Helen goes to Morocco Day 12 – Erg Chebbi, Todra Gorge to Ait Youl

Day 12, a day with a good mix of activities but also a long day. Distance wise, we drove about 260km today but with various stops along the way it became an 11hr day which made for quite a few tired and hungry souls when we eventually made it to Ait Youl at the auberge we were staying in for the next two nights. My journal today includes quite a few comments of “we drove and drove” :).

In the tune of “we drove and drove”, we will start today off with a sample of photos taken from the bus window as “we drove and drove”.

It was a bit sad to be leaving Hotel Yasmina, I had really enjoyed our stay here, even though the hotel was in a stage of renovation and the sand did sometimes get a bit annoying, it really was just such a lovely place.

We left Hotel Yasmina at 9am and made our first stop after about 1hr at a fossil workshop (Macro Fossiles Kasbah). This was very interesting. It was more so interesting for those of us who had seen fossils in the wild yesterday, now today, we got to see them going through the various stages of processing for sale.

Our next stop after another 90mins of driving was a bank in Tinejdad so that people could restock with Dirhams as required as in the coming days we would not be close to an ATM. This was also a much needed leg stretch. It was then back in the car to drive for just under 1hr to Tinghir. We had lunch in a very lovely outdoor area that was screened with grape vines and reed roofing. After a nice long lunch, we walked down into the Todra River to walk though the small hold farms for about 90mins. This was a very interesting area to walk though and Mum, Aunty Margaret and I all commented to each that their dad/my granddad would have thoroughly enjoyed walking through this area. We also thoroughly enjoyed this after lunch walk. I could have walked through these small holds for hours, looking at all the different crops, the irrigation methods and the land use. Not everyone feels like that though πŸ˜€

We then drove a short way further up the Todra River to the Todra Gorge. This was quite speccy and you can see why it is one of the very common tourist stops. Would have loved to have walked further up the gorge, but there are always things to be added on to the future Morocco trip!

It was then another short drive of about 30 mins to the town of Tinghir to visit a carpet shop here called Maison Berbere. This was a very nice carpet shop and I had not already bought a carpet back in Casablanca, I could have been quite tempted by some of the carpets here. What I did fall in love with was this massive carpet hanging on the wall. I fell so in love with it that you get two photos which are mostly the same in the and there was this very large carpet hanging on the wall, which I would dearly have loved to taken with me. Not that I have a room in my house with a wall large enough to hang it and I think I could possibly have squeezed it onto the living room floor but well a carpet of this size is $$$, maybe next time though… After the various carpet purchases had been bundled up, it was back to the bus to hit the road again. Whilst others had stopped earlier in the day to refill their cash supplies, I stopped just before we got back on the bus to refill my data supplies πŸ˜€ as data was needed for keeping up to speed with the navigation, playing Pokemon Go and also uploading photos to Instagram :).

We then had an hour to drive fairly well heading south west into the setting evening sun. There were quite a few photos taken by all of the sunset as we drove down the N10. In a bit of good timing either by coincidence or partially planned, we arrived at a lookout point over the Dades River at Boumalne Dades just as the sun was setting. This as a lovely little pause to enjoy the setting sun. As the coming week and a bit of our trip would be more walking based, we picked up an extra guide (Mohamed) at Boumalne Dades.

Ait Youl was fortunately only a 10 min drive from Boumalne Dades and there some very happy people to be out of the bus but also some very hangry people (refer to earlier post) at the fact that it was 8pm and we had not had dinner yet and it would be closer to 9pm by the time the cooks that would now be travelling with us as well for the next little while had dinner ready for us. Oh it was such a fun adventure.

Still, the air was cool, the town was quiet and we were going to sleep with a roof over our head and food in our bellies. We cannot complain.

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