Thursday 11th April
Leaving Boumaine-ed-Dades we headed south west to Quarzazate before heading on to Marrakech.
Quarzazate is famous as the centre for the Moroccan film industry with its small airport having played hosts to the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. As you pass by the studios on the outskirts of the town you can see the sets for such films as The Mummy, Gladiator and Troy.
A little further on we passed a sign post for Ait-Benhaddou where the Tafas massacre in David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia was shot, using Moroccan army troops to play the Turkish army.
Past Quarzazate we headed up through the High Atlas by way of the pass at Tizi-n-Tichka, almost 7000ft above sea level. Although warm and clear for us you got a glimpse of the conditions experienced in the winter with the snow covered peaks in the distance, the barriers to close the roads, the snow poles to mark the edge of the roads and indicate the depth of the laying snow and finally the snow ploughs parked up in a small town on the edge of the pass ready to be brought into service when required.
Our journey ended for the day at the hotel in the Imperial City of Marrakesh.
After checking in to the hotel, and a short rest, we walked into the main square for our first experience of the city. As you approached the noise level and the mass of humanity increased. The sights, sounds and smells were intense and combined to assault your senses….. but what an amazing experience. There was everything from horse draw carriages, to snake charmers and traditional musicians.
We eat in a small cafe which provided views over the square so that we could observe from a distance, before getting back in to the thick of it tomorrow.