Breakfast was amazing. These unsweet crepes are quite delicious and called M'smmen. They have a very mild cream cheese and honey that you put on it and it is such a wonderful breakfast. Once you eat breakfast, you mentally know that lunch will come between 1-2pm. It is almost like you train your brain and body and you will not begin to be hungry until that time. Once we complete breakfast, we fill our water bottles and head out on our hike. It is a very winding dirt and rock, hiking trail to the main road. Once we get up to the road we turn a corner and in the middle of nowhere is a rug shop and a souvenir stand. We pop our heads in the souvenir stand and they have T-shirts, Tagines and all the usual stuff but I see one thing we have no before. Geodes. Deb and I are amazed at the color and find out that in this region, they are completely natural….wow. We pick up some beautiful rocks for the kids in our lives. Next we are off for tea. Peggy has been coming to Morocco for 20 years now and has developed some very dear friendships and relationships. One of the beautiful thing with her tours is that you get to benefit from that. Aisha and Hussein have been hosting her groups for tea for years. Peggy knows her sons and now their granddaughter looks to Peggy as a grandmother too. Sitting on the floor of Aisha’s Berber home with her breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains, sipping her homemade verbena tea sitting on her homemade carpets is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. As you watch Hussein pour the tea from a good 12 inches above the very small tea glass, you get a sense of the generosity and gentleness of these mountain people. It is extremely humbling to see their genuine joy and happiness in their simple life with really no possessions to speak of. It makes me feel that we have polluted the meaning of life in America…..it has really been lost. Maybe this pandemic will force our country to live more like theirs.
She shares with us photos of her family and sons (we marvel as where she gets them developed and where is the camera?) and we bid her farewell. As we leave town we pass several family donkeys, chickens and children all hustling about the narrow, crumbling corridors of the neighborhoods. As we descend the mountain back to the Kasbah, we pass a beautiful walnut grove and several very odd oak trees. They are seem to be damaged but in the uniform way. Our guide tells us that the Berber people have learned that by cutting hearts into young trees, they can extend their lives from 150 years to 300-400 years. Wow. Those hearts gradually kill a part of the tree but that death opens the inside to the outside and creates many benefits. The tree is less susceptible to wind damage and now the fresh air keeps the tree from disease and rotting fro the inside out. It also keep pests from living in the tree and killing it. So much to be learned here……not just about caring for our world but caring for ourselves.
Back at the Kasbah, lunch was ready for us on the patio and we finished it right before the afternoon rain. We had a tagine cooking lesson from the chef and ate our lamb tagine lesson for dinner…..as we sat by candlelight, eating in the lodge and listening to the rain pour onto the roof, we all realized that the entire world was in total disarray but we were in our 10 person bubble. We were totally isolated from all that was wrong in the world and surrounded by all that was right. Golden moment…..truly a golden moment.
The next morning it was up bright and early for the beach. We had to get down on mules as we had gotten up. Back down to the down of Imlil. There was a sadness in the van as we headed down the road from the Atlas Mountains. But as we stopped at the rest stop for coffee and excitement began to grow as the next stop was Essaouira and our two days on the beach.