Morocco Day 8
We woke up at 7 AM in the middle of the Atlas Mountains near a town named Ait Benhaddou. It was raining buckets. Ait Benhaddou is famous since an important scene from “The Gladiator” starring Russell Crowe was shot there. It is the scene where Russell Crowe is taught to be a gladiator and he has his first batter in the arena. I can tell you that the village has not changed since that movie. The gate to the village was also used in “Lawrence of Arabia” and scenes from “Kundun” were shot there. While we were eating breakfast I was watching the rain fall in buckets and saying to myself “Should I go?” I answered a resounding Yes since I doubt I will ever be here again. Put on my raincoat and put my camera in a waterproof bag and joined Olivia and some of the others. This whole area is covered with adobe and when it gets wet it is very slippery and the red adobe mud flows all over in little rivers. We started to walk through the village when I took a flop and got my pants, raincoat, hands and camera bag coated with the red adobe mud. Thankfully I did not hurt myself since the ground is soft. That was it. I left the group and walked back to the bus in the rain. The bus driver then took me back to the hotel to clean up. Oh well, “Shit Happens”. Fortunately, after I cleaned up and we picked up the rest of the group, we stopped to take pictures of Ait Benhaddou from a cliff. Olivia told me it was very interesting and she bought some beautiful paper sketches painted in a unique way.
It is now onto Marrakesh. We drove on a two lane road that went up and down the mountains through little clay and adobe villages. There was some terrace farming on the sides of the mountains. The area reminded me of when we drove through the Sacred Valley in Peru except we were not as high now. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant Nd I had the vegetable soup with a Berber omelette. I love the Berber omelette. Maybe Olivia will make it when we get home.
It was then back on the road and going up and down these majestic mountains. We reached an altitude of about 7500 feet and there were places that had fresh snow. Imagine snow in Morocco and having visited the Sahara Desert 24 hours ago.
We finally made our way out of the mountains to this huge valley. Our guide, Larbi, played “Marrakesh Express” as we drove closer.
We reached our hotel at about six and the rain had followed us. The skis were raining cats and dogs. Our hotel is a nice hotel but it is a hotel. Not that different from what you normally find except furnished in a Moroccan style. Give me something more unique.
Dinner was a buffet of all you can ask for. Meat, chicken, fish and great vegetables. I will miss the Moroccan food.
Tomorrow we have a city tour and then it’s off to the souk to explore and blend in.