looking around their house as well but we didn’t have change that small. Our driver said he would pay the 20 Dirham but some how got out of it. Would I look around it again? No. Did it add anything to the day? No. Was it a little weird? Yes. On the way down to the car little children were putting their hands out wanting money from us. This was a little sad. We got back in the car and upwards and onwards we went. We had a few more photograph stops before hitting the next stop.
The next stop was a shop / factory producing creams and oils. When I say factory, I mean four women sitting down demonstrating how to make Albas oil In a very archaic way. They basically crack the nuts open then crush them down – Yes archaic and old school. We were then taken to another room where we were explained about some of the creams trying to flog us some. I was thinking Ha – They hadn’t got us, we weren’t going to spend a penny. I had put up my defences since yesterday. However, my girlfriend wanted to buy some cream. So we bought some moisturising cream.
The next stop we declined. It was a shop which demonstrated how to make flour. As I didn’t want to spend more money, we skipped this one and went to the waterfall. Along the way there were more photo opportunities as well as seeing shops and stalls selling various souvenirs, such as carpets and colourful rocks.
My preconceptions of the waterfall were incorrect. I thought the car would drive up to the waterfall, we would get out and take some photographs of it. The car stopped and we got out but we were not near the waterfall. We had to climb to the waterfall following our tour guide, for a 100 Dirham each. After 30-40 minutes of scrambling, slipping, climbing, sweating and struggling we made it to the waterfall, with little help from our tour guide. The waterfall was magnificent, a spectacle for the eyes. We took photographs of this lovely waterfall and relaxed by it for 10 minutes before making the descent which turned our legs into jelly.
Spoiler Alert- I’m about to talk about the lunch. If you are going on one of these trips then I don’t want to spoil the surprise so skip this chapter. If you are still interested though, please continue. The lunch (food included, drinks not) was the best thing about the day by miles. At the bottom of the hill there is a stream (river in winter) coming from the waterfall. This had tables and chairs by the stream at various points, were you had lunch. This has to be the best location I have probably ever eaten at. The view was stunning. The food was like usual – Soup for starter, Tagine or Cous Cous for main and a fruit salad for dessert. We treated ourselves to a big bottle of water – crazy right? We were also served olives which were delicious!!! The best thing was the view. It was so peaceful sitting and eating by this stream. It was beautiful
After lunch, we were on our merry way again around different valleys of the Atlas Mountains, stopping, taking photographs, seeing these magnicifent mouintains as well as seeing Berber Villages. A Berber Village seems to crop up anywhere in the mountains but they all have common features. They all have a mosque and they all have a school of some make and description. No other stops, just lots of photographs, Berber Villages and donkeys carrying people.
A sad moment during the afternoon was seeing kids on the corners of road trying to flog our driver mint.
By the end of the day, we both were Mountained out but we both had fun and agreed the driver was the way to do it over a group and lunch was the best part of the day. We got back and chilled for a while, hoping our legs would heal (They didn’t until Saturday).
We then went out to the crazy square and decided to brave the food markets. We had a quick walk around but decided it was too early to eat so we went and had a drink on a terrace. It was a mocktail / smoothie and rather nice. We then walked around, went to a random number stall, sat down, and both ordered some lamb skewers, bread and some olives. The guidebook advised not to use the cutlery so we were tearing the lovely lamb off with our hands. It was interesting being in the buzz and going to the food market but we both preferred eating in the terrace.
Afterwards we went to a terrace with an amazing view of the crazy square, sat there for a while with a coke and fanta and absorbed the atmosphere.
I then got a orange juice from a stall and drank it before returning to the hotel to chill on the roof star gazing before going to sleep.