On the way to greatness and food – Morocco part 4

The sun rise on the desert was pink. The sand was pink, the camels were pink, our skin was pink. After breakfast we headed back to Zagora. Again camel ride to the “barn” where we started our journey and then waiting…



someone will pick us up? who? when? where?

We kept to one side of the wall, changed clothes and talked over and over about what happened the day before. Finally a car pulled over and took us to Zagora together with 4 other people and the driver. Feeling of regret that we have to go back was overwhelming. The road now so familiar seemed at least fifty percent shorter and not long after we set off we were back in Zagora, same place but we somehow different. Experienced, changed and hungry!

I think we ate the best meal I can remember. Tagines, (kefta for me), bread, eggs, olives… made us want to lick the pots and kiss the chef’s hands. Ah and the tea. Let’s talk about food a bit more. A typical meal begins with  salads, followed by a tagine (tajine) with bread and finished with a cup of sweet mint tea. Tajine is a name of a dish but also of clay pot in which it is cooked, sometimes painted or glazed. There are two parts: a base that is flat and circular plate resembling, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. They bring it to the table covered and then remove the lid so the dish is very worm and the aroma penetrates your nostrils. Most common tajines are beef, lamb, kefta, chicken and couscous. The dish is cooked for a long time in low temperature and the meat is just amazing, tender and never chewy. Lamb is falling off the bone. My personal favorite is kefta tajine served with egg. Yummy!

Tired but happy and full we started to think what to do next. Where and how to go.

– Bus?

Missed the one we would need to take.


-Yes, taxi why not, in the end locals do it, it can’t be that expensive!

It was expensive to rent the whole taxi though, old Mercedes can fit 6 passengers: 4 at the back and two in the front seat plus the driver. The taxi stop was a “no shadow only burning sun” square with plenty of people around but none going to Ouarzazate . We waited and waited for our taxi driver to find other clients. In what seemed like eternity (and was probably 3 hours) he found one! But we had had enough! Paid for 5 people instead of paying for three and left the town behind. On the way to our destination we couldn’t thank God enough there were only 4 passengers in the car, the heat was unbelievable, the space was small and the turns in mountains rapid. Views astonishing. No pictures this time you need to go and see it for yourselves.

We got out in center of Ouarzazate and discussed the situation quickly. We decided to stay overnight and next morning to head off by car, rented car. Guys went to the car rental agency and I decided to visit some of the tourist agencies to see what we can sightsee in the area. Most of the agencies were closed, I managed to speak to one agent but only after they found English speaking one. None of us speaks well French as you might remember. I took some leaflets and was a bit disappointed it was mainly about camel ride, quads, Marrakesh, nothing to make me really interested after our adventures. But we had a book guide in which I saw picture of fenomenal Ait Benhaddou which I really, really wanted to see although did not really think it’s possible. P was also considering going to Draa Valley but M decided he wants to see Marrakesh and because M mainly agreed to everything we suggested until now, decision was: Marrakesh! … and Ait Benhaddou on the way :)

Now we had to find a place to sleep. Cheap. It was getting dark and we didn’t know French. We skipped fancy looking hotels with palm driveways and swimming pools and drove towards poorer looking area with some hotel signs. Everywhere I went I had to draw how many beds, rooms I need. The small piece of paper i had with me was being covered with more and more detailed drawings on the way. Finally we found a six bed apartment with wet room and kitchen for three of us for $10 (not per person, per apartment) … we had to say we were married though… ah well. Our windows overlooked a large plaza and a mosque but I can’t really remember it being a problem. Once settled and showered we went to the center to find something to eat. The feel of main square in Ouarzazat was very European. It reminded me a bit  of France but with a lot less people on the streets. I decided on couscous with vegetables, bad choice. We walked a bit around the city but after the less populated towns we’ve seen Ouarzazate seemed just too touristic. Nothing compared to Marrakesh as we will later discover.

I have to say Goodnight for now and see you next time.

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Cold nights underneath the rain of stars – Morocco part 3

The road leading to the desert is suitable for only one car, to pass anyone on the road proves to be very difficult.  On the other hand there are no ditches on its sides making it easy to drive on the verge. Easy, but also damaging  to the car’s body. While driving you can easily imagine taking part in those famous car duels out of American movies.

We got to the backyard of a sandstone house with stables where the camels where waiting to take their cargo – us. Yes, they smell, but it’s not as bad as I imagined. Have a look at the picture below and tell me if you don’t think that my friend in white turban looks like Passepartout. Getting on the camel wasn’t too difficult, hanging on to the saddle when they get up wasn’t bad as well, it’s mostly getting off you should be careful about. We set on our journey: three tourists on camels, one Berber on foot and a dog on its four paws.

As we set off from the village of Tagounite there was a lot of palms, bushes and all sorts of greenery, the further we went the less plants and the more sand was starching in front of us, but only when we got to the camp we could see the rock desert I came to see. Don’t understand me wrongly, sand dunes are so romantic but have nothing to do with how most of the desert looks like.

The camp consisted of four sleeping and one dining tents (also we were spoiled with a toilet further away from the camp). All tents were made of camel blankets stretched on wooden poles and secured with ropes. We loved it the second we saw it. As you can imagine we played among the dunes like little children, rolling down the dunes, jumping in the air, running around and playing with our footmarks. The vast space was incredible. The sky enormous and blue.

And then when we got tired we sat down on the top of the highest dune and drank moroccan tea, thinking of things that can only be shared in moments of beauty. Unforgettable.

The night on the desert made me fall in love with Africa. I know people say it all the time and believe me there is no point in me describing it, you have to experience it yourselves. There are so many stars that every now and again you can see one falling down. Imagine how many wishes can come true. We sat by the bone fire after supper and watched the fire burn. No one felt like talking, what can you say?

We met a woman who lived in one of the other tents. She came for a one night like we did, but then felt the urge to come back and now she had been in the camp for last 6 days. This is the magic of the desert, peace.

The night was terribly cold, I slept in all my clothes under 2 blankets and duvet but I still was cold. The tent seemed like a penthouse comparing to what we are used to. I didn’t dream that night I woke up every now and again to think how cold it was and to fall asleep again… well in the end it was January.

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