Friday, September 25, 2015

Ouarzazat to Essaouira

We enjoyed our stay in the very stylish Riad Bouchedor in Ouarzazat on Thursday night with its very caring and attentive staff. Rob is improved this morning (Friday 25th) and we're all ready for the long drive ahead of us.

We spend the first few hours of the drive in the high Atlas Mountains on roads that curve and wind through spectacular landscapes of subtle colour and arid vegetation
 .....and lush fertile valleys.
We eventually cross the Tizi n'tichka Pass (2260metres) and stop at one of the many argan oil "feminine co-operatives" dotting the highway. No wonder it is such an expensive product (Moroccan Oil) as its  extraction is very labour intensive and it would be hard to implement large scale farming operations in harvesting the nuts.
Once we're over the Tizi n'tichka Pass the landscape changes and we can see that farming is much more intensive. In winter this country is covered in snow.
We take a lunch stop on the drive through the more opulent parts of new Marrakesh. Not much is open today on the second day of Eid and the Italian cafe we stop at is slow to serve us (but food is good). It's a good 2 and half hour drive then through flat, poor looking country to Essaouira. As we get closer to the Atlantic Coast we see more olive and argan tree groves and we note the strong ocean breezes and cooler temperatures.

It is always exciting to arrive at our riad accommodation on this trip and there are lots of "wows" as we arrive at Riad Mimouna last night. It's located in the Essaouira Medina (so it involves a walk through the laneways of the old city to get here), but it has the most spectacular location right beside the sea. This is the view from one of our windows...
I love the sound of the sea....and it's just as well as even with our windows closed it is a very distinctive sound in the rooms of this beautiful Riad.

We enjoy a late, delicious dinner in the Riad's dining room high up on the roof terrace. We eat some of the local seafood in a range of dishes that are beautifully prepared.  Rob doesn't join us; he's not eating much yet.

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