High Atlas Mountains

April 14, 2007



Full of trepidation, we headed in our Grand taxi towards the spectacular snow capped Tizi ‘n Tichkna mountain pass to Marrakech which is at 8000 feet (2400m) with rugged peaks that rise to over 13,000 feet. It twists, snakes and cork screws its way through multiple hairpin turns which gives one plenty of time to take in the gorgeous scenery of ever changing patchwork colors. This massive mountain range is truly breathtakingly beautiful and the weather was divine.

We had tried our best to get a Grand Taxi with seat belts, but it seems they do not exist, so again we had to accept our fate. The driver was very sweet and seemed to be a good driver and responded to our request to go VERY slowly. It was only a few hours away, so we saw no reason to speed. His breaks squeaked all the way there on each turn which was not too comforting, but thankfully they did not start grinding until we got past the worst of the turns and hills.

Again, I just had to let go and trust and enjoy the views. The native people, Berbers, live a simple life here as they have for centuries. When the Arabs invaded they found ways to live in more and more uninhabitable lands to keep their freedom and ancient ways. We would see them in all  the creek beds as we passed by, washing clothes or walking with or on animals. There were lots of places to stop and buy things along the way and some would stand right at the edge of the road trying to capture your attention, so they could sell their goods.

We stopped in a little town to get some cookies and soda which became our Grand Taxi sustenance. On
the way we almost stumbled over a decapitated, bloody goat’s head right in front of the store on the main road. Yuck. There was a typical orange stand across the way, but we just took pictures and stuck with bottles that we could open ourselves to drink.

As we got close to Marrakech, the road became more straight and level and we came across some bright green pasture land that almost looked like Ireland. Soon it became clear why they call the imperial city of Marrakech, the “pink city”.













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