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The charm of the Berber and Sahara culture

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
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Among the destinations to visit I had never thought of Morocco. It wasn't on my schedule and it didn't inspire me at all. Then someone described it to me as a magical place, one of those places that leaves you speechless. I didn't believe it but this thing intrigued me a lot, so why? do not try?!
At the end of this trip I can say that Morocco? best place i have been so far.
A journey through the colors, flavors, and scents of the cities? Moroccans, and the peace that only the desert can give you.
A unique week to discover the Berber people and their ancient traditions.

1 day

The first day I spent wandering to discover Marrakech, the city? rather messed up that at first glance it was certainly not one of my favorites, but visiting it well I realized how much culture it contains.
My hostel was located near the Koutoubia, the largest mosque. important of the city, what? it was precisely the first thing I noticed when arriving, and also the first that I visited during my stay.
Immediately after I went in search of the main square, Jamaa el Fna, where I was astonished by all my life? inside, being surrounded by music, street vendors, and hard work of the inhabitants.
From the square I entered the colorful and fragrant, how narrow and messy streets of the souk, the heart of artisan "shopping", typical of cities? of the Middle East.
Difficult to explain the good smell of herbs, spices, oils, fragrances and food that invades your nostrils, besides my eyes were delighted by all those colors, and then the street food here and there? where I tasted Moroccan delicacies such as tagine and couscous, and the vision of people busy working on creating anything for their shop really impressed me.
The thing that really surprised me around those streets? was the infinite kindness of the people, who do not see you only as the tourist to be plucked, but first of all as a person to welcome and make you feel at home. All willing to show their products and their shop, but never too intrusive and insistent, as happens in most places. If you ask for information, anyone? happy to give you a hand or to show you the way to get where you want, without asking for money in return, how me? happened in many other cities. But the top what? been? Anyone keep offering you the typical th? with Moroccan mint, of which I have made the full already? during the first day.





2 day

Wake up early and a quick breakfast of Arabic bread with butter and jam, and a cup of tea. Moroccan of course. At 7 in the morning? passed to pick me up the driver of the tour I had booked, a tour of 15 people, lasting 3 days to venture towards the desert, making several stops in the most? important. I chose the tour why? ? not recommended to take desert roads on your own, or to take buses and travel for 10/12 hours and lose whole days of time.
The first stop on the tour? it was a fairly high vantage point, from which you could admire the contrasting nature of Morocco, made up of deserted streets on one side and snow-capped mountains on the other.
After we continued towards Ait-Ben-Haddou, known for the Kasbah, where we stopped for a visit to this ancient Berber village, built with bamboo canes, stones and clay, reached by crossing a river via a path made up of bags of sand.
The third stop? been to Ouarzazate, where we took a quick tour of the typical houses of the area.
Soon after we moved to the valley of roses, where unfortunately, given the period, the roses were missing, but there were several almond trees in bloom, in any case beautiful!
The last stop of the day? been to Gorges du Dades, admiring along the way hills, palm groves, canyons, and roads that began to give the idea of ​​the desert. L? we reached a hotel where we had dinner and stopped to sleep before continuing towards the Sahara.


3 day

This ? was the day (and also the night) pi? beautiful of the trip and of my life. It was a day that really lasted 24 hours, why? if you only have one night in the desert you certainly don't go to sleep!
But let's start from the beginning. In the morning we left Gorges du Dades towards Merzouga, a country where we would leave with the camels to venture into the dunes of the Sahara.
Also during this day we made some stops: in Tinghir in a canyon, and then by a Berber family who explained and showed us their ancient craft that for generations has made them earn a living: production of carpets with wool obtained from dromedaries and dyes natural products obtained from flowers and minerals, all in an artisanal way.
After these short stops we headed to Merzouga, where young Berber boys were waiting for us to guide us in the desert with their dromedaries.
Arrived in Merzouga,? started our "walk" in the saddle of dromedaries, with which we reached a camp in the desert. It was long and not at all easy, due to the incredible wind that blew, which slowed us down a lot, in fact we arrived at our tents after about an hour and a half of travel, but the route and the view were still beautiful and we were able to admire the sunset. It was almost dinner time, so? we relaxed for a few moments and then we had dinner with vegetable soup and cous cous, prepared according to the recipes of traditional Berber cuisine, and immediately after dinner the children of the camp cheered us with music and texts typical of their culture, and then teach us to play their instruments. ? it was hilarious and I was completely fascinated!
At one point one of the Berber boys proposes us to go to the top of the dune pi? higher than that area of ​​the Sahara, more? of 150 meters, and so? ? state. It took about 20 minutes to get up there, but the show that I found myself in front of was worth more? of all the effort it took to climb. Did you see all the camps, and some lights here and there? that illuminated the other dunes. Get off there? was simple and quick, and in the middle? path did we stop for a while? admiring the stars, lying on the fresh sand. Back at the camp no one wanted to go to sleep, so? we took plenty of blankets and pillows and went back out of the camp, where we spent the night admiring the starry sky, drinking Moroccan tea, eating bread with oil and jam, and talking to the campers about their history and their lives . One of them in particular told me many interesting things about his family, he told me about the work of his parents, his brothers and sisters, and many things about their culture, their customs and their religion. Then at 3:30 sharp, among millions of stars, from the desert you can also see the moon, so once again, why? to go to sleep? I stayed there waiting for his arrival and admiring his beauty all night, while someone? went to sleep, meanwhile I continued to stay outside chatting under the starry sky and in contact only with the sand, where the rest of the world did not exist, there was no technology, did not exist the? timetable? Only the rooster that crowed at 5 in the morning to "wake us up" in order to set off again with the dromedaries, to return to Merzouga.



4 day

At 5 in the morning, after the natural wake-up call kindly offered by the rooster from the camp, it was still dark but we got back on the backs of the dromedaries to go back to Merzouga, stopping for? in the middle? route to admire the wonderful sunrise. The "P? beautiful that I have ever seen! Everything around has taken on color, and those dunes looked like this? orange in contrast with the perfectly blue sky that didn't even have a cloud. Once in Merzouga, a rich breakfast and rooms awaited us to get us settled before leaving, as there was no water in the desert to wash and refresh. We greeted the young Berbers warmly and resumed our return journey to Marrakech. I spent the rest of the day there on the bus, tired but happy, thinking back to that night and the emotions it had given me.
Arrived in Marrakech after hours and hours of travel, we finished this magnificent tour with a group dinner on one of the terraces of Jamaa el Fna square, with my new friends met on the road.

5 day

The awakening ? was weird. After the night spent in the desert,? it was really bad to wake up in a normal bed, in a normal hostel room. I felt like I was looking for something else, like I suddenly didn't want to anymore. all I have and wanted to change my life. I think the right word is "incomplete".
What? as soon as I woke up, I calmly got ready and ate breakfast, not having great plans for the day. In the end I went out and decided to stay around Marrakech, why? I felt I hadn't seen everything yet. This time I went to the discovery of the immense gardens of the city, then again in Jamaa El Fna square where I stopped more? last time to observe snake players and charmers, and finally a tour of the souks to buy some souvenirs for friends and family.
Wandering around the souks I met really nice people, for example I was looking at a shop selling handmade leather shoes and the shoemaker who was working to produce more, invited me inside to show me how he does his job, and of course, as usual, he invited me to have a mint tea with him.
Pi? later, while I was looking for a place to eat in the square among the thousands of street food stalls, a 20-year-old boy approaches me who entertained me for a bit? chatting and offering me tea too, and then he invited me to dine at his family's stall. And so what? ? been!
In the end he also asked me to be his girlfriend, why? according to him you can? having a boyfriend in Italy and one in Morocco. But we joked a p? up and then he let me go.
These meetings really brightened my day!


6 day

Always wake up early and quick breakfast, this time to visit Essaouira, a small and characteristic town on the Atlantic coast.
I took a bus near the train station in Marrakech, which is located for? in the city? new, or that part of Marrakech more? evolved on all fronts, and definitely more? touristy but less traditional.
In three hours of travel I reached the destination, but unfortunately I was not very excited, or rather its only peculiarity? are the strictly white buildings with blue doors and windows. To be honest, remember ap? Greece and does not seem to be in Morocco.
The center of this town? small, and I was able to see everything quietly in an hour. There wasn't much to see but a few towers, a few arches, various exhibits of art and crafts, and the wall that separates the city. old from the city? new that overlooks the sea, for the rest only restaurants and shops that have everything to sell you. A positive note? been the food. I had lunch with an excellent seafood tagine, for only 5 ?!
As for the sea, for me who am a lover, I must say that me? liked! Long beach of thin and dark sand, natural rocks scattered here and there, and many seagulls in flight, the smell of freshly caught fish and the salt that invades your nostrils.
At 15 pm I took the bus back to Marrakech, where once I arrived I spent some time visiting the city. new, what for? how do i already? said? pi? developed and not traditional, so it does not d? the idea of ​​Morocco!

7 day

My flight was in the early afternoon, so around 10 am, with a lot of sadness in my heart, I took a taxi to reach the airport.
Once on board the plane that was about to take me home, I retraced my entire journey in my mind, and as the plane started walking along the launch pad, the landscape flowed before my eyes, the latter filled with tears, like a little girl whose favorite toy you take away!

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