20th – 29th May 2013
The morning after the wedding we all pretty much remained in our coma like state while we enjoyed the Riad El Fenn. We ate breakfast on the rooftops over looking the Atlas mountains. We drank mint tea and enjoyed the island of tranquillity in the sea of craziness, knowing we had to go back out there into the world very soon to set off on our next adventure!
We met up again with Megan, the manager of El Fenn and Liz from Boutique Souk and chatted over freshly squeezed juice about the blog, the Riad and Boutique Souk. Both Megan and Liz, and of course Michael and Andrea being from England it was lovely to hang out with a group of Brits that laugh at the same things, swear the same way and understand each others humour and the difficulties of travel…namely the lack of good English tea and real gravy! It was a great fun meeting and we were sad to be on our way.
We said farewell to the room, the tortoise, the peace, calm and dappled sunlight on our skin and stepped out of the door onto the dusty street.
We fought our way through rusty bicycles, pushing people, cute stray kittens and all under the blaze of the midday Moroccan sun. we got back to Peggy and argued fruitlessly with the parking attendant who wanted more money than stated on our ticket…the norm for Marrakech, and eventually escaped his clutches to dance with the traffic on the way out of the city.
Before long we were out on the open road and at 3 in the afternoon embarked on a 4 hour drive over the High Atlas mountains. Alex asked Michael (an avid camper and vintage VW fan) if he would like to drive…Michaels face lit up and he jumped behind the wheel. We sailed through desert, farmland and rusty coloured towns and then crept our way into the mountains. The winding hairpin roads clung to the edge of the jutting rock and we climbed and climbed and climbed.
We passed stalls selling precious rocks and carved stone and wondered how they made a living. We stopped at a few view points to enjoy the landscape, we drove INTO a lake in the middle of the desert and even attached Michaels GoPro to Peggy as we enjoyed the road-trip…in fact I’ll stop talking about it, just watch the video…watch out for the precariously balanced tipped up lorry and Alex being a cheeky monkey.
After a long 4 hours and avoiding a clever complex bribe (ask us about it on FB if you want to know more) we arrived in Ouazerzat (pronounced Wazzazat) and found somewhere for the guys to sleep and we camped in the carpark. We made a chicken casserole and talked until midnight excited for our stay in Tinghir. We had 2 hours drive the next day to get to our destination where we were going to be holding one more wedding.
This wedding was arranged with the help of a local family and we hoped would reflect true Berber tradition so that we could show the difference between a European, Moroccan inspired wedding and a real family wedding.
The last few hours of the drive was through hundreds of tiny Berber villages, the houses, made from the land they’re built upon rise like strange natural formations. Terracotta fields, hills and houses spread out before us. Most of the villages have their specialities, some sell mint by the bundle others rose products. This is the home of the famous sweet smelling Atlas rose.
We arrived at Tinghir at Rachid and Doreens B&B and were warmly welcomed by Jamal. He showed us around and introduced us to Doreen who was not impressed by us at all, we had originally arranged to arrive the day before and then changed our plans which went down like a lead balloon, but we were welcomed anyway and Rachid showed Michael and Andrea to their room and we all settled in for dinner that evening.
We talked with Rachid about the wedding, the costs and what would happen and agreed to go ahead with the plan. We ate dinner and then met with the association who were helping us by planning the wedding and letting us use their community building for the day.
It was so difficult not being able to speak French or Arabic, but with Rachid’s help we had a little bit of a plan… which is where this story ends until a later date!
We have decided to hold back the release of the Berber wedding as it was so unique and such an incredible celebration. Michael and Andrea took the pictures and filmed the whole day so one day we will release the whole thing all together for everyone to enjoy. It was a big day, over 10 hours and we want to do it justice which will take time so bear with us and enjoy the anticipation of a big Moroccan secret!
The day after the secret Berber wedding we had a long drive ahead of us. Michael and Andrea were due at the airport at 7pm and we had a 7 hour drive to complete back over the mountains and back into Marrakech. We split the drive between us and got our heads down for the schlep. We talked about the weddings and about our great week road-tripping together and we realise that Michael and Andrea have the camper travel bug.
We KNOW we will be seeing them on the road again somewhere, maybe with a Peggy of their own!
We stopped on route for a coffee and a break outside a cafe, who served us coffee on a tray to the van and then continued on our way. We stopped at the famous Ait Benhaddou where they filmed Gladiator and Alex bought a teapot! With all the stopping and starting we had of course made ourselves late and had to rush the last 3 hours. Of course we got stopped 3 times by the police, each time for a ‘speeding’ bribe which we just paid to get on our way as quickly as possible.
Once back into Marrakech we still had no idea of the direction of the airport! We drove around for a while hoping that a road sign (PAH!) would present itself but to no avail. Finally, at 7pm we bit the bullet and accepted help from one of the many people on motorbikes trying to ‘help’ us (for a fee) find our way.
Our helper whizzed through the traffic, checking now and then that we were in hot pursuit and after a LOT of following we made it to the airport with 30 minutes for Michael and Andrea to catch their flight! An hour later than we had hoped they pretty much leaped from the van! We gave them a quick hug and sent them on their way! We know we will see them again somewhere and none of us are great at farewells as it is!
We waved as they ran into the airport and then at 8pm at night wondered what our next step was going to be. We were tired out, hungry and out of wine! Never a good combination. We managed to stumble upon (by some miracle of Darth Vader) a glorious supermarket…the first one we had seen the whole time in Morocco…and ran into its well lit doors and straight to the wine section…which was closed!
We stocked up on food… and then decided we needed to find a campsite to stop for the night, we were whacked.
Alex mentioned that he had seen a sign ‘back there’ and off we went. We followed the sign which led us onto a dirt track that went on and on and on forever through tiny clusters of houses, fields filled with rubbish and small herds of sheep. We were just about to give up hope when we saw the gates. We were ushered in by a little man, he showed us to our site in the dark and handed us a fist full of apricots that he plucked from a tree next to our parking spot.
We looked around and found ourselves in a little spot of camping heaven. Moroccan lanterns twinkled everywhere and an arch of vines led to the pristine washrooms.
We cooked, relaxed and slept like babies!
The next day we enjoyed the VERY fancy pool in the morning and then went into Marrakech to pick us some spices. We had originally planned to visit Fez and pick up spices there but had decided we had seen enough this time around. We shopped for an hour and then hit the long road to Chefchaouen, our next stop on the map…which turned out to be extremely disappointing so we didn’t stay for long.
Within days of saying goodbye to Michael and Andrea we were back on the ferry back to Spain! We loved Morocco and had absolutely loved road-tripping with Bohemian weddings but we were ready to make the most of the things we enjoy back in Europe. The food and the wine were calling us!
Once back in Spain we hit the supermarket HARD. We shopped ourselves silly! Alex even tried to get a whole leg of parma ham (complete with hoof) past me but I drew the line there! We had so much food and wine that it wouldn’t fit in the cupboards or the fridge…luckily we eat a LOT so the problem was short lived!
We stopped and got Alex some much needed new clothes and crossed the boarder into Portugal all in the same day.
We were in the land of plenty and loving it!
We pretty much spent the next few days eating and driving, we popped into Evora and visited the chapel of human bones which was an interesting stop over and then made our way into Lisbon, ready to get our wedding on for the 47th time!
Whoever says that life is boring…join us in the fast lane! 🙂
All images by our great friends Andrea and Michael at Bohemian Weddings!