Author: Nathalie Bronzo
I like the smells, the colors, the deserts, the horizon and the encounters that we find there during a trek.
Morocco is all that.
Easily accessible, 7 hours of flight to Casablanca, and from there the exploration begins by train, bus, car or plane. French is a bit spoken in town, but a few words of Arabic are enough, the hands do the rest!
The Morocco I know best is east of Marrakech, Merzouga desert further north, Mahmid south to the Siroua Mountains (Anti Atlas). Alternation of sand dunes, black rocky plateaus, scattered hills, pitons, dried oued, and oases with insolent, improbable greens. In the center, Ouarzazate the beautiful, with its film sets, its multiple Riads and lodgings but for a stay where happiness is guaranteed, I have only good words for kasbah Dar Daif, a place where all our senses are challenged.
I drove Morocco by car, but it was on foot with a guide and his team that I had the best time. Already sleeping in a riad in Marrakech sets the mood. We push a door at the end of a dark alley, we tap and there the inner gardens appear, with multiple stairs, unusual corners, dim lights. It smells of history! Tea is served, the only thing left to do is to take the time. In the morning, the rooster, the call to prayer and the chirping of birds announce the sunrise over the Atlas. It smells of firewood, dew, orange and olive oil.
But here is our guide, it’s time to leave.
The road through the mountains is a must (unless flying to Ouarzazate). A road that wiggles for three hours, in the middle of endless works, stone sellers, plates, cooperative argan oil (Essaouira and Agadir treasures) and cafes restaurants that in one round of hand serve a delicious tajinne in the midst of the hubbub of horns, parade of expedition cars, buses and large trucks by their loading of haystacks. It smells like roasted mutton mixed with saffron dust. The cat hidden under the table is waiting for its pieces.
The arrival is a bit of a deliverance. At the Tamlakout hostel, our room with three beds is ready, beautifully decorated by the artist of the family, overlooking the village gardens, mountain atmosphere, everything becomes peaceful, and … it’s tea time! Then the sunset is a spectacle, so we contemplate the sky, lost, or maybe just lost in the depths of ourselves. In the kitchen Mohamed is at work; aubergine and carrots goes to the pan. We can hear the lively discussion between the three (guide, cook and muleteer)!
In the morning, the expedition starts, quietly we take the pace, we open our eyes in the footsteps of snakes, on the hives made of rocks, on the fields plowed by hand, on the frogs inhabiting each small pond, on these plots of saffron flower which have just hatched at the end of October, on those worn hands that greet the strange passer-by that we are. We smell the first baked bread oven and smell the dung left by the mule just ahead. And we walk, without realizing it, lost in our thoughts or in great philosophical discussion with our guide.
In fact, walking in Morocco (in autumn or winter, we avoid the scorpions and it’s just hot!) is quite a change of scenery.
It is time to see, to taste, to feel, to listen and to meet oneself and other inspiring people.
With the help of a guide like Abdou, the deciphering of the behaviors is already simpler because one ends up understanding a little better these proud people and one realizes that deep down we are all the same, with similar preoccupations, desires and fears; we are just born in a different places …
Author: Nathalie Bronzo