If you have read my previous post, I left you where we got on the camels and we were ready to hit the desert. I was soooooooo excited!!! Staying with the nomads at the desert (eyes bling twice), maybe this was the main highlight of the whole trip. Also, it was my first time going to a desert.
We left the hostel riding our camels. We had a kid as a guide who was with no shoes in the desert (i would have died). By the minute it was getting darker and darker. It is amazing to see the transformation of the normal ground to sand. You just pass a line, it is like you get into another dimension. Endless sand is something delightful to see. It reminded me the animated series of Aladdin and from that moment the “Arabian Nights” has become the soundtrack of the trip.
Riding a camel is not the easiest thing to do since every step in the sand was not stable. At some point the camels stopped, the first one looked restive. Our guide let the rope and the camel turned back to the direction we came from. I remind you it was dark in the middle of the desert. Everyone was worried and we were asking the guide what was going on with no answer. The camel came behind me and everyone was shouting to catch the rope, but it was impossible, my movements were restricted from the saddle, I could not reach it. After a few minutes the guide came and grabbed the rope and he lead it back to its previous position and we continued where we left of. The scenarios were the camel got angry and the guide let it “put itself together” or it was a trick just to make our desert ride more adventurous. We never learned!!!
After 45 minutes we reached to our destination. We got off the camels and we got into the tent area. Next to it, there was a “patio” where nomads and other tourists were gathered. We introduced ourselves and we went for dinner. The nomads prepared a table, under the stars. It was amazing!!! Guess what we had for dinner????……Yes, tajin!! However, it was the best tajin we had in Morocco!! Soup was the starter. On the table there was a couple with us from Spain, who booked the same travel package but they were doing it the opposite way around. They started from the city that we were going to finish.
Following dinner, we all went to the patio again and nomads lit up fire and everyone sat around it. They started playing their drums and the Moroccans tourists started singing. Some they started dancing and they were pulling us up to dance with them, so we did. It was amazing of not speaking the same language with the people there but still be able to have fun. They were so friendly. They invite us to play the drums and sing as well. So we sang a few traditional greek and cypriot songs. So the night ended with a lot of dance under the moon. We returned to our tents and slept since we had to wake up early and leave the desert before the sun gets too high. The weather in desert was so nice. Breezy and chill, however inside the tent it was too warm. The material of the tents did not let air pass through. I was sweating the whole night, not the best sleep i had in Morocco.
Next day we woke up early in the morning and we left the nomads area to take photos with the infinite gold sand. With our mobiles full of sand photos, we said goodbye to the nomads and we got onto the camels to return back to the hostel where we left our stuff. The return was quicker and more enjoyable as you could enjoy the scenery!! When we reached at the hostel, we bought some souvenirs from our guide and we went to the restaurant of the hostel to have breakfast. flies were flying around breakfast so I ate things that were packed. Seeing the hostel at the first sight, it will not fill your eye but spending the time there seemed like a nice country hostel to stay. The name of it Kasbah Bivouac Lahmada.
Mobarak welcomed us and he sat with us and we talked a lot. We then had a shower and we put or stuff to the “desert” car, as we were meeting our main driver, Mustafa, at the main road. We said goodbye to our desert guide and Mobarak and we got into the car. I said it before, people here especially away from the cities, are so kind and friendly. Our desert driver was such a nice guy and had a funny laugh. After 15 minutes we reached the main road where Mustafa was waiting for us. We changed cars and we continued our trip.
Next destination was the Rissani town the closest city to the desert. We had a quick stop at the Moulay Ali Cherif Mausoleum. Nothing special to see but we took some photos with the moroccan interior.
Reaching to the city center, there was a guide was waiting for us. Rissani is a major caravan center with a lot of traditional moroccan markets. There were kiosks making shoes, deco objects and spices. It even had animal market mostly selling donkeys, cows and goats.
After taking us around town, he took us to an art house where, as the guide told us, it is run by local designers and things there are handmade and you cannot bargain. Nothing was true. The jewelries were in a bad condition and they did not looked handmade. Leather products were the same as everywhere. Then a guy working there took us to a room with carpets. I wanted them all!!! Another guy, the “selling” guru, came and start showing us carpets by throwing them on the floor. A friend of us wanted to buy one so he told us, the way to bargain was to write on his text book the price we wanted to pay and he will write us the real price -.- . Long story short he was playing hard to bargain but in the end a €200 carpet was bought on the price of €80 by our friend. Bargain everywhere!!!
Our driver was outside the shop and he picked us up. We were going to spend the night at Fez, the next city on schedule. But before Fez we made a short stop at the Ifran city. I enjoyed the ride till Ifran, even though it was long, since every few kilometers the landscape was changing. Breath taking landscapes. I was thinking if I was a fashion designer I would make all my lookbooks in Morocco. The nature changes did not stop coming. We started from desert then we drove to the mountains, where it start raining, and as we were reaching Ifran we started seeing trees with lakes, all in some kilometers. Ifran was near the mountains with green everywhere and you could feel the change of the weather as well. There were a lot of people there since there was a public holiday and also because a lot of people are moving to Ifran to find relief from the summer heat of other Moroccan cities. We had a coffee and sweet at a touristic place there, called Lapaix, but nothing special. Before leaving Ifran we went for a small walk around the city center. It is a nice city and seemed safe as well. We got back to the car and we headed to Fez. There was police all over the road to Fez because the king was in Fez as the driver informed us. (last photo was taken from my highlights at my instagram account, click here to see all my stories at Morocco).
After an hour we reached to the riad we were going to stay for the night. This post will end here and the next post will be the day spent in Fez. The only thing I give away is that you MUST SEE the amazing riad we stayed. It is stunning!!! Stay tuned till the next chapter!!
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