Friday, March 4, 2016

Snowed out in Morocco

Yup, you read the title.  We got snowed out in Morocco.  I didn't even realize it was possible, but we learned the hard way it most definitely is.

Let's back up, though.  We had another day in Fes and our tour guide from our first full day, Fettah, told us about a driver who would take us up into the Atlas mountains and give us a tour.  He spoke very highly of him and it sounded like the perfect second day itinerary for us, so we agreed.  Let it be known that until our first day in Fes, there hadn't been rain for months.  Farmers were praying for rain and the rain seemed to follow us to Morocco.  Everyone was happy, but us.  The joys of travelling in the off-season I guess....

Anyways, we met our driver (neither of us can remember his name!) at 9:00am and headed up into the mountains.  Our first stop was to a little berber (indigenous people of Morocco) town up in the mountain because there was a lady who lived in a cave!  When we arrived in the town, it was cold and neither of us were really dressed properly.  We found the cave and were welcomed in by Fatima, the cave resident.  I was amazed at how warm that cave was! It felt so cozy in there.  I don't know what I was expecting when I heard there was a lady living in a cave, but I definitely wasn't expecting what we found. It most definitely was a cave, but she has the hookup for sure.  She's got a television, a stove and it's warmer in there than our house in Turkey ever gets!

Fatima doesn't speak any English, but our tour guide was able to translate for us and we sat and had tea with her while she dressed me up in traditional berber garments.

She's even got a DVD player!

When we walked out of the cave, this is what it looked like....

We definitely were not expecting that! We knew it was cold, but we didn't realize it was that cold or that the rain that had been following us would turn to snow! I guess the farmers will be happy!  The snow began to pick up and as we headed up the mountain to the next little town, we were presented with a problem.  The road going up the mountain was closed because the snow was coming down so hard that they weren't allowing anyone up. 

That presented a problem because our entire afternoon itinerary relied on being able to get up into the mountains.  I don't think our driver really knew what to do either, so he quickly recommended going to a nearby town and checking out their medina and grabbing lunch.  In hindsight, Mike and I are pretty sure he was just stalling.  We agreed and got lunch.  The medina was pretty similar to Fes, just much smaller, so we only spent about a half an hour walking around. 

After lunch, he took us to an overlook where we took a few (very cold!) pictures.  It was beautiful though!

By this time, it was getting pretty obvious that he didn't really know what to do with us. We were kind of frustrated because we probably could have gone to another town, Meknes, if we had decided to do that when we got turned away from going up the mountain.  We were frustrated because we felt like he should have suggested that from the start, but by this point, it was too late.  After the overlook, he suggested that he drop us off in the new medina on the Champs D'Elysees de Fes.  We agreed since it was only 2:00 and we didn't have any other plans.   

When we got to the Champs D'Elysees de Fes (I just like saying that!), it was drizzling, but we figured we'd walk around for a bit and get a tea before meeting back up with our driver.   As soon as we were far enough away to make it not worth it to run back, not only did the rain start to pick up, but it also started hailing. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!?  It was just not our day.  We huddled under an awning until we saw a break in the weather and then made a mad dash back to the car to tell our driver that we gave up and just want to go back to the dar. 

We spent the afternoon hanging around the dar.  The owners are so friendly and wanted to hear all about our day and all of it's mishaps. That night, we were the only ones who had requested to have dinner at the dar, so we got our own little romantic dinner.  It was delicious and a great way to make up for our uneventful Valentine's Day.   It also served as a great ending to a not-so-great day.  But, hey, we got to meet a lady in a cave! When in Morocco, right?