On the way to the desert I found a Disney city…

On the way to the desert there are mountains to be crossed, middle-of-no-where-roadside-persistent vendors to face, movie-sets to explore, nomadic berber families to meet, their camels to adore, a few quite big cities built in the middle of a deserted land to pass, a night in a countryside riad, more tangine to eat and moroccan tea to drink… among others. It is a 600km journey divided in 2 days, driven by our guide Ibrahim, whose favorite phrase is: “No problem!” (in his moroccan accent!) Love it!

Do you want to stop here? No problem!” Ibrahim says. We left Marrakech 3 hours ago and we are now passing through a little village that seams to be throwing a party… Ibrahim parks the jeep and we walk closer to watch. There are 2 groups of men in a circle dressed in their ceremony cream vests playing and singing in arabic, women are on a separate circle. But what’s the occasion? The government is giving 8 vans to the community so that kids can be taken to school and its people are here to welcome someone from the government to thank them for this. Here is a little video of them singing:

Back on the road, we start crossing the high Atlas mountains…

Atlas Mountains Vendors by the road Morocco

And on the coast of an arid mountain there is this tiny village, it is so old that it looks like the time has blended the colors of the walls with the walls of the mountain itself. The most recent building in pink is the hospital for this village.

Old Village
Old Village
Hospital of the Village
Hospital of the Village

As we start climbing more and more, the road becomes a challenge for my stomach, I don’t want to miss a thing and try massaging it, looking in a fixed point but ultimately I have to lay down and close my eyes to pass the famous Tizi n Tichka Pass. Even here, when we stop to watch over the road and the mountains, there is a vendor trying to sell us something they got from the mountains.

Tizi n Tichka Pass Tizi n Tichka Pass

Every time I sit up to peek out the window it feels that the landscape has changed so much and now with the mountains behind we head southeast in more straighten roads and deserted landscape…

Morocco On the road

Next stop is Ksar Aït-Ben-Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage.

Uncontrollable excitement builds up inside me as we approach the city and I can’t help but to let out a squeak as soon as I see it! As a great fan of Game of Thrones I have been looking forward to visit the city that is retracted as Yunkai in the series. It was also retracted in Gladiator, Indiana Jones, Star Wars… But there is so much more about Ksar Aït-Ben-Haddou…

Aït-Ben-Haddou
Aït-Ben-Haddou

Ksar stands for fortified city and this is a beautiful old one! The Ksar is all made of mud, clay and bamboo straws. Our guide says it is strong as it doesn’t rain much here. But it’s degradation has forced the population to move to new houses built on the other side of the river. However there are still 5 poor families who live here.

The streets are so peaceful! There are a few shops open and a little gallery with artwork made with indigo, tea and saffron that changes colour using a flame and ones I found very impressive using magnifying glass and the sun to “burn the picture”.

Aït-Ben-Haddou

The view from the top
The view from the top
Artwork made with magnifying glass and sun
Artwork made with magnifying glass and sun
Photo of set of GOT
Photo of set of GOT

Aït-Ben-Haddou Aït-Ben-Haddou Aït-Ben-Haddou Aït-Ben-Haddou

I left Aït-Ben-Haddou wondering what was like to live in a city that looks like something out of a Disney movie…

Morocco 105- Kalaat M’gouna Town

Kelaat M'gouna
Kelaat M’gouna

Andreia Leite

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  • COMMENT (1)

    1. sandra jack 29th December 2015 at 9:21 am -

      loving your travels xx

      Reply

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