Departing Marrakesh at 9 we had another long drive over the High Atlas Mountains to reach the abandoned Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou.
We have certainly seen some different geography whilst here in Morocco. The countryside around Marrakesh is semi arid with the odd palm tree and many cactus. As we climbed upwards leaving Marrakesh behind the snow capped peaks became clearer. We passed many little settlements where the buildings are all made of clay.. red clay matching the surrounding landscape so that they blend in. The roads weren’t great as the Moroccans are undertaking a massive upgrade which went on for kilometres.
We finally reached Ait Ben Haddou at lunch time where we sat in a massive tent & enjoyed our meal. I had the chicken skewers, Rod had the turkey & the salads which some of the others had looked very impressive. Unfortunately at this point we lost Sara as she wasn’t well so went to lie down at the Riad where we are staying for the night.
The rest of us after lunch walked to Ait Ben Haddou where we crossed the river over small planks, past the date & almond trees & small fields of alfalfa. The Kasbah or fort Is amazing & still in quite good condition. It is pretty much deserted but for one lady who is 100 who refuses to move.
The kasbah is well recognised by Rod & myself as it was used for filming of the city of Astapor in Game of Thrones. Many other movies have also had scenes filmed here including Gladiator. We spent some time wandering the remains & enjoyed the view from the top. Looking down over the clay built structures, I was reminded of the cardboard packing pieces. It was also interesting to see the clay roofs. They aren’t flat as they appear from the ground but rather concave into the middle which allows the water to pool & drain away through the pipes that run out from the roof.
It was then time to check into our riad Maktoub which was quite charming. All our rooms were spread around the central pool. Abdellah then took us to a reputable carpet shop where we were able to watch the weavers then were shown some beautiful Moroccan rugs. Unfortunately while we have our dogs that’s not a purchase I’m prepared to make. Maybe next time. But Bill & Diana purchased a lovely one.
Dinner was lovely, starting with a Moroccan soup & followed by a terrific chicken tagine that had lots of veggies & spices. We finished with crepes & mandarins.. yum!
The weather today turned very cold (maybe 15 deg) & has started to rain. I have been a bit unprepared for this cooler weather & regret not packing my fleece or Kathmandu jacket.