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Kasbah Ellouze

April 12, 2007

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Getting there can be daunting, but once one discovers all the delights of Kasbah Ellouze, one realizes the effort has been well worth it. I did not want to drive the whole ten hour drive between the Erg Chebbi dunes and Marrakech in one stretch, so tried to hunt down a special place after our Camel trek that would add more colors too our trip and be soothing and this place more than fit the bill.

To be honest, I did not care for our first room as it was a little too authentic for my taste and looked like it really needed a remodel. Mozart liked it though. Again, the long drive of six hours with cramped legs had taken its toll. Then add two bottles of Sprite which had spilled all over my very limited clothes supply and taxi as I exited, along with a gauntlet of leering neighbors through winding dark, fly-filled alleys didn’t help my mood.

I was ripe for a volcanic eruption and desperately needed a nice meal and some quality sleep in a lovely room. By this point I was fed up with the authentic life of other lands from Spain to here and just wanted to go home to my nice, comfortable, lovely American home....that I sold to take this trip! That was the first time I felt that since we took off eight months ago.

Thankfully, they had another room that was much newer and fresher while retaining all of the charm and we had a decent meal, so I went to bed much happier. After a much needed good nights sleep, I woke up singing “I can see clearly now the rain has gone” which is one of Mozart’s favorite songs at the moment and seemed to be my morning theme song in Morocco.

Often I would get stressed by bedtime, overloaded with cultural shock and constant assaults to the senses. Many of the “assaults” were good things, just all the new and strange takes its sensory toll by the end of a day. Since we were on Spanish time, dinner time in Morocco was usually when we went to bed so always felt so late after an exciting but often harsh day in some ways. Yet, as the new day broke with the morning light, blue skies and my energy back, things would look so much more clear, so I was ready to gobble up more of the endless sensations in Morocco.

The morning was like opening one present after another at Kasbah Ellouze and I fell totally in love with it as it is awash in beauty of many hues and of every description. The room looked even prettier in the daylight and the windows looked onto the green almond grove below with red mesa with an occasional donkey or camel walking by with one of the neighbors.

Colette has a wonderful eye and picked decorating choices that delighted and comforted. I liked looking at the Berber geometric patterns on the textile elements in our room that echoed the patterns we saw built into the wall at our place in the Sahara. They were familiar parts of me now and I wondered if they were made on a loom like we saw in Fez as they looked custom made. The bathroom was a delicious place to take a shower and more Moroccan decor with a French flair.

Dinner had been an adequate tagine (I had been hoping for French since the owner is a renown chef), but breakfast was luscious including a great big oversized  bowl for the coffee and hot chocolate which was a touch of whimsy. We had dinner in a Jazz motif room (which was great since DaVinci is a big Jazz fan) but
I liked the tile color patterns and painted bamboo ceilings in the breakfast area which added a nice twist to the traditional look.

I learned that they have only had electricity for two years here in this tiny village, so the beautiful restoration of this ancient Kasbah seems even more amazing. Every vista resembles a film scape and in fact many films have been done here next door including Lawrence of Arabia.

We started wondering after breakfast finding one gorgeous view after another when we ran into Colette, the owner, going out to feed the camels and she invited Mozart to join her and feed some too. There was one beautiful beige bashful camel that gladly ate from Mozart’s hand while the camelman, Colette and I looked on, with the verdant oasis and red rocks creating a picturesque backdrop.

It is the perfect place to be after the Sahara camel trek and the only place in Morocco that I would be interested in doing slow travel. I could stay a week there just soaking up the atmosphere and stunning views. It is a lovely place to relax and absorb the best of Morocco.


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