Sunday, February 25, 2018

Fes to Midelt

Intrepid is the tour group that I used in India and also here in Morocco. They specialize in small groups ( 16 max) and also in taking you to places that regular tourists don't go to.

Breakfast at the hotel which has a French influence with croissants and coffee. There are also starchy cold crepes and what seem to be corn meal muffins. 

Our van which will take us all the way to Marrakesh. The driver is good and takes no risks.

Inside the van. With only 12 in the group there are a few spare seats. The two guides sit up front with the driver. Since I am traveling alone, I use the third seat to the left.

Diesel and petrol prices at approximately US $1 per liter.

Unusual fence. On our way south we passed through the newer section of Fes and there were a lot of interesting houses lining the street.

We stopped to buy food for a picnic lunch at a large modern supermarket. I got a baguette, a small hunk of Port Salut and some mandarins.

More interesting houses.

Further out of town, the old apartment blocks appeared.

We all were impressed by the fur on the dashboard.

Some vines. Morocco does produce wine and it's drinkable without being wonderful

We stopped for a break at the Alpine style town of Ifrane.

There used to be lions in the area.

The altitude is 5500' and there was still snow hanging about. It was quite chilly.

It's a pretty town and very tidy.

We came to an old cedar forest. 

There are three Atlas Mountain ranges in Morocco and we were crossing the Middle Atlas range which is the furthest north. The 'Middle' refers to height.

We stopped to see some Barbary apes, the same kind of monkey that is found in Gibraltar.

Old snow, but plenty of it.

Replanted forest.

Ski field. It looked like you had to trudge up the hill.

Our guide said the snow and cold was worse than predicted so the shepherds had lost quite a few sheep. Each flock of sheep has its shepherd. We were in Berber territory now and the Berbers are traditional nomads.

Most of the structures are owned by Berbers who stopped in one place. Some were more temporary and might be used for only part of the year.

We stopped at a petrol station which had a room where we could eat lunch. Most of us had oranges or mandarins.

We started to descend into the valley south of the range.

And soon we could see the High Atlas Mountains in the distance.

Definitely snow covered. I had seen these mountains from the plane when I flew from Cairo to Casablanca.

You can always spot a primary school by the colours. It's a great safety feature since there is no mistaking what the building is.

We crossed a river that flows through the valley.

We stopped for the night at a Kasbah style hotel just north of Midelt. This was a very nice place to stay. Each room had this extra section as well as the bedroom you can see below.

The walls were so thick that it was virtually impossible to get an internet or cell phone signal inside your room. Most of our group used the internet available in the dining area.

Kasbah means fort and it's a popular design for hotels. The turrets are fake of course.

Inside the dining area.

A few peacocks were running around.

The owner is a professor at the University in Medelt and comes from Belgium. In addition to the Kasbah he has also created an experimental farm. That is him in the middle talking to Rich from NZ.

Part of his farm.

he showed us all kinds of plants that grow in the area. The spikes on this plant are poisonous. 

He is also attempting to grow truffles. His basic idea is to introduce more agricultural ideas to the local population by proving that certain plants will grow.

The area is rich in various minerals and used to be a mining area.

Whenever you gaze south, there are the mountains.

A small lake.

It was quite windy and cold out on the hillside. Some of us wimps wished we were back in our nice warm room at the Kasbah but the tour continued.

The sun was disappearing fast but our guided tour of the cold windswept hill continued.

These are apparently Berber symbols.

Finally after we viewed these more modern implements, we trudged back to our Kasbah and our warm rooms. Dinner was good.

By the way this is blog number 900.

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