Travels in Morocco Part 2: Snowy Peaks & Busy Streets

Leaving the Atlantic coast behind, we headed northeast to the small mountain village of Imlil, gateway to Toubkal National Park. Most out-of-towners have their sights set on the summit of Jebel Toubkal, and this small town definitely sees its fair of trekking poles and hiking boots tramping through its streets. Clocking in at 4,167 m (13,671′) above sea level, this peak is the highest in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, and it is also the highest in North Africa.

Opting for a “slightly lighter and marginally faster” alpine climbing strategy, we strapped on our sneakers and layered up with all of our beachwear for a 2 day ascent of this big hill.

The last stop on our “Surf, Couscous, and Camels Tour 2015” was the ancient city of Fes. Not having visited this labyrinthine marketplace since the age of 5, this was a dizzying experience of memory lane colliding with carpets, colorful pointy-toed shoes, and the inescapable, slightly putrid odor of the famous leather tanneries. The largest of the three tanneries in Fes, the Chouara Tannery, is almost 1,000 years old. There are no signs (that we could find) directing you to the entrance, so finding the place became a discussion of “since that last turn, is the smell getting stronger or weaker”? It took us a while, but we found it in the end!

 

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