Our second day here in Morocco was even better than the first!
We woke early ( again to the prayers!) and headed out to meet our tour guide for the day, who was going to take us up to the Atlas Mountians!
Although I had never heard of them before, these mountains seemed like a pretty big deal to the locals and our mini van was packed on the ride out there!
We first stopped at the bottom of the mountains to get a few photos. The place was amazing. We had driven for about 50 mins out of Marrakesh and again, it was like we were in another world. From the viewing platform were we were standing all you could see was stretches of grassy plains for miles. On one side however, into the distance big blue mountains rose above the clouds. The Atlas mountains were huge, and beautiful.
Winding through the mills on a tiny little bumpy road was very exciting and a little scary on the mini bus. We stopped many times to take photos of different areas. We saw people travelling from villiage to village on donkeys, camels and horses. There were kids playing outside with their dogs. Men came up to us trying to sell necklaces, pots and fruit. It was so entertaining! We came accross heaps of camels for tourists and even some baby ones which were cute!
As we drove further into the mountains, the environment began to change. We saw little villages pop up on the rocky sides of the mountian! Buildings were very square and made of mud. A river started forming next to us which quite quickly turned into rapids! Not only this, but a whole lot of the most dodgy, rickety wooden bridges started forming over these feirce rapids to resturants!
It was crazy! They were made of peices of wood that you would put in a fire, and two scummy peices of wire. Some of them stopped half way were people had obviously fallen through and hadn't bother to fix the bridge. Some had gaps so big people were taking running jumps to get over. NONE of them had any stablity in the middle of the bridge, just at either side, to they dipped very low in the middle. Even so, they were all atleast 7 meters above the rocky river. Everyone was using them though and when the minivan started slowing up next to one I started freaking out! Everyone piled out and we were told to head aver the bridge to take some photos. Yea Right!
I did it though, and it actually wasn't as bad as it looked. It was sturdy, but very wobbly and LOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG. I dropped the lens cap to my camera in the middle but luckliy, due to strong winds, it blew onto the rocks, not the water and I was able to retireve it!
After a walk over the bridge and back we headed on to a perfumery, which, again, was great so see. We had our own tour guide who took us around all the different plants that they use here in morocco to help with different 'ailments.' And then he tooks us into a little room and we were able to try everything out! We had some Moroccon tea, which is basically hot water, mint leaves and a hell of a lot of sugar. We also tried creams, spices and much more. I don't really like spices so I found it very yucky but Tim loved it!
Further on we came to a daintly little town that had been bombarded with tourists. There were stall set up everywhere, selling more necklaces and pots. Fruit and drinks. We stopped here, as it was obvious this was the very end of the road. We could not drive any higher, we would walk from here.
We got yet another guide that woud help us up the road higher into the Atlas mountains, his name I cannot remember but he was a really nice guy, probably my age or younger. We could see the tops of the mountains even closer now, and they had snow on them, even though it was the middle of spring.
The walk started pretty nicely, weaving up through the mountain side, the river rushing next to us. It wasn't a boring walk either. Not only could we enjoy the countryside, but there were houses, resturants and stall all the way along the walk. Locasl hopeing to attract all the tourists as they walked up. It was like walking through a shopping mall on the side of a hill! The walk slowly got very steep, and while we were enjoying watching the waterfalls and rapids next to us, we soon realised we were to walk through this river to get to the 'Cascade' that we were aiming for. It turned into a rock climb very fast and we were scrabling up the rocks on hands and knees, slipping and sliding everywhere! It was great fun through!
Our guide was a pro at these rocks and was running up and down them helping tourist after tourist stumble up. I felt quite embarssed!
We got to the top evenutally and saw an amazing waterfall! If it was a little warmer I reckon I would have swum! Turning back was slid down the rocks again and to the bottom of the hill. It was late by this time and lunch was overdue, so our tour guide took us to a nice cafe on the side of the rivier. It was the fashion here to eat outside looking at the river and in this cafe they had put table almost ankle deep in the river! We had the chance to be in one of these tables and had a blast trying not to get out feet wet!
We both order tradtional tagine. I had Chicken with Figs, and Tim chose Chicken with Veggies. They were both delish!
After a long lunch we hopped back on the minivan and started driving home. But before we got there we stopped off at a tradtional moroccon house. We were able to walk through it and see how they lived and boy was it grim. A lot of the house was 'outside' and it seem that there much not be that many bugs because there was no doors. The kitchen was open and the women were cooking on an outdoor fire. There was only once bedroom where three people slept, I guess the other children hopped in with mum and dad. No lights, just fire for people to see at night, and one tiny bathroom!
It make you really apprieciate what you have at home!
Tired and happy we drove for about an hour and got home. Both very tired we went back to the hotel, had a nap, and they got ourselves together again for dinner.
We walked back into Jal Me Fil Square and deicided to take a horse and carriage tour of the city which was magical at night. We were taken around the huge hotels in the centre of the city, past the palace, the casino and through the square. We were dropped off in front of a resturant that had been reccommended for us by our Riad, called the Kosy Bar. It was VERY flash, Lavish couches, waiters in full black and white, beautiful lanterns. There was even a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker having dinner there!
We had Sushi and Cocktails, which racked up a HUGE bill but we didn't mind. We ate on the terrace over looking the city and all its craziness, smells and haggling seemed to go away. From up here all we could see was a lot of twinkling lights!