From the Todra Gorge, through Quarzazate… – Ait Ben Habous – May 12, 2017
We left Todra Gorge at 9:00, allowing us to sleep in a bit. Next, we traveled to Kalaat M’goum, a medium sized town that is famous for its rose festival. A rose queen is selected and people come from all over to see the shops and buy products made of roses. We didn’t stop in town, because there are flush toilets (yippee) and a cafe for a cappuccino just outside of the town limits. There also was a shop selling the rose products. I bought a pretty bowl and a jar of rose-infused mud face mask. Jim and I will be having a beauty afternoon, no doubt.
On the way out, we stopped at a casbah for a photo op. Casbah means house with towers or a fortified house. They are everywhere. Then, on to the restaurant for lunch in Quarzazate. We had some non-Marrakech options, for a change. We shared a Caesar salad and beef brochettes plate, with roasted vegetables, confetti rice and fries. It was a nice change. Many films are shot in this town, because it is very picturesque.
After lunch, we went to an herbalist shop. The wonderful smells of floral, herbs and oils was intoxicating. The master herbalist told us about the many essential oils, soaps, creams and potions. We got to sample and smell them all. There were mixtures of 35 spices for cooking and a special blend for grilling fish. Of course, I was most interested in those spices.
The herbalist put natural kohl on my eyes and I had a neck massage with an Argan jasmine oil. Jim loved the black soap, which you can find in the medinas and also here at the shop. It is a gel that you put on your body before you shower, then rinse it off. Your skin feels soft and when used on your hair, it is good for dry hair and dandruff. So, we bought some, along with the cooking spices. The suitcase is filling up!
After we stopped at a film location that has been the used for many movies, mainly because there are no electric lines or other vestiges of contemporary life and they have the Atlas Mountains in the background. We arrived to our hotel in Ait ben Habous. Some of our group went to a rug shop, where they bought lots of Berber carpets. The one Canadian couple bought six of them and the other Canadians bought three. We took a nap.
Afterward, nine of our group took a tagine class, where they took cut up vegetables, chicken and spices and created their own tagine, which they ate for dinner. We ordered our own meal, which included a delicious vegetable soup, a Moroccan salad, an entrée of turkey tagine and kefta (basically a hamburger), fries, cooked veggies and ramen noodles. Great fruit for dessert, too.
Before we ate, we took a fairly long walk up a 17th century group of casbahs, shops and markets. At the top is a grain storage building. We hiked up the whole way up to watch the sunset. The wind was totally fierce, almost blowing us off the hill. The views were amazing! Dinner was a welcome, warm time together. We told jokes and finally went to bed at 10:30. It was a good day.