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Here's us exploring the never ending maze of rooms in the Kaspa in Ouarzazate
To be honest Suz and I didn't know what to expect travelling to Morocco. I've talked to a few people who had advice and comments about it and we tried to plan a trip that would allow us to learn as much as we could while we were there. What research we did was more about cab fares and costs to expect but regardless Morocco has been hands down the hardest country to keep your money in your pockets. Of our 7 days away we had daily experiences of being blind sided by con artist merchants or cab drivers trying to squeeze as much out of you as possible. Of course on top of this most people could only speak Arabic or French and Suz and I were desperately trying to piece together what we could remember of our French classes from school. We were told that Morocco is suffering from the recession as there is a lot less tourists who can afford to travel than before 2007 and there's no doubt we felt like a target board walking the streets in Agadir or Marrakesh. Even though nothing bad had really happened I think our plan to get a 2 day private tour from Marrakesh to the other side of the Atlas mountains and back was easily worth the 300£. It gave us two days in the SUV to talk with the guide and learn about the country. He showed us some great parts of Morocco along our journey and helped us understand the many unique differences in Moroccan lifestyle from politics and religion to farming and the nomadic people. Such a large part of Moroccan life revolves around being able to have access to water, it influences everything in their life and is the source of wealth and control. We also discovered as we travelled to Ouarzazate the Hollywood film industry has a big hand in the local economy. A surprisingly large number of major films are shot around Ouarzazate for example Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven or even Laurence of Arabia were all made right outside the town and you can still see the props and sets from the films. Eventually our tour brought us to our inn located in a natural oasis outside of Ouarzazate and we were (not surprisingly) the only tourists in the town for that night. When we originally read over the description of our tour we never realized it would end up being such a remote journey. We spent the evening talking to the brother who owned the Inn and in the morning one of the locals gave us a private tour to see the lifestyles of the local residents. Suz and I really felt out of place, it was quite surreal but also an amazing experience. Afterwards we drove out to see some of the irrigated farming and got to drive right into the local towns as they carried on with their daily life. The Irrigation is extensive and the clay like dirt allows them to build deep trenches to pass water throughout the fields. (I actually really enjoyed seeing that part) Our tour eventually came to an end and we made our way back to Marrakesh, the next day we headed to Agadir where we spent the next 3 nights at a Resort so we could get some R&R before heading back to England. All in all our trip went great and Suz and I came back to England with very welcome sunburns and our desire for beach and warmth subdued... for a while longer. :)
Here's a video of us driving up to our Inn in Flint Oasis. (yes that's the river)