Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Moroccan Adventures: Part 2

We spent the second half of our Moroccan adventure in a remote part of the Atlas Mountains. It was definitely a contrast from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, but it was exactly what I needed. (Catch up on part 1 here.)

It was a three hour drive to Bin el Ouidane and we got some cool views on the way.

Moroccan flag made from stones

Atlas mountains

Lake Bin el Ouidane

Our resort, Widiene Suites and Spa, is a one-year-old development on Lake Bin el Ouidane.  We bought a three-night stay using Groupon; the deal included a boat ride around the lake; a three-hour hike; a cooking class; and a traditional hamam.  Not bad, huh?

View from the pool

The hotel is so new that parts of it are still under-construction, which is why they're using Groupon to bring people in.  The construction didn't bother me at all, but I would love to see what this place will look like in another year.  

I didn't expect a lot from our hike or our boat ride, but they were actually both amazing. Our guide for the hike only spoke French (of which I speak none), so it was mostly about taking in the scenery. There was a French couple on the hike who tried to translate some information for us, but their English was only a little better than my French.

Bin el Ouidane Dam

The hike was pretty strenuous, but so rewarding.  We even saw a herd of goats at the top of the mountain.  

The boat ride was equally fantastic. I thought we'd just take a quick trip around the lake, but we ended up in this secret cove.  It was beautiful!

The resort was in a tiny village with no real infrastructure.  Most people do their grocery shopping for the week by bringing their donkeys down the mountain and loading up at the weekly market.  Visiting the market was one of my favorite things we did in Morocco.  It was so incredible to see how regular people live.  We were even able to interact with some locals when we stopped for a mint tea.

I loved all the spices for sale, but I was pretty disturbed by the chickens (and possibly goats) that were being butchered on the spot.  At least you know it's fresh, right?

I wish that our cooking class had gathered our ingredients from the market.  That would have been fun.  Instead, four of us met in the resort's kitchen to learn to make a veggie tagine; a Moroccan salad and a traditional dessert.  We enjoyed ourselves and the food was pretty good. 

We spent the rest of the time doing this:

Oh, Morocco...I miss you already.

1 comment:

  1. So fun to see and experience what you guys did.