We wanted an easy day today. Just hang around Taforalt. There are some nice hills around, and a forest.
On making our way up to the souk for a look around, we found out that it was a farmers market. There was nothing there, except for a few small farmers stalls. This was good for us, as we were not badgered at all, and could buy fruit & veg in peace. Taforalt is fairly off the tourist path in winter, and we probably even paid local prices! One thing we have noticed in Morocco is that it is easier to get chicken and mince than it is to get vegetables. We have been told that the Spanish crop of tomato’s failed, and this has pushed up the price of Moroccan ones. They are a whole dollar a kilo at the moment.
From here, we cruised back to the “Main Street.” This is where all the cafe’s and restaurants are.
Not wanting to walk up and down as we did last night, we decided to strike out across town, and see what we could see. Going east, we were out of town quickly, and on the hills above where we went yesterday. It is nice and peaceful up here. On the hill opposite there is a fence line that clearly indicates where the national park starts (One side has trees, the other doesn’t). There are a few trails around, and we decided to follow one at random. This ended up taking us over a small stream, and onto the next set of hills. At the top of the hill there was a large radio tower, and for some reason we wandered up to it. There is a marvellous panoramic view here, so we decided to make lunch. One of the best we have had in Morocco. There was proper salad in it. Cheese, tomato, cucumber etc. Perfect. Morocco as said, is not that big on the salad department, and even Andrew as a die hard carnivore was starting to go through withdrawal symptoms.
Sitting up there on rocks in the sun was great, quiet, relaxing and a good view. As we sat, noises from around started filtering in. There was a main road nearby, but out of sight, and we could hear the vehicles going past in the distance. Donkeys braying in the valley below, and birds in the trees.
A few times we had to move the rocks, as shadows started encroaching on our sunshine. Whilst warm in the sun, it was quite cool in the shade. It also appeared to be a favoured drinking spot. You see these all over, and are easily identified by the broken Heineken bottles around.
With it starting to get late, we ventured into the forest to find our way home. This let to another one of our mushroom hunts. Surely there would be some here. It was wet, dank and full of rotting bio-mass. Perfect conditions for finding Moroccan mushies. There were a few to be seen, popping their hoods up through the ground. Not sure if they were edible or not, but definitely good enough to take photos. We are starting to get a rather large collection of world fungi photos. Its just a pity we know nothing about any of them!
It was almost dark when we made it back to town. Hoping to find David & Sophia at the hostel, we checked there. No sign. They had the key, so there was nothing we could do but wait. Not there. It was too cold to sit at the doorstep for goodness knows how long. Knowing they would come looking for us, we headed back to the main street. Here we got a pot of tea, and sat watching the world go by.
Taforalt is not a poor town. Yes, it is small, but the people are all well dressed, the houses are built to a better standard than usual. The restaurants are set up nicely, and the cars going past were all fairly new. They also included a lot of expensive 4WD vehicles. Tourism must be doing well here over the summer months. Even the Auberge charges over 150Dh a person! Relaxing outside, with warm tea, talking to the people going past (Well, saying hello at least. Being the extent of my French) we ran into the nice guy that had given us a lift back yesterday. He must have stayed in town.
At some stage, David & Sophia joined us. Now we went looking in earnest for Dinner. It would have to be a Tanjine, as there were not too many options around. We settled on a stall and looked at what they had. These tanjines were big. The size of the ones we were getting below the high atlas! It has been a while since we have seen them so well done. Settling on two different types. Beef & Lamb. The other ingredients are matched to the type of tanjine. Ours was the lamb, and it was fantastic. So good that we couldn’t even eat it all between us. Sophia came to the rescue, and helped me finish off the meat.
Dinner done, and so full we couldn’t move, we sat there with another pot of tea playing cards. This is a usual evening past time for us now, and is quite enjoyable. Also there was no rush to get back to our beds, as there is nothing warm or comfortable about our room. Its just cheap!