Friday, 19 April 2013

Day trip to the Atlas Mountains

Making Argan Oil
We had almost a whole day to fill after our check out of the hotel so we decided to take a trip to Ourika valley at the foot of the Atlas MountainsWe didn't have time to do any trekking (that's definitely for next time!) but we walked through the souk which takes place every Monday.  There they have freshly killed meat, plants, herbs and spices and everything else you could want to buy. From there our driver took us to see Berber women making Argan oil. You get shown all the cosmetic products made from the oil and taken to the shop .. there was no pressure selling but seeing how these women work makes you want to buy something or at least put a small donation in the dish in front of them.   

The Hammam
We were also taken to a traditional Berber house beside a river where they use the power of the water to drive the mill to grind flour. They also had their own hammam which is a steam room - this is where they cleanse their bodies at least once a week. It was quite small and looked a little claustrophobic to me!

Of course there is a shop there too but again no pressure to buy.  What I did notice was that the prices quoted were considerably lower than those in the souk in Marrakesh so of course I had to buy a couple of pieces of Berber jewellery! *happy face*

Valley and snow capped peaks
Afterwards we had a late lunch overlooking the beautiful valley .. again sampling the local wine and Moroccan salad before heading back to collect our luggage and reluctantly heading to the airport and home.

Next time I visit Marrakech I definitely want to do another trip to the Atlas Mountains, going over the top and experiencing the magnificent Sahara desert in true romantic style. There are many tours offering various types of trips from one day hiking to camel treks, quad biking and 4-WD safaris.

My next jaunt will be to the island of Crete in the Mediterranean in a few weeks .. can't stop me .. variety is the spice of life!

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