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Published: March 18th 2014
Having left quite a good campsite in Fes, we stopped at an unusual site in Azrou which had been built by a Saudi sheik and looked like something from Disneyland! Apparently the apartments alongside the site are to be used for holiday breaks for orphans but were not open yet.
The next stage of our journey took us through a very barren landscape leaving the green and fertile land behind. Everywhere we go there are happy, smiling children waving at us - the adults are not quite as demonstrative but many are pleased to greet us, mainly in French.
We eventually arrived at a campsite at the Source Bleu de Meski. It sounded like an exotic oasis resort which it may have been in the 1950's but now it is very rundown and the toilet block is X certificate! Our guide, Benny, showed us around the village which was definitely a step back in time. The houses were made of mud and straw bricks with very small windows and the roadways were uneven mud surfaces which must be a nightmare when it rains. We were invited into Benny's house which looked a little more substantial from
Posh toilet block
the outside but the inside took us completely by surprise. There was a beautiful open courtyard surrounded by tiled floors where we were invited to sit on cushions to drink mint tea which is a tradition in every place we have visited. There was a modern kitchen and other rooms off the central area. The upper floor is yet to be completed but we learnt afterwards that Benny has been supported by an Italian family since he was a child which is why he could afford such a project. The ruins of the old town or Kasbah were still standing but the villagers had stripped the buildings of the wooden doors and other materials to help build the new village. The last residents of the old town moved out as recently as 50 years ago.
Before we moved on we visited a school for 4 - 6 year olds which has been built and run by the locals. They were very well organised and we had fun joining in with their early morning routines which involved a lot of singing and dancing. They made us very welcome, kissing our hands before they went into the classroom.
to tear ourselves away to drive to Rissani, a very traditional town with a busy covered market where we saw women wearing full burkas for the first time, for a shopping and lunch break. The landscape has become much more desert like and we started to see the Erg Chebbie dunes in the distance.
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