On Friday Hayley and I took a little day trip to Ourika Valley in the Atlas Mountains! Along the way we saw small Moroccan villages, snow capped peaks, and hiked to a few stunning waterfalls. Get ready for an obscene number of pictures.
In the morning we ate a quick breakfast on the terrace of our riad and then headed to the square to meet up with our tour group. We ended up on a little tour bus with people from just about every country you could think of. Crazy!
The drive up into the mountains was really beautiful; we got to see a lot of the outlying towns, which was fun! The bus ended up making a few stops, the first of which was a small gift shop with a balcony you could take pictures from.
Our next stop was a beautiful overlook at the base of the mountains. Guess what? There were camels. And I got to pet one. Day made.
After stopping at the overlook we went to a “Berber Pharmacy” in the mountains, where they sold medicinal herbs and teas. We wandered around the herb garden for a bit and got to see some of the women making the medicines!
Next, we got a tour of a traditional Berber house, where we got to see layout of the rooms and (supposedly...) how many of the people in the towns and villages live.
After seeing the house we stopped at one last overlook. We walked over a little plank bridge suspended over a stream and climbed up the mountainside to catch a stunning glimpse of snow capped peaks right in front of us!
Our final destination was the Ourika Valley where we took a break for lunch before going on a hike to see some waterfalls! Hayley and I munched on the dried fruits and nuts we bought the day before and enjoyed the view; we were sitting by a stream with the mountains on both sides! It couldn’t have been a more perfect lunch spot.
When everyone was done eating we walked through the village and headed up the mountain. We ended up going through a maze of shops and houses stacked on the mountainside and got some great views of the town!
When we reached the base of one of the peaks we were greeted by small waterfalls cascading down the rock face, which we proceeded to climb. After much huffing and puffing (and realizing how out of shape I am, whoo hoo!) we finally got to the top. Hello, waterfall. Nice to see ya.
From there we climbed higher up the mountain (guys, there were ladders involved. this is serious.) and walked back to the village along the cliff side. I don’t think the view of the mountains could have been more lovely (okay, maybe if Neil Patrick Harris were there…).
We finally made it back to the town around four thirty, and Hayley and I decided to check out a rug store before we left. The shop owner was so sweet, and both ended up getting rugs which he cut right then and there for us! After getting our rugs we caught the bus back to Marrakesh. The sun was setting on the drive home, so all of the buildings and mountains were gold in the light.
When we got back Hayley and I spent a little while standing off to the side of Place Jemaa El Fna, watching the crowds of tourists, monkey trainers, henna painters, snake charmers, dancers, and stall owners. Aka people watching nirvana (look closely at the pictures to see the snakes!).
Back at our riad, Hayley and I enjoyed a pot of sweet mint tea on the rooftop while the sun went down (that sentence is ridiculous. but actually.)! When you’re used to big city light pollution the Moroccan night sky is absolutely unbelievable. So many stars!
We finished our day with dinner at the square, where we had eggplant (again), a veggie tangine, and more Moroccan mint tea (I am officially an addict).
When we got back to our riad we packed our bags and got ready for our last day in Morocco! In case you were wondering what our riad/room looked like, see below.
Stay tuned for day three!