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My Last Days in Morocco

April 4, 2014

Today was another travel day. We left Ouarzazate quite early as we needed to arrive in the desert at a good time. The drive was very beautiful as we traveled through many oasis. It is amazing to see palm trees and small wheat plots emerge out of the desert. It doesn’t look like there is any water source at all but clearly there is.

During our drive we passed through the Valley of the Roses. This valley is filled with a unique type of rose that grows only in this valley. The legend of the valley says the roses were brought back by people who completed the pilgrimage toe Mecca. The roses are prized for their small, aromatic flowers which bloom in late April.

After the Valley of the Roses, we drove along the Boulevard of 1001 Kasbahs. It is so named because of the many villages that line the 30 KM stretch of highway. The Kasbahs are very simple from the outside. The adornment is saved for the inside of the home.

It was very interesting to drive through the pre-Sahara and watch the landscape change. While on the highway we did not see the characteristic sand dunes of the desert. Rather, the landscape changed from one with trees and bushes to one filled with rocks and scrub brush. Still, the sand from the desert blew across our path, giving us a taste of what was to come.

After our lengthy bus ride, we arrived at our 4×4’s which were to take us I to the desert. The students (and staff) were all very excited at the prospect of getting into the 4×4’s. it was a rather short ride through the desert to where our camels were waiting. But, as we drove, the sand began encroaching on our path. The dunes rose up out of the desert the further we travelled. It was very hard to believe we were in the famed Sahara desert.

All too quickly our 4×4 adventure came to an end. However, we were greeted by a herd of camels waiting to take us to our camp.

I’m not sure how many of you have had close-up experiences with camels. If you haven’t, let me explain something. Camels are stubborn, temperamental, smelly creatures with a propensity to drool. They don’t generally spit, as most people think, but when they sneeze their drool tends to fly. However, we all climbed aboard the camels, much to their protestations.

Our first stop on the way to the camp was a large sand dune. We climbed to the top so we could watch the sun set. We wanted to give the kids an opportunity to sand board but the camp didn’t have any boards. This did not deter the group as they did somersaults, barrel rolls, and flips down the dune.

After many photo opportunities, we left the dune, got back on the camels, and rode to our camp. I don’t think I can refer to what we did as camping – more like glamping. There were large tents and beds and an amazing dining hall waiting for us. As the stars came out, we were treated to a wonderful dinner cooked by the all male camp staff, who also provided us all with some great after dinner music. It was a truly amazing experience for the group.

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