We left Marrakech on April 1st on the way to Essaouira. It wasn’t a long drive which was nice.
Our first rest stop was a cafe that had a beautiful garden and a very large shop full of large displays of local arts and crafts, fossils, etc. Just the photo opportunity that I had been waiting for! I hit the mother lode photo wise.
Display of glazed tangines (cooking pot) with a background of plants.
And some plain, unglazed, tangines.
Nice display of ceramics. They had rooms full of ceramics.
The also had a massive collection of fossils, geodes and crystal clusters. That first ammonite was huge and really striking. If only I’d had the money to buy it!
They had lanterns and baskets too. As well there were shoes and clothing, other typical “cheap” souvenir things, postcards, t-shirts, etc.
The garden display was also nice – I love bougainvillea and take photos of it when I see it. I wish I could grow it here but we are about eight climate zones away from ideal for it.
They had roses but obviously the end of the season.
The also had the largest geraniums I’d ever seen! And prickly pear was pretty common – saw a lot of it being deliberately planted as a natural fence in the southern part of the country.
I think this one is my favourite photo from that stop. I got so many, but this was how the place felt to me.
We then continued on … and the next stop was for…
Goats in Trees!
Completely staged… the goats DO NOT climb the trees to eat. They are trained to stand on little platforms, for four hours at a time. There were three trees along the highway. They were so still some people thought they were fake. So I “baaaa-d” and a couple turned their heads. You can see the platform below – woven out of tree branches so it blended into the tree pretty well. But they do not do this voluntarily.
These were argon trees – where the nuts that argon oil comes from. They were growing all over this area.
Our next stop was at an argon oil co-operative, all female (this was stressed repeatedly by our guide,) who produced argon oil. They had a working display, samples, a store – we were given a tour and demonstration, then samples of both the cosmetic and edible versions of the oil. Cosmetic is from the raw nuts, edible is from the roasted nuts.
The first lady is shelling the nuts – by hand with a rock. And the second is grinding the roasted nuts by hand on a stone with a wooden handle.
They had some hibiscus blooming out front.
After that we continued on to Essaouira, with a stop overlooking the city. It was very hazy so I didn’t bother with a photo of the city, but there was a pinto camel there! I’ve never seen a pinto camel before.
Next post will be my impressions of the tour overall, the hotels, food and other thoughts.