On our way from Quarzazate via Keela des M'Gounia to Todra Gorge ~ we had a scenic drive passing kasbahs and palmeries along the Dades Valley ("Valley of the Kasbahs")
Early the next morning we left Quarzazate and headed off to Todra Gorge. We drove by such amazing and beautiful landscapes, passing many kasbahs and palmeries along the Dades Valley, or as it is called, "Valley of the Kasbahs". The landscapes of Morocco are so beautiful and diverse, made up of beautiful colors, deep shades of greens where the land is lush, and pale pinks, reds, terracottas and browns where the land has been more affected by drought. You can clearly see the effects of global climate change in Morocco. In some parts, the land is so dry you can see where it is cracked.
We made a stop along the way so that Mustafa could take us on a guided tour of one of the Kasbahs, which I unfortunately, forgot the name.
I need to start keeping a travel journal so I can take notes and write everything down I won't forget details like names of places I've been to and seen. While on our tour a few of us stopped to have some tea with one of the locals of the Kasbah in a beautiful little garden. I really love hot mint tea, but just wish it wouldn't have been sooooo sweet. They tend to put, not cubes of sugar in their tea, but blocks of sugar.
After our tour, we piled back into our bus to continue on our journey. After a bit, we had the privilege of stopping for an extended lunch off the main highway in a small village at the home of a local Berber family. We had more sweet mint tea, of course, and then a traditional lunch of Tajine, which we ate in the traditional manner, without utensils, but out of the bowl using just huge pieces of bread.
Minaret (tower) of a mosque
It looked kind of like a giant pita. After lunch, a few of us had henna done on our hands and feet by the female members of the family while our driver, Achraf, looked on with this grin on his face. Probably thinking to himself, ahhh women. We were finally done and it was time to leave. We bid our farewells to the family and then noticed that poor Helen, one of our travelmates, was not able to put her shoes on to walk up to where our bus was parked since she had the henna done on both feet. So after a quick discussion among the family members, they decided to put Helen atop one of their donkeys and have her ride up to the the bus. It was quite a sight, as one of the women guided the donkey while the rest were clapping and cheering her on.
We were finally on our bus, and Mustafa, as he did everyday before we left, did a headcount to make sure everyone was accounted for, before we headed out.
Smile for the camera..
We made it to Todra Gorge by late afternoon. We stayed at the "rustic" Hotel Yasmin in the Todra Valley which is located in the steepest part of the gorge alongside the small river. We had to cross over the stream on foot to get to our hotel. Well, when I said this hotel was a little rustic, I meant it was a little "rustic". Mine and Bronwyn's room was on the small side (see picture below, in fact the only picture I took on the trip of any of the hotel rooms). It was located on the top floor of the hotel (no elevators, just very dimly lit dark halls and stairwells) which was also the rooftop terrace, which was not too bad. The bathroom was interesting to say the least. It was the spiders and bugs in the room that got to Bronwyn and I. I can handle reptiles, etc.
, but bugs, no. What can I say, I'm a woose when it comes to bugs. There were two beds in the room, one was a full-size bed which Bronwyn would take, and the other a twin-size bed, which I was going to sleep on (key word being "was"). Anyway, after laying our luggage on the big chair and little bench, away from the walls and floor, where a few spiders and various little bugs were crawling, we went down for dinner. Oh yea, forgot to mention that on the bottom of the door, there was a big hole which pretty much looked like a mouse hole you would see in old cartoons. Bronwyn and I looked at that and said oh yea, that's comforting since our rooms were on the roofop terrace, out in the open.
Anyway, so we made our way down to dinner which was under the hotel's huge Berber tent, which I thought was pretty cool.
After dinner we went back up, took our tepid showers in the bathrooms which had a shower head kind of just hanging over the few tiles on the floor (yes our shower floor) and put our pjs on and jackets over them since it was feeling pretty nippy (the temperature dropped quite a bit at night in the valley). A few of us decided to put some blankets on some of the mattresses, which were outside our rooms on the rooftop terrace, and lay down to look at the beautiful view of the gorge at night. The stars were out, the moon was full, we were all slap-happy, it was great.
After a while Bronwyn and I decided to call it a night. We went back into our "room" and I decided to spray my bed with Off. As I was about to lay down and turned down my blankets and moved my pillow, I looked at my bed with horror.
We head off to another Kasbah, and of course, I forgot the name (having another senior moment, sorry Mustafa, next time I will take notes)
On the bed under the covers and pillow, there were little bugs crawling and a few spiders. When I looked on the side of the mattress against the wall, I saw a few more spiders making their way up the wall to the bed. I was like "oh hell no". I couldn't even move the bed away form the wall, since the base was cement and was attached to the wall. I was so horrified, I just stood in the middle of the room and started whimpering. It was a really sad and pathetic sight. I just looked at Bronwyn as she was laying on her bed reading, "there is no way I can sleep on this bed". She was like, okay, don't worry, my bed is big enough we can both sleep here. Anyway, before I lay down, I put my stocking tights under my pajama bottoms, I didn't want anything touching my skin while I slept.
I shook my top blanket out like there was no tomorrow, sprayed it again, put the hood of my jacket over my head (remember it was also cold in the room with no heat), and finally laid down. Let's just say I had a fitful sleep. Besides hearing the dogs fighting and barking echoing through the gorge, at one point during the night, I thought I felt something crawling on my face, I hit my face (it hurt too, hit it too hard) and sat up with a yelp. Thank god Bronwyn had her ear plugs in and did not hear a thing. I was sooooo, soooo happy when morning finally came.