After leaving the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert, we had a big travel day on the bus, stopping a few times before reaching the town of Skoura.
We stop at a beautiful town and as women, we support other women, who run a co op in a fortified village of Khorbate that is being re built to preserve it’s heritage. Lunch – under orange groves and olive trees.
Our day is quite long and when we arrive into what appears to be farming country…… heaven! We are in a real live Ksar inside a Kasbah, technically still in the Desert and in a lush palm oasis.
In days gone by rich families owned the Kasbah (village) and let their workers live their too, they were safer together and as part of the payment for working there, the rich land owners paid for things like their children’s education……. The doors and windows were smaller to slow down enemies and these doors and windows and you sometimes need to duck you head- Even me!
Ali one of the amazing workers at El Kabbah where we are staying, gave us a stick in the dirt history lesson this morning on our way to the local growers market. I’ll try and add it to my blog, or if not my instagram story. This market is a festival at this time of the year, people come from all over the country.
We are staying in the most amazing Kasbah, where they blend the old and the new. It is cheaper to not completely demolish the old and just use the wood, and re build their new mud and straw constructions!
They all look like mini castles, and the rooms are just incredible, as is every hotel we have stayed throughout our whole trip, filled with photo worthy nicknacks (or dust collectors) as some of my friends say, and I have loved taking photos of all the special treasures we are finding!
Today is technically a rest day and as we are all so over stimulated with the pace and activities, we’ve turned our rest day into a girly slumber party kind of day! And it’s been so much fun Hassan our guide joined in a little.
The weather is cooler than we thought, so puffer jackets are required morning and night and layers for the day.
This hotel is like a movie set. The foyer joins the library, where we have mint tea with incredible cookies, before going outside past the pool and the most exquisite rose gardens.
The dining room is like a wing off the pool area, before the gardens resume where there are seats, hammocks and an olive tree that is certified to be over 150 years old…… oh and it’s olive picking season along with dates so the fruits just fall from the trees.
Our rooms are at the back of the Ksar property beside the spa and Hammam baths. It is an incredible place to wander.
At breakfast, we all plan if we will partake in sun beds and chill or have afternoon treatments. We also decide that we want to go the the local market and Ali from the hotel clearly drew the short straw and got voted to take us to this market. https://www.thewonkycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/img_2087.mov
The sun shines and warms up and Ali takes us to market, he only lasts about 10 minutes before he realises that 9 western women require more than 1 “local body guard” and before we know it 2 other Ksar employees are with us.
Our growers markets in Australia have nothing on the rural North African markets where live stock is being roasted or displayed for purchase. There are also little chickens, goats and sheep for sale and we all kind of breath easy as they are so young and little, we know they won’t be on the menu tonight………
Ali is taking us to the vegetable section, because a few of us have decided we can’t sit still and want to take a Tagine cooking class. Tagine is actually the vessel that is used to cook the Moroccan style food in. It’s usually cooked over hot coals and can be anything from vegetable to meat and seafood.
The market has snake charmers, local profits preaching, men gambling by shooting a packet of cigarettes off a doll head with a riffle, to ice cream cones and toys and groups of women catching up. It is surreal…….
As I said they also cook meat- in this case whole sheep. They do this by creating mud and straw domes that they stoke with wood and heat, then lower the whole prepared sheep into the mud oven and cook for hours.
Our little gaggle of western women stick out like the proverbial so we collect our veggies and fruit and wander on home for our cooking class or spa treatments, there are people everywhere. Motorbikes, cars, donkeys, trucks and others like us walking. A fun experience.
I’ve pictured a long table lunch in the olive groves of Italy in my mind for a while now and whilst this isn’t Italy nor is it a really long table, lunch for 10 of us, under the olive trees in Skoura Morocco with the fountain running through the garden is pretty much up there. Just divine.
Our food we learnt to cook, along with amazing Moroccan salad, is served with rosé and sparkling water and it is just a magical lunch.
Embracing real travel with a small bespoke travel tour is just divine. I have a hot stone massage o there’d brave the Moroccan bath called the hammam ( and have a few scrub wounds to prove it ) I am sitting in the sun on my balcony when the what’s app text goes off letting us know that if we want to have a henna traditional tattoo, to come to the library.
This particular day, we are the only people staying at the Hotel, so our group arrives in their room gowns from spas and sit in the library and enjoy not only the henna experience but afternoon tea of yummy cookies and of course Moroccan mint tea, which when poured is an art in itself. https://www.thewonkycamera.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/img_2152.mov
We all really needed this slow pace day and Sim says as a few of us lie around the library letting our henna dry it has almost be like a slumber party couple of days, just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company, sitting around in robes, PJ’s or casual clothes eating and drinking and just having a wonderful break.
We are off the Marrakech next where we know the last few days of the trip with be crazy with shopping and haggling over items to bring home and of course a little bit of culture.
So until then happy trails