Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of months. If you want a more up to date version of where I am and what Im doing my instagram username is @kalimiddleby or search instagram.com/kalimiddleby
OKAY! So basically the last couple of days of morocco we stayed at this cool town where lots of movies were filmed such as gladiator and game of thrones etc. The next day we drove to Marrakech. The main square there is pretty cool. Very vibrant and busy and loud and fun and touristy haha. The orange and grapefruit juice was amazing.. seriously. A couple of the girls got henna done and we all ate dinner in the square looking around at the markets. The next day we had a tour of the old Medina and then roamed on or own for a bit.
All the attention all the Moroccan boys give the girls is pretty entertaining. All the boys are completely in love with my new friend Karina. Shes the Moroccan goddess and they all beg for her hand in marriage. Another night we were all walking home from the square and a couple of teenage boys were walking behind us calling out trying to get some attention. It was annoying but we didn’t feel unsafe so we just ignored them… until one of them yells out “sex me!” ALL of us turn out heads and death stare him, causing all his friends to start hitting him and telling him to “shut up shut up!”
After the tour ended we rested, did our laundry, and sorted ourselves out for our flight to SPAIN!!! Morocco was beautiful and exhausting and was a place I had wanted to go for a while. Now I have finally seen it, I’m sure one day I will go back.
I got up early this morning so I had plenty of time to take photos of Todra Gorge. Unfortunately because it was so early and everyone was asleep it wasn’t the same as yesterday. After breakfast I lugged my backpack down the steps and one of the staff at the hotel took it off me and joked that he can take my place and I can stay here. Today was another big travel day. But we stopped a fair bit to take in the scenery, take photos and have a picnic. I got a packet Oreos for a bargain 7dh (in the shops it’s usually 30dh) thanks to “Moroccan goddess and expert in French” Karina (who all the men are in love with). We looked over the snow capped mountains and down towards the valleys of the high atlas. It was really cold up high so after we had enough we all rushed back into the bus. We ate a picnic lunch on the hillside then kept driving on to Ait Ben Haddou to stay.
Ait Ben Haddou is this really cool town. All the houses are the browny red you’d expect from morocco. We explored through the old town up the hill where game of thrones was filmed. Had a wander throughout the markets then got together for another delicious dinner.
It was sunrise when we woke up this morning so we all sat around and drank some mint tea before hopping back onto our camels. I think I mentioned that yesterday the camel ride didn’t hurt… Well today we realised our butts were more sensitive than we thought as we squirmed on our camels the way back from our desert camp. Although it was about 100x more uncomfortable than yesterday I still enjoyed looking output overt he rolling sand dunes. When we returned to the luxury hotel we didn’t stay in we had breakfast and started the 5 hour bus drive to Todra Gorge.
I’m not going to lie that bus ride wasn’t as fun as the others, we were all a bit tired and hot and feeling sorry for ourselves. But morocco likes to play games with you. One minute your driving through pretty scenery that you already saw the day before so can’t be bothered taking pictures.. And next you arrive at Todra Gorge. Khaled told us we were going for an hour walk to the hotel, and for some reason I didn’t think it would be worth taking my camera – I was most definitely wrong. We start strolling through the village communal vegetable garden (of sorts) spotting olive, apricot, grape, pomegranate, fig, etc trees and then we cross the little river, to explore the ruined old town and then come up to the Main Street. Pink flowers blossom everywhere making the gorge look like a little paradise. Looming above you are massive cliff faces, and along the road it looks like everyone is out socialising, working, celebrating, etc. a couple of market stalls line the road selling carpets, scarves, and the usual little tajines and jewellery. On both sides of the road were little creeks that the kids in the village were all swimming and playing in, a couple of people were lighting camp fires at the foot of the cliff and some waved as we walked past. It was the most beautiful thing I didn’t get a picture of 😦
In a beautiful red green and gold tent styled room we feasted on chicken tajine with cinnamon orange for dessert and had a chat for the rest of the night.
This morning at breakfast time Khalid was laughing at us girls telling us he could hear us all last night, and was shocked that I could be loud, “kaliiiiii I thought you were quiet! You were laughing and talking in there too!”
After breakfast we hopped back into our van and left Midelt, the apple growing region, and on through the Atlas Mountains. As usual the surroundings were beautiful, made up of deep gorges with rivers, palm trees, little pockets of lush green vegetation amongst the red rugged hills. We were driving along the flat land looking out and a quick break in the ground let us catch a glimpse of a town down in a hidden valley – you literally could not see it if you were far from the edge looking straight over, you’d think it was just more flat nothing. All the houses are made of earth coloured concrete, some a bit more pink than others.
The first sight of dunes sparked some excitement from us! We passed these big mounds that we all thought were camel graves, Khalid told us they weren’t but they were very camel-shaped 😉 . We dipped our feet in the pool at this nice resort while we waited for the sun to set a bit and the temperatures to drop. And then our camel riding Sahara journey begun! Journeying out into the orange sand dune of the Sahara desert atop camels was pretty cool to say the least. Khalid kept just walking off far into the desert and would randomly reappear. The camel guides were very funny, one of them insisted upon singing Bob Marley and Shakira songs and would get somewhat hurt if we didn’t sing along. I was surprised by how comfy it was.
When we got to our little oasis camp ground we put our stuff down and hiked up the nearby sand dune. That was actually one of the hardest things if e ever done in my life it was so high and steep and my heart started to beat so fast I thought I was having an epileptic fit.. Ok not quite. Bt the last 3 metres of the dune were actually the hardest because the send was super soft and steep and you felt like you were going no where. The view at the top was worth it though. None of the pictures I got show how amazing it was up there and they don’t show you how high you are. It was like we were sitting on top of the world.
For dinner we had mint tea and of course tajine! Afterwards the camel guides got out all their little drums and played some traditional Berber music for us. When they finished we all layed out on the mats looking for shooting stars before crawling into our tents and drifting off to sleep.
We left fez and piled into our little mini bus. It took 5 hours in total to get from fez to Midelt but breaking the drive up into 40 minute heaps made it go really quickly. We stopped at a picturesque little picnic spot on the side of the road. There was a little creek lined with trees, fields of flowers and horses in the background and a cool breeze which made it a little chilly under the shade but perfect when sitting with your legs or back in the sun. Two local boys had these massive fishing rods cast into the little creek which we all thought looked pretty funny. We ate cheese, crackers and nearly mouldy olives (!!!) for lunch. On our way back to the bus at one end of the river there was HEAPS of frogs all croaking and jumping around.
The drive through the mountains was really beautiful, the landscape was constantly changing the further we drove. We passed many green hills and fields with red poppies and other orange, yellow, and white flowers sprinkled around. Then we’d be passing through pine forests with gray rocks that reminded us all of a place like Switzerland… Not that I’ve ever been to Switzerland and even really know what it looks like. We stopped on the side of the the road and said hello to the baboons chilling on the ground and hanging in the trees. Then the trees became very European looking, and we found out we were in a little town the French had made when they colonised morocco to remind them of home. Next we were surrounded by red dirt with low lying green bushes, a lot like outback Australia.
Finally we arrived at the small town of Midelt. The place we stayed had a beautiful rose garden with delicious smelling pink and orange roses (I’m not much of a flower person but with a fragrance like that it’s hard not to be). I was taking some photos of them when two of the girls who live/work at the guesthouse came up to me, talking Moroccan and gesturing back and forth between themselves. At first I thought they were telling me their names but then they pointed to my camera and went and stood in front of the rose bushes while I took a picture of them, then they took turns using my camera so that they could both get a picture with me as well.
We went for a hike around the surrounding land and the view just got more and more spectacular, we’d walk around a corner of the cliff and a valley with a river emerged. We traversed down the rocky cliff decorated with little lavender bushes and tall yellow flowers (which I’ve just been told is called fireweed) and strolled along the river. After trekking back up the mountain we found a group of kids playing soccer so joined in – and won (the first game). Afterwards we passed a donkey laying down, I know since we’ve seen so many now that seeing a donkey shouldn’t be so exciting… But this one was seriously posing just like donkey from shrek. My camera was dead so I couldn’t get the picture of it I’m sure you guys all would have loved 😦 . There was also two little boys galloping along on an imaginary horse made of a long stick.
While eating dinner the sunset turned the courtyard slightly pink, and our guide Khalid taught us Arabic as we all talked and laughed and had fun just like you would imagine a cliche movie scene.
And that night when we went to bed the talking and laughing and fun continued very loudly while everyone else was probably trying to sleep.
This morning we visited the Royal Palace in Fez. We all took photos of the golden doors to satisfy our Moroccan door obsession, Brian actually started knocking on one of the doors and got told to stop by the security guards!
After a bit of Moroccan history we travelled up to see a panoramic view of the city, before seeing all the ceramics being made. That was amazing, as you can see from the millions of photos of mosaic tiles I’m obsessed with photographing.
After buying a mosaic mug for myself we continued our journey in the narrow streets of Fez. We strolled along working out which turn led us to one of the 40,000 dead ends and which was one of the 9000 streets. While also listening out in case someone yelled out “belek!” To warn us to “get out the way!” Of the donkey coming up behind.
My favourite part of the day was definitely visiting the tannery. We all had mentally prepared ourselves for the disgusting smell of urine, bleach, and pigeon poo used in treating the leather, we were even given mint leaves for the smell, but it ended up being fine. After looking out over at the pots of. Dye and learning more about how its made we had a look around at all there at her bags shoes wallets etc.
Now time to relax on the terrace with wine and olives,
After a breakfast of msimim, honey, olives, mint tea and orange juice we said goodbye to the beautiful town of Moulay Idriss and went walking around the voluvilis roman ruins. They were on a hill speckled with coloured wild flowers, and gigantic stalks nests up on the posts.
Then we drove to the Old Medina in Meknes and walked through exploring the markets and the old university – everything is decorated with mosaic tiles. We found out about the process in putting them all together and it is a life art you need to learn as a child to have the skills to be able to do it when your older. They lay the tiles down upside down on the ground before they inlay it, so they can’t even see the colours of the tiles all put together, they just know what it’s going to look like. After the old medina we went through the other newer half, and saw the most amazing building. It was where one of the old kings was buried.. I can’t remember his name, he was the one with 500 wives and 800 kids. Every inch of the places was decorated with marble, mosaic tiles, cedar wood, and beautiful rugs
Now we are in Fez, apparently the most dangerous city in Morocco 😉