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Published: February 22nd 2018
Another interesting day . This morning we left Chefchouen and proceeded to drive through the Rif range of mountains to the Atlas range. It was nearly all agricultural land growing wheat , lentils and some hay . The land looks aMazingly rich and the fields were in various stages ofgrowth . Some soil newly turned , about to be turned , planted with growth ranging from inches ( the lentils)to knee high , the wheat . I saw only 2 tractors ! The plowing was done mostly with donkeys ,occasionally with a horses. It seemed to be a family affair..6_8people working in the field. The plots were all side by side, sometimes a narrow ditch separating them . It looked good in the sunshine and fresh air . There were a lot of olive orchards about as well . In some there were tarps are the ground and men seemed to be flailing the tree with long poles. They were either pruning or harvesting ...and it turns out they were harvesting. It was an enjoyable ride .
Arriving in Fez was uneventful . Our hotel was in the nouvelle city ...built by the French in the last century . It was their custom to leave the Medinas and the traditional housing alone and to build their own enclaves . Since the 1960's many Moroccans have moved out of Medinas when they were able to afford the change . Mind you our local guide and his family have been in their home for 11 generations. Households are intergenerational for most Moroccans .
The Medina in Fez did not disappoint. . The narrow walkways twist and turn and I would be not only lost but panicked . I find narrow passages difficult at the best of times . Our guide was very good and told us if we got separated from the group just stay where we were. Like in a forest wandering aimlessly makes things worse . I trust that he would find us !
Over 120000 people live , work ,shop go to school. .in the Medina . Some of the Riads are incredible . Large rooms ,courtyards ,patios 2 and 3 stories high overlooking the centre. The tile work is incredible as are the mosaics and he plaster work . We went to a show in one the first night and had lunch at another . Many have become b and b's and would be a lovely place to stay .
As on all tours we visited a few commercial sites . A government school that teaches the art of tile mosaics and ceramics , the tannery that treats the leather , a smelly affair, and dyes the leather , and a place that weaves cloth large and small.. Yes , I bought a scarf or 2 and a red purse!,
It was a great day.
Today we have driven south through the Mid Atlas mountains down the Todra Gorge and into the Safara Desert. Forests ,snow ( the pass through the mountains was at 2200 meters),barren stretches of rocks and boulders and oasis with groves of dates and almond trees. There were many small villages and other dwellings that blended into the landscape .
I am finding it all fascinating .
Tonight we are staying at an Auberge in the desert. A lovely place ...It could be a Disney setting .Sand dunes , acacia trees and a scattering of desert flowers due to the recent rain. It is winter here and things are not scorched by the sun .
Enough for now .
Hope all is well . Keep in touch.
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