Joined October 2016
  • Day11

    snow storm and palms

    December 2, 2019, Western Mediterranean ⋅ 🌬 13 °C

    Yesterday Mr. Brahim said we could have breakfast at 6 and indeed, we had a delicious meal with freshly crepe-like bred, the best we had so far. We went off and then suddenly it was raining and as we went up and up, we were driving under heavy snowfall! Wow! So cool. Luckily we had a lot of time and we could sneak our way up and down the pass without any incident. Hisham kept informing his friend about the conditions, he had clients to bring to the desert. Under heavy snow they close the pass and that would mean a drive all up to the coast to Agadir to get to where we were, a plus of 500-600km. So no wonder there is heavy construction going on, that road is essentiell to connect to south-east to Marrakesh. We crossed him when the pass was still open do he was really happy. A couple of minutes later there were big rocks on the street, probably just fallen down. Hisham stopped and he and Christoph with another driver went out to get them off the street, being located just after a turn that could have ended badly for a driver. We then stopped at a cooperative, those are financially supported by the state that (mostly) women can sell their crafts. We (had to) visited one yesterday who sold carpets. We are just not interested in carpets so it was a bit of an awkward visit, but not now: This cooperative sold Argan Oil. It is a tree endemic to Morocco and it has fruits that the goats like. That’s why they climb up those trees to est them. The fruit is them dried, peeled, then there is a core and after crashing the core there is the little flat thing where they press the oil out. Out of 90kg of fruits come 8-9kg of that flat things to get 1l of Argan Oil. It is then (that’s what they told us) milled by hand and a brown paste comes out of it. By putting a bit of water in the leftover gets solid amd they are formed as kind of disk (they reminded mit of big brown erythrocytes) and it seperates from the oil. The leftover fruit is given to the animals, the shell is used for heat and the brown big erythrocytes to ‘make to cows fat’. Haha. We had a nice coffee, shopped big time and then left in direction of the airport. We were good in time so we stopped at a local food place and had a delicious final moroccan dish. It was time to say good bye to Hisham. I am now sitting in the plane, we had a stunning sunset over the mediterranean with site in the French coast, an incredible sight on the alps including Mont Blanc and soon we will be landing and be picked up by Christophs mum.Read more

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  • Day10

    drive drive drive

    December 1, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    We skipped the camel ride and took the car right away. We had a wonderful good night’s sleep in our cozy sleeping bags and pillows. Very luxurious to have your own stuff with you. We walked up the dunes to see the sunrise, again, beautiful. Just to sit there in the sand and think of those days we got to spend here in that country, it fulfilled us with happiness. The way back to Ait Ben Haddou wasn’t the same: We would head in direction of the Drâa-Valley, where it is dates-land. So many palms, so green and yet so many contrasts with the brown-reddish rocks, just wow. Then we climbed up another pass through incredible rocks formations and we were amazed. As always. Oh and I forgot to mention di er place in K’nob, with a view on thag city and in company of a kitten. We drove and drove and we bought first quality dates and arrived late Chez Brahim, our last stay in Ait Ben Haddou. We took the opportunity to walk once again through that famous Kashbar. The last diner was in a cozy place and we had a lot of fruits for dessert. Maroccans don’t really have a dessert culture like we have after a diner so fruit it is for most places. The only places we had a ‘proper western desert’ was at the touristic places. We went then off to bed quite quickly because tomorrow we want to hit the road at 6:20am to head to Marrkesh without a rush and again taking another route.Read more

  • Day9

    desert, well dunes

    November 30, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Oh dear, that was one awesome day: It started with early breakfast at the hotel in the Dades valley and the Hisham took us to the look out of it: We were there with a lot of Spanish people. It seems Marocco is a dear spot for them, considering it is just next by, not so surprising. There are also quite a lot of Britain and also Chinese people. After some pictures we drove down the valley we saw now in daylight and we were delighted. It was beautiful. We had a coffee again at some place (Hisham pretends I am as addicted to coffee as him) and then headed to gorge ofThodra. Again, beautiful. We had lunch at a quite touristy place with standard food: There is Schnitzel and Fries, you can almost always have chicken lemon Tangerine and Maroccan salad. It’s very nice, some better then other. Unfortunately, when you have booked a complete trip one cannot really choose where to eat or said otherwise, I feel of more confusing the organiser then anything else. And food is nice (and you pay 3-5 times more of course). We headed to the dune El Cheibb, the most famous dune in Marocco. As often I only realized quite late that we booked a camel ride that would bring us to tents to spend the night near the dunes. I was ery sceptical, a bit scared to fall of that animal. But I had a very nice one, being the last of the caravan. Behind me was a baby camel. Very cute. We were ten people, the other all from Brazil. Christoph wasn’t as lucky as me, his camel acted strangely from the beginning making strange noises. We started to walk, funny sitting on one. I have no idea on how camels are made to have human on their back. It is even much more interesting when walking down the dunes since they slide down. Then you have to hold on. Christoph’s camel was probably either very bored (because I think camels look bored anyway) or/and hungry: It started to nibble at the saddle of the guy in front if him. The saddle contains straw and that camel was very insisting on getting that straw that it walked funnily and Christoph had to hold on real tight, me, too, because I had to laugh so hard. It was so funny! After that we walked up one of the dunes and had one of the most stunning sunset with some pink cloud action going on, I couldn’t believe the sight of it. Just awesome. Then we had shower in our berber tent ‘village’, some tea an then a delicious diner. After that we went star gazing again to end that incredible day.Read more

  • Day8

    da da dades

    November 29, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    We could have continued to sleep for some
    more hours but at 7o’clock it was time to get up, pack our stuff and get breakfast. At around 8 we met Hisham, a 28 year old guy that is now our driver until we leave Marocco. Today’s plan was to drive up to a pass called Tichka (I think), then down to the Marocco-Hollywood called Ouarzazate, going to a roseoil/ -essence cooperative and then to the valley of Dades. Hisham was talking a lot from the beginning, very friendly and explaining a lot like why he didn’t like French tourists and also that he never generalizes.. So actually he mostly doesn’t like French tourists because they treat him as a servant rather then with due respect. Anyway, he speaks wonderfully English, French, Darija (Maroccan Arab) as well as Tamaziɣt, a berber language. Quite impressive. The journey was very interesting passing many little or bigger villages first the same way like we came from Marrakesh but then turning east taking the N9 to Tazentout. That road is one to remember. Firstly, it is so curvy you think you are on a roller coaster. Even more if you have Hisham as a (mad) driver. Puh. He rushed because he realized that we couldn’t visit Ait Ben Haddou on Monday, our flught being too early. So he suggested to do it today. Oh feel the rush, oh yes. Haiaiaiai. Breakfast stayed where it should. Before the adventurous drive up that pass we had a coffee break at a lovely place where we had the best coffee so far. There is heavy construction going on, they want to make that road straighter. They just make way through the rocks. Not as a tunnel but they kind of cut in half the thing. Impressive. The way down is already finished and yes, less curvy. You can still see the old road passing next to the mountain. As said, Hisham was drivingvery fast and shortly before Ait Ben Haddou he was stopped by the police and had to pay 300 Dirham (30€). A lot of money. He was not pleased. We had then diner with a view over that famous UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987. A very beautiful place with a lot of people watching possibilities. It is one of the hot spots to be in Marocco. We had a guide named Mohamed whose family still owns a house in the Kabash (fortified village). It is composed with houses out of mud and straw, approximately 70 families stayed there, 57 berber and 13 jewish families. Each caravans going from Marrakesh to Timbuktu made a break at this place. The last caravan passed 50 years ago. Families started to leave the old city to build a new one on the other side of the lake in the 50ies. Habitat is quite basic, it is difficult to get the water and there is still no electricity. Now the UNESCO doesn’t want thise installations. There are 4-5 families remaining in the old city and they have solar panels. Ait Ben Haddou (I like that I am able to write that name without looking it up) is got famous as a place where movies were shot: Gladiator, Bond was here and Angelina, too, for the Prince of Persia. It stays a beautiful place even though it is touristy and now almost a dead city. At the moment there i not enough water and restoration of the buildings is expensive. Let’s hope it will survive some other 1000years since the first mentioning of that place are around 1000. We then continued our way to the Dades valley, skipped the Rose-stuff, had fun while listening to music and driving through marvelous landscapes. Just wow. We are now at the hotel and we will leave again at 8 tomorrow to have a better look at that valley.Read more

  • Day7

    and down again

    November 28, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Last night we were only seven people in the refuge and only five sleeping in the dormitory of 20 which was very comfy. We were supposed to climb up another 4000m today, respectively starting with the lower one and Toubkal for today. But Brahim wanted to make sure we arrive on the top of Toubkal so he switched mountains. The german couple did the same as we did only in three rather then two days and they were a day ahead so they could tell us how the other mountain was. They told us it was icy and steep and they couldn’t reach the top. So Christoph and me decided to just go a bit in direction of the second mountain and then turn around and head down to Imlil again. It was again a beautiful journey, we had lunch at the same place as the way up, again everything in the sun. Back in Imlil at around 3 we had tea and said goodbye to Brahim. Then we did some washing in a special washing bag (it works very well) and were enjoying ourselves in the sun. What a wonderful trek that was! We now have another four days ahead and today we gonna know our driver and discover a bit more of that wonderful country with the incredible friendly people.Read more

  • Day6

    toubkal - three humans, four sheep

    November 27, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    So. Toubkal ahead. We started when everyone was up already. Many do this trek and this mountain in two days only: 1. day to the refuge, 2. day up to Toubkal and all the way down to Imlil again. Sporty. Even more if you think about acute mountain sickness. That’s way not all of the trekkers get to the top. We are the lucky ones and started only at 8 o’clock. The ascent was very, very steep and icy, the view splendid. We took breaks in the sun and were enjoying dried dates and figues, sugar boosters! After some more very steep and slippery passages where we would meet a lot of people descending already (more or less equipped and more or less confident. I was really sorry for some because, as said, ice and steepness, no good) , we were at point to turn left and take the final meters. What a view! And we were all alone! Well, four sheep and a lamb were with us, hungry and eager to eat the rest of peanuts and dates we had. They belonged to a guy in one of the villages, he was looking for them for a long time. So Brahim called him and said he would try to chase them down (with us :-) ). We stayed approximately one hour up there, enjoying the calm, the warmth, the view, the air, eachother and of course that incredibly schnuslig lamb. Then it was time for the descent. That was quite difficult, not as slippery as I thought, but still, I would have rather made another 900m up then going down. We had some action because, sheep being sheep they firstly wemt up again so a second guide with the last group of the day chased them down where Brahim was, then those animals didn’t went down but straight, there were cliffs and oh dear, that little lamb. Anyway with Brahim shouting from down the cliff up to the other guide that somehow also went to the cliffs to get the sheep to turn around. As proven again, not the most clever animals but sweet ones. We all arrived down safely at around 2pm. Then we had the plan to take a shower. Shower is for free and with warm water. So far, so good. But there are two inconveniences: The dirt (so one of us had to play cloth rack while the other was showering) and the smell there. Oh dear. I am not picky but that was challenging. We had a lot of laughs and finally we were clean and warm. The next thing to do was filtering some more water. We had to either walk up the refuge to goto the river - or find the end of the ‘pipe’. We found it and after some pumping we had 4.5l of drinking water. Very cool. After all those things we had a snack with freshly made kind-of-pancakes, they were delicious. For diner we had fries, yummy. After diner we played dice with Brahim and he had a good hand, he won.Read more

  • Day5

    up we go!

    November 26, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    ooooh, we were so looking forward to start iur little trek: Today we had to walk to the refuge at 3220m above sea level. Since we would come back after to nighrs to the Imlil lodge we could leave some stuff there. Still, we had a lot. Christoph had a lot of fancy stuff like water filter, solar panals, lights, we had our own matresses, war sleeping bags, anyway, just a lot. Luckily a nice mule would carry that up for us. We only had our day pack with already filtered water from yesterday (to use a bit less plastic and honestly, it is quite cool to be able to do get your own drinking water with a ceramic filter). We were lucky with the weather and started around nine-ish. In the village of Brahim we met some other trekkers that haven’t known that everybody needed a guide to go up Mount Toubkal. One or two years ago two women were killed in a remote place in the area. Since then there is the obligation of a guide. Some said it is just to make money and not for security - but even then, it is not that there are many jobs here so at least money comes to the valley. The guide-less trekkers were quickly equipped with one and the price was quickly set and off they went, too. We walked on a very wide track, easy going up to the lunchplace at 2300m. There is a white stone which is a holy place for the muslim so quite popular to go there. Now there were also some houses were they would sell food and souvenirs. After lunch we continued our trek up and arrived at the refuge at around 4. Why hurry; up there not much to do. We met the German couple again that went up to Mt. Toubkal today. We went to our dormitory and settled in. Thanks to the stuff we brought (or better Christoph) it looked cozy and inviting. After diner we went outside watching stars. Fabulous!Read more

  • Day4

    warming up

    November 25, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today we got up at 8, had breakfast (some yoghurt, bread and egg) and met our guide for the next few days: Brahim. Very nice man. After packing our lunch bag we followed him up, up to a summit at approximately 2700m, in the beginning in the shadow and then quickly in the sun. Brahim explained us, that yesterday’s driver was the boss if Toubkal guide, the company our agency works with. Even though there is a bit of tourism here, a lot of poeple are unemployed. There are no jobs here and there is no spci security here. Now is off season and the tours are given one after another to the around 20guides. In winter there are ski tourers that can reach a couple of 4000m summit in little time. Up on todays summit we could see a telecabin station at around 3500m. In the summer many come to climb up Mt. Toubkal, like we are planning Rhere are also 5 day trips around the high atlas. It would be way more busy in summer. Sleeping is also possible at families, here are berber. There are three different region where they live and therefore also speak different languages. It isn’t a written language but they made some efforts to change that so it is easier to preserve it. Brahim speaks one berber language, arab, french, english and some german. And maybe some more, I’ll find out. Impressive. Looking forward to talk a bit more to him the nexr days. Today was just marvelous, the colors are amazing. We had lunch at the pass and then walked down again. All in all a perfect day. Back at the gite we had tea, shower and after a delicious diner we went up the rooftop and warched the milkyway. Cinema at its best.Read more

  • Day3

    imlil

    November 24, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We had a wonderful good night sleep, I even didn’t hear the Muezzin. After a delicious breakfast we headed again to the city, which looked differently because it was warm and sunny and just wonderful! At midday a driver picked us up in a fancy landrover and brought us to Imlil, that is already at 1880m altitude and at the foot of the Atlas mountain. It was a marvelous drive and we arrived at a Gite that is (again) is beautiful. We were directly brought to the rooftop for lunch with salad marocco style and a lentil dish. Delicious. Some mint tea and oranges for dessert, we are in heaven. We went strolling around the little village, had a coffee and now I am sitting on the balcony in t-shirt and enjoying the sunny evening. What else to ask for!Read more

  • Day2

    maroccoooooo

    November 23, 2019 in Morocco ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Woooopwooop! Another trip ahead and this time with Christoph, my boyfriend. We are heading to Marocco for a trek and some time in the desert, very looking forward to it! We got up very early to take the first train to Geneva airport. We had coffee and observed the planes and then off we went! We were picked up at the airport by a driver and were brought in front of a hospital. We had then to walk through very narrow streets to our riad. A beautiful one, even though the owner said it would be more lovely by good when good weather. Indeed, it was raining and misty. We didn’t care, hat a wonderful lunch and went off to discover that exciting city. You can really get lost in those souk, the market with narrow streets. It is huge. We stopped at the Maison de la Photographie, had a coffee on the rooftop and walked back to our lovely riad. Skipping diner we were in bed quite early and very looking forward for the next days!Read more

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