One of the features of Morocco we enjoyed was seeing the many buildings featuring mosaics. They are wonderfully beautiful and alluring to eyes not used to such artistry. Another feature of this magical country were the numerous carpet and rug outlets everywhere we travelled. Today I feature one of the Berber carpet shops in the town of Tinghir. This interesting town has a population of just over 40,000 and is near the Todra Gorge which I featured in my last post.
The shop was in the local medina and was a fascinating experience. On entering, we were asked to remove our shoes – a common practice in many parts of Morocco – and we were then seated on voluminous cushions on the floor. My old bones and muscles objected to this, but I managed both getting down – and getting up again.
As the owner regaled us with the significance of the symbols on the carpets he had for sale, we were served delicious mint tea. Eventually, four of our touring group purchased small rugs or runners to take back home. I would love to have done the same, but common sense prevailed. They would have made our luggage far too bulky and we were on the upper limit with its weight. Besides, my wife and I decided that there was nowhere in our home where they could be put to good use. The owner actually did a strong sales pitch on my daughter who nearly weakened; she was very tempted, but she resisted. I hope that she doesn’t regret this.
While we were in the shop enjoying our mint tea, my wife accepted the challenge to card some wool by hand (see the next photo below). This didn’t surprise me at all. She has had plenty of practice at home over the years. At one stage we had a small flock of sheep, with at least one of them with coloured wool. She enjoyed carding the wool before spinning it. Later she used the wool to knit garments.
In an earlier post, I featured my wife attempting to spin wool in the traditional manner in Morocco. You can read that post here.
On the next stage of our tour of Morocco, we visited the Todra Gorge. As we moved through this spectacular gorge I took the photo above of the Yasmina Hotel. I was initially amused by the access planks over the water. Not the usual grand entrance one might expect.
We didn’t stay in this hotel, nor did we stop for a meal. Just before writing this post I read some very disparaging reviews of this hotel. It seems that the electricity supply is somewhat lacking, or even non-existent. The showers were cold, as were the rooms. The food was also average in quality.
On our visit, however, we experienced none of these inconveniences. We enjoyed top quality hotels wherever we went with our tour group. The food was amazing and the people most accommodating and friendly.
Spectacular Todra Gorge
The main reason for our tour to take in this part of Morocco was to experience the spectacular Todra Gorge. The gorge is shown in the photos below. Although we didn’t walk far into the gorge itself, the views were amazing. I was also intrigued by several rock climbers in the gorge, so it seems that this is another attraction of this area. I also took notice of the variety of traders in the gorge. They had set up their tables at various parts of the gorge. Their wares ranged from carpets to rugs, utensils to kitchen wares, food and drinks, as well as the usual tourist knick-knacks.