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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Up into the Atlas

Today we check out of the Riad and head to the Atlas Mountains.  The rain has given us a break fortunately.  We had to make a dash back to the main square to get some more cash to pay the bill.  After which our host helped us take the luggage back to the car and ensure that we don’t get overcharged there.

Then we made the roughly one-hour drive into the foot hills of the Atlas.  The trip was uneventful taking us through lush countryside where we often came across a woman walking her cow or goats along the road.  The Kasbah (the citadel of a North African city – often most like a castle) is at the top of a steep hill.  And with all the rain, the dirt road became just a mess at times.  At one-point Dave lost all steering control because the mud turned as slick as ice.  We were sliding (albeit very slowly) towards the edge of the road and a steep drop off.  Yikes.  Good thing Dave has so much experience driving in ice and snow as he had no trouble regaining control and we arrived safely. 

Interestingly we were the only tourists here who had driven themselves.  We debated a fair bit over whether or not to drive ourselves.  Dave likes to drive.  And we dislike being tied to someone else’s schedule.  But a lot of people we talked to who had been here and the articles we read recommended hiring a driver.  But in the end, we decided the conditions were likely no worse than what we experienced driving all over Central America.  And indeed, at least thus far that has turned out to be true.  In the cities everyone is just all over the place speeding around and Dave’s gotten used to it.  And in the country side sometimes the road conditions aren’t ideal but again, we’re used to it.

Unfortunately, with the cloud cover we don’t get to see the snow-capped peaks, but  Kasbah Bab Ourika is gorgeous!  They have a nearly 360-degree view of the surrounding small towns and countryside – which because of the rain this time of year is green and lush.

And the grounds themselves are also amazing.  They have huge gardens where they grow everything from lettuce to rhubarb which they use in the restaurant.

The hedges were made from rosemary and they had just been trimmed resulting in a marvelous smell.

Lunch was really yummy and they have a full bar here with a well-stocked wine cellar.  Given that it’s a Muslim country we had been told alcohol would be scarce.  And this is true in the public restaurants – only a few serve any liquor.  But in the hotels that cater to tourists – the Moroccans have no trouble serving up drinks.  In fact, all the wine we’ve had so far this trip is made here in Morocco.  They have numerous wineries and make some really nice wines – white, rose, and red.  An interesting dichotomy philosophy wise – the locals adhere to the Muslim “no alcohol” rules but seem have no trouble making or serving it.  Though they have tons of agave growing everywhere – yet they don’t seem to have figured out how to make Tequila out of it!

Our room had a small sitting area, a bedroom, and a huge bathroom.  There was a small pool overlooking the countryside so we grabbed some white wine and sat pool side enjoying the view the rest of the afternoon. 

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