From Azrou to Tinghir
We travel through the rain, not to the Gorges du Todra, but to Tinghir, where we are pursued by a group of Moroccan musicians.
Swipe left and right to browse through the photos.
After the Wednesday breakfast, our by now faithful bus departed Azrou for the South. The schedule was to make for the Gorges du Todra and to spend the night in a hotel in the gorge. Geert had some news, however: the hotel owner had called to say that the hotel had been closed for safety reasons as a result of some rockslides in the gorge. He did own a different hotel in the vicinity of Tinghir, however, where we would be welcome. Four stars and with a swimming pool—cheers all around the bus.
Once on the road, the weather turned, however, and beneath a grey sky we slowly ascended into the High Atlas. We stopped along the road near several Bedouin tents, where we were allowed to look around and take pictures in exchange for a small group payment. Of course, as Geert later explained in the bus, it was not an actual proper nomad camp, as there were not nearly enough supplies for that; it was likely set up to draw tourists and make some money. Whether these people were actual nomads from a larger camp further out, or local villagers pretending to be nomads, was less clear. However, the tents did give a good impression of what the real nomad huts look like and what their life looks like, so it was worth it to make a short stop regardless. Just as we were getting back on the bus, it started to actually rain.
After over half a day, no one was able to say whether the cd was still playing the first song or whether it had restarted six times already.
It turned out to be fortunate that we were in the bus for most of the day, for the rain pretty much did not stop, save for a perfectly timed break during lunch. Even despite the downpour, the views from the bus did not cease to be amazing with again stunning vistas, especially in the High Atlas. By the end of the afternoon, we pulled up to the replacement hotel. It turned out to be a spacious complex with inner gardens, a conference room and indeed a swimming pool, although by now everyone had seen enough water for the day. It did seem as if the hotel had been hastily reopened for our arrival, however: the plants were overgrowing the garden, the fountains were all off, and fellow travellers Hanna and Abel apparently discovered a litter of kittens underneath their pillows (which sounds nicer than it was–even disregarding the experience of discovering there is something alive in your bed).
The owner did appear to have invested in entertainment, however: about a dozen of men and women in varying states of enthusiasm and in Moroccan garb were playing music, singing and dancing next to the swimming pool. This was probably done in case that we had not yet had enough Moroccan music, after a cd Geert had bought on the market had been on for over half the day, without anyone being able to say whether it was still playing the first song or had restarted six times already. Soon, unwary viewers of the dance spectacle started to be drawn into what can only be described as a mix between a group dance and a polonaise. The moment I spotted the most enthuastic of the musicians looking in our direction, I decided to act quickly and save my own skin. Like a lightning bolt I ducked down, raised my camera up to eye level and pretended to be intensely busy photographing. Vonne, who did not display a similar quickness of mind, was immediately plucked into the fray and forced to dance along. The world can be a rough place.
Enjoying a beer–apparently reasonably well available out of public sight–we waited for dinner, which was served in a beautiful small room that had a leak in the roof right above our table. A quick switch to another table later, we were served with large tajines filled with lovely marinated chicken. The band had apparently been paid to follow us around, for just outside the room, the music and dance continued merrily along. After a friendly request from the group–who by now really had had enough–we could discover in peace just how little still knew of each other and how interested Geert was in random personal facts about everyone.
Tomorrow, we continue on through the Todra Gorge and the journey continues on to Agdz!