The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Through the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh

I left the sand dunes early in the morning, heading west toward Marrakesh. I won't get there for two days however. Although I had left the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi behind, I was still in the Sahara Desert. As I rode along I passed several towns  built at an oasis where somehow underground water comes close enough to the surface to support life.

The people who live in these oasis towns often do their work on donkeys, living as their ancestors must have done back in those long ago days of caravans and Romans and Bible heroes.

My goal for the day was to get to the famous Todra (or Todgha) Gorge at the south edge of the Atlas Mountains. Visiting that gorge is one of the top things to do in Morocco. Here is Odysseus looking at the entrance to the gorge. Maybe he was more interested in the motorcycles over there on the left than he was in the gorge.. See any female bikes over there Odysseus? Hmmm. He won't answer me.

As you can tell, we are down at the bottom of the gorge.

There is a lot of activity in that gorge. Tourists were walking around taking pictures, and Moroccans had stands set up to sell things to those tourists.

I liked it a lot in there.

After exploring Todra Gorge, it was time to move on down the Atlas Mountain chain to another gorge, this one not quite so famous. It is called Dades Gorge, and this one you have to look at from far up on the road.

I don't know if you can see how deep the gorge is in that last picture, but I can tell you that it is a long way down to the bottom. Perhaps this picture looking back at the road Odysseus and I came up will give you some idea.

Old Moroccan buildings are sometimes perched in the most precarious positions.

I stayed the night at a Riad just down the road from the gorge. I was the only one there. The hostess, a beautiful Moroccan woman, made me an evening supper which was probably the most tasty of any I have had in Morocco. Here is a picture of my bed for the night. Is there really a need to surround yourself with mosquito netting in the desert? Somehow I don't think so.

When I got up this morning there was a marvelous breakfast waiting for me: fried eggs, bread, yogurt, jams and jellies. I loved it.

My first stop today was in the Moroccan town of Ouarzazate. It is at the far northern edge of the desert, and it has been the location of several films. I stopped there to see some of the film sets. Most of them had to do with Bible stories, at least on the sets I visited;.

Here was the throne room in several movies.

Here is a list of some of the Biblical movies made here.

I didn't recognize any of those films, but, if they are to be believed, they also shot "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Mummy," "Gladiator" and many other movies here. They also shot parts of television's "Game of Thrones" here in Ouarzazate.

Leaving Ouarzazate I headed up and over the Atlas mountains. They were doing a lot of work on the road up there, and it was dusty going.

I was more than ready to be off the motorcycle and to knock the dust of myself with a shower once I reached Marrakesh. Now I am settled into a nice hotel room for the night after going out and eating a good meal.  I plan to be here at least tow nights, maybe more, exploring this vibrant, modern city. 


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