The journey continues...
08.05.2011 - 10.05.2011 39 °C
So to catch up, we headed to Boumaine Dades on Saturday, which is a town in the middle of massive canyons called the gorges of Dades. I guess the comparison would be the grand canyon, only the towns are at the bottom. You can see where the water used to flow and in many areas has been replaced by thousands of trees, gardens and other agriculture. The canyon rock is a reddish color so the contrast between the greenery and rock is beautiful. It isn't tourist season yet so had a very easy time getting a hotel, an one that impressed! We walk out onto our balcony to a view of canyon rock 20 meters away and it was about 300 meters tall. Also, the 4 of us were the only people staying at the hotel! The people who worked there were incredibly nice (like every other Moroccan) and after a friend of Taoufik's took us for a tour, we sat down to yet another fantastic meal of BBQ chicken, fries, salad, and fruit for dessert. That night, the boys sat out on the balcony with some drinks and I crashed ad I was exhausted!
The next morning we woke up and jumped in the car to start the 6 hour drive to Marrakech. It was a beautiful yet very windy drive (caused a little motion sickness). It's strange to drive so long seeing nothing, then it seems like out of nowhere a new town appears that's been there for hundreds of years. Definitely makes you think about how people live and what their culture is like! We stopped for lunch in a town and when we were leaving, I saw a boy about 8 years old sitting in a chair who waved at me, he was adorable... Just seemed so genuinely nice and when we were pulling away from the curb, he put his hand on his heart and extended it towards me, I almost cried and wanted to take him with us! That image will stick with me for sure...
We are now in Marrakech! It was 39 degrees today. Yes. 39 degrees. We got here 2 nights ago, toured around the city the first night, then yesterday we drove 2 hours to a town on the coast called Essaouira which has a lot of Portugese influence. It's right on the Atlantic ocean so they are known for their seafood, which of course we indulged in. Fresh shrimp, calamari, sardines, and other fish we couldn't translate into English, delicious! After that we walked around to see the ancient part of the city and the markets, then headed back to Marrakech for the night. All of us were tired so we got Pizza Hut and crashed at our apartment for the night. Oh! Forgot to mention, Taoufik's parents are paying for us to stay in Marrakech as a present, they have been so good to us, as have Taoufik and Medhi!
Today we got up and headed to an ancient garden, La Menara, which us still functioning. It's full of olive trees but originally the gardens were built in the 1200's by the king at the time and he built a massive irrigation system which is still functioning today for olive production. Apparently this system is considered very advanced, amazing to see! Then we went to another garden that Yves Saint Laurent had a lot of influence over (YSL had a home here) and it was breathtaking and also a welcomed break from the extreme heat. Us poor Canadians... We were sweaty up a storm while most people had pants on, and some even sweaters and/or jackets! Ah!
Now we are back at the apartment and are heading to one of the biggest open air markets in the world, which is here in Marrakech! So excited! Tomorrow we take off to head back to Rabat for the last few days before D and I take off again. I will be able to upload pictures at Taoufik's so stay tuned!