Atlas Mountains, Morocco
I am writing this entry from a small atrium at one end of Kasbah du Toubkal, our accommodation in the High Atlas Mountains, the highest peak in northern Africa. There is a set of floor to ceiling sliding glass door leading from this atrium out onto a small deck, affording spectacular views from this side of the mountain down into the valley below. Spectacular, that is, if we weren’t bound up in cloud! The weather is cool and a bit gloomy this late afternoon so Mark, Annabelle and Tom have decided to take up their offer of a free hammam today in the hope that the weather will clear for our only full day tomorrow. We are going out for a mule ride tomorrow, as one does in these mountains, for a trek through some local villages. When I enquired who would be coming with us the Kasbah staff member looked at me strangely and simply replied ‘the Muler’, so, tomorrow could be interesting.
Our departure from Marrakech was similar to our event-filled arrival but it is funny how just a few short days can numb one to the clash of bikes, motor bikes, carts, donkeys, souqs and Muslims within such small confines. The drive up to the mountains took 90 minutes and we passed through some spectacular scenery. I kept a look out for Cate and Brad (Movie: Babel) but did not see them when I then suddenly remembered that I had vowed not to sit in the window seat…too late now. The narrow road followed a winding path, parallel to that of a river, whilst ‘hugging’ tightly to one side of the carved out mountains. I am guessing that this area, which appears sedimentary, was uplifted through tectonic force and then carved out by glacial action during some recent ice age. I am sure Dr Reidy will correct me about this if I am wrong though!! We eventually arrived into Imlil, a small Berber village located a 15 minute walk downhill from our Kasbah, at about 2pm. Our bags were carted up by mules but we all chose to walk, somewhat glad of the exercise for the day. I felt so sorry for the poor mule lumbered with my bag, not the porters who had to lift it on or off, just the mule! We were offered a typical Berber lunch soon after our arrival, which was delicious, before parting for our separate afternoon events. I am enjoying the solitude whilst writing this note after the close confines of Marrakech! Enough for today though, more after the mule ride! Wonders never cease though. Here, high up in the Atlas Mountains, there is wireless internet…go figure!