Elizabeth's Spain / Portugal / Morocco Adventure 2011 travel blog

Aroumd to Ait Benhaddou

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco's highest pass - Tizi n' Tickha (2260 m)

 

 

 

Pool at hotel

 

 

 

Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou

 

 

 

 

 

Group photo

Our fearless leaders

 

Movies filmed here


October 10

We had a nice homemade breakfast early this morning and began our walk back down to the village where we left our luggage. Our dilemma of having 15 people in one group crammed into one van was resolved by bringing us another mini-bus and another leader, so we split up into two groups, but it was decided that Mourad would still be our main leader and Mohamed (the new leader) would assist and we would still do everything together as one big group. We let the original 8 stay in their original bus and we 7 newbies took the other van with the new driver and leader. We were quite happy that Intrepid managed to resolve the issue so quickly, especially since we had a long drive ahead of us today.

We begin our journey that took us across spectacular mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, the Tizi n'Tichka (2260m) to the barren edges of the Sahara. Our smaller bus was much roomier than the other one and we had more windows to get lots of air, so I was quite happy to be in the new one. In the afternoon, we arrived at the grand Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou - one of the most beautiful in all of Morocco and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture and is also famous for its role on the silver screen, featuring in numerous films such as: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Jesus of Nazareth (1977), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Kundun (1997), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Alexander (2004).

Centuries ago, Ait Benhaddou, on the Mellah River, was an important stop for the caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory and slaves. Today, it is inhabited only by a handful of families.



We had a really nice hotel with a pool, but it was far too cold for me to take a swim. I had a chance to get on the internet instead. Meanwhile, the hotel owner offered me 5000 camels for marriage. I said I wanted double that and that was far too expensive for him ... whew! Got out of that pretty easily. I had another veggie tajine out on the terrace. The weather has been absolutely awesome. Somehow, I managed to get my own room tonight which was nice because I really needed a good night's sleep.



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