Thursday, 13 March 2014

13th March

Impressive High Atlas Mountains
Woke up to brilliant sunshine and a tantalising glimpse of the snow capped high Atlas Mountains at the bottom of our valley – phew, my promise to Hanna had been fulfilled!

The drive to Marrakech took us through the high Atlas Mountains via the Tizi-n-Tichka pass at 2060 metres, so we knew we’d see some really stunning scenery.  Before the pass though, we took a 20km diversion to Telouet where there was supposed to be a highly decorated but abandoned Kasbah built in the 20th century but not lived in since 1956.  This drive in itself was just jaw dropping as we followed switchbacks along the valley to eventually arrive in Telouet.

Inside the Kasbah at Telouet
Mohammed, our guide....
We parked up near the Kasbah and Mohammed, a local guide, took us round.  He was very interesting as his ancestors had been enslaved by the local pasha to build the Kasbah, and he’d traced them back to Timbuktu.  He was absolutely passionate about the Kasbah and the 20 dirham entrance fee went to towards its conservation – a monumental, but seemingly impossible task.  We were taken to the main state rooms which were still splendid and had miraculously escaped the ravages of time and neglect.  We saw beautiful painted and carved cedar wood ceilings, intricate carved gypsum plasterwork, the colourful ceramic tiles on the lower walls and the marble tiled floors. We were then taken up on to the roof and duly admired the mountainous scenery all around us.

We were just making for our car on the way out, when Mohammed asked us to come and look at some carpets!!  Well, it would have seemed very rude not to have done. So, we looked at a few and I ended up buying a small rug to go my side of the bed – it’s made from the fibres of the aloe succulent and camel and sheep hair and I think will look great.  Mohammed asked if we would give a lift to a local shepherd back to the main Marrakech road, which, of course, we did as were happy to oblige.  In the very mountainous section of the drive, seemingly at very viewpoint or bend in the road there were men selling rock lodes cleaved in half with the most revolting, highly artificial looking , gaudy pink or red crystals inside – we managed to resist these gems!!

We then continued our drive to Marrakech.  The pass actually recorded some 40 metres lower on our sat nav than our guide book stated, but still, the views were outstanding.  From there, it was downhill, so to speak to Marrakech through more amazing countryside.  As we got closer to the city, more and more vehicles appeared so we ended up going in slow moving convoys, which made for dull driving.  Our sat nav got us to the hotel fine – it looks nothing from the outside, but is a haven of peace and tranquillity once through the front door.  So much so, that we’ve all decided to veg. out this afternoon and relax.  We have been on the road now for some 12 days and I think all need some quiet time to recharge our batteries.

No comments:

Post a Comment