Today was the day we went to the Atlas mountains! We were all very prepared, got lots of sleep and dressed up warm ready to see some snow. We jumped into the coach at 9am and set off on an half an hour ride to the Berber markets. I don’t think any of us were ready for how mad it was, there were people everywhere, some followed us trying to persuade us into buying things and we dodged around the others. Everything you could think of was for sale, tv controllers, hats and vegetables. There was a large animal section where people were selling goats and sheep and throwing chickens around.We saw some animals in pretty bad conditions, one goat was having a fit on the floor and chickens were penned up in tiny cages. We also wandered through a meat section where cows heads lay around the counter tops and hoofs were scattered across the floor. Stomachs and livers hung on hooks and there was definitely a smell of death in the air. We quickly walked out of that section and on to the freedom of our coach.
Next we visited the tour guides family at their home where we were made mint tea, given honey and bread and henna. It was a beautiful mud and wood home, bleached by the sun and very inspiring. it would’ve been nice to stay there a while longer but we had a busy day ahead.
Next we visited a place where widowed and divorced women made argan oil. This was a very interesting experience, similar to the medicine man, they also let us try a few of their products which were all natural.
Then it was time for the mountains. I was not aware at the time that we would be walking so i was a bit shocked when we all got out of the coach and were told that we had a 45 minute walk to the waterfall ahead of us! The walk started off up a slight paved slope next to a beautiful river. Quickly this turned into crossing a wobbly bridge, then up the mountain. Me and Heather found some sticks that we used as walking sticks that really helped us with the walk (everyone else was very jealous). After lots of scrambling and a bit of climbing we reached the waterfall where we sat and ate our lunches. The way down was a little bit more difficult and we got a bit left behind when we stopped to buy Berber hats but we soon caught up and were on the mini bus again.
After a long drive we eventually arrived back at the Riad and had an hour or so to collect ourselves before we went out for our group meal.
Around 8 we departed for the meal and were happy to walk into a beautiful Restaurant. We had been reserved seats on the highest floor and were fed food and beer for the next couple of hours whilst musicians played and belly dancers danced. It was a really lovely evening filled with happiness, food and friends! After we decided to take one last wander around the square at night before we flew home the next day.