Monday, 17 March 2014

17th March

Chez Momo 2
Chris left yesterday with us arriving at Chez Momo 2.  What he failed to mention was that it was an absolute delight.  Very nice staff, beautiful gardens with small one storey bungalows in the grounds.  The rooms were rustic but comfortable enough.  There was also a resident young, very friendly female black and white cat.  She was really sweet but unfortunately suffered from either mites or a fungus so was scratching around her ear which was a bit of a mess.  After we petted here, we made sure we washed our hands!

The main dining area was huge and very nice.  They had lit a very inviting fire in an enormous fireplace which I made a beeline for as it was chilly at night.  We had some drinks before having our half board meal – an artichoke, a tagine (yippee!!) and then a very rich and tasty chocolate mousse.  We washed this down with a a couple of bottles of red wine from Meknes.  We’ve only found one wine we’re not keen on so far, but the choice hasn’t been huge.

Common Bulbul
Before we set off, I got a glimpse of a bird that instantly reminded me of a bulbul.  Several photos later, we established that it was definitely a common bulbul, which seems an unfair description as its song is far from common.  It has the most extraordinary melodious song which easily rivals the blackbird or thrush.

Some of the winding roads
Today, we had to drive to Taroudant which involved some tortuous mountainous roads to get out of the high Atlas.  I’d drawn the short straw as Chris has done most of the driving so far and wanted a well earned break.  The views were still hazy which was a real shame as this is one of the best drives in Morocco and renowned for its incredible views of the high Atlas Mountains.  However, the scenery was still incredible even without seeing the snow clad peaks clearly - seeing those would have been the icing on the cake.  Unlike most European countries with roads along high stony rock faces, the sides of the mountains are not clad in any sort of webbing or netting to catch loose rocks or stabilised to prevent landslides, so the roads are littered with chunks of rock and you can see where rock falls have been cleared.  We came across a lot of road works where the narrow road had been made even narrower as part of it had collapsed down the hillside.  At one point, I have to admit to having an attack of vertigo, which somewhat alarmed both Hanna and Chris.  However, I decided just to focus on the road ahead of me instead of glancing at the sheer drop just a few feet from my side of the car!

Tea stop.......
Once we’d cleared the high pass and were on the long descent, we stopped off for a well earned tea/coffee break and feasted our eyes on the amazing views from the back terrace of the road side cafe.  We even managed to avoid carpet sales there as there was a small shop, but don’t know if it had any carpets......

Eventually, we descended to the lower plains where it is arid and hot.  At long last we have a chance to wear our hot weather gear!   Our hotel, where we’re staying 2 nights, is wonderful and has scored 5 stars for the last 2 years on Trip Advisor.  We’ve been upgraded to suites, which suits us down to the ground!  This hotel also has beautiful gardens stuffed with lots of scented plants – lemons, oranges, roses, brugmansias, rosemary etc. etc.  There are also tortoises resident in the garden.  Each bungalow has a private, shady patio where we can hear and see the abundant birdlife here which includes the very melodious common bulbuls.  Chris and I even found the time to go and sit in the large and heated Jacuzzi late this afternoon, so now feel totally chilled out and relaxed and ready for drinkies and dinner!!

Yes- we have to slum it by this pool....
Okay – update from drinkies and dinner.  In a word – FAB!!  We couldn’t believe that we were served HAM on sticks as an accompaniment to our pre prandial drinks.  Dinner was light – fingers of fish in a light batter for H and myself, thinly sliced duck breast salad for C and then scallops all round for main. No room for pudding.  We’re now all having a brandy on H’s patio listening to cicadas.  Perfect.  No sign of the tortoises.

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