After our visit to the carpet and rug shop in Tinghir in Morocco, we headed off in our tour bus to our accommodation in the Dades Gorge for the next two nights. We stayed in the Hotel du Vieux Chateau du Dades.
This hotel appeared rather non-descript from the outside, but once inside we appreciated the warm and welcoming atmosphere, especially the warm fire in the dining room. To be honest, the rooms were very cold but then, we were staying at a high altitude so that part was understandable. (In my diary written at the time, I recorded that it was over 2000 metres in altitude, but I think that must be a little off the mark. Although the surrounding peaks can rise as high as 2,700 metres, we were in a valley. The hotel we stayed in was somewhat high in that valley, but I doubt that it stood at over 2000 metres.)
On our arrival we settled into our rooms, showered and changed for dinner. Before that, we had been in our clothes for about 36 hours, sleeping in them in the Sahara the previous night. For dinner, we enjoyed a delightful couscous. One of the major highlights of travelling in Morocco was experiencing their foods. We were never disappointed. We slept reasonably well despite having to run the air-conditioner all night just to keep warm.
A long walk
After a wonderful breakfast, we set off walking down the Dades Gorge. This hike took us through several Berber villages along the way, though we did not see many people. I found that the walk was very interesting but I was disappointed not to see and photograph many birds. Along the way, we came across a shepherd watching over his sheep and goats on the hillside (see the photo below).
At the end of our trek we had one final challenge: a very unstable and rickety bridge over the river. I have included a photo below, taken AFTER I had successfully crossed over. We actually had a choice: cross on this bridge – or walk back up the valley for another four hours to our hotel. Not really much of a choice, in the end. As it turned out, by crossing one at a time, we all successfully negotiated the bridge. Locals probably do it every day without thinking.
This series of posts is somewhat overdue. During Easter in April of this year we stayed for a week with family in Clare in the mid north of South Australia. On each day of our stay we went for a half hour walk along the Riesling Trail.
The Riesling Trail is a 27 kilometre walking and cycling trail through the Clare wine region area. It runs from the small town of Auburn in the south through the Clare Valley and ends just north of Clare township. It passes through vineyards and farming country, with many fine restaurants and wineries within easy reach of the trail.
The Riesling Trail is very easy walking and cycling, for it used to be the railway line through this area. The sleepers and rails are no longer there and have been replaced by smooth gravel.
On our first walk we tried to ignore the cold, damp conditions. I was delighted to get a good photo of a beautiful butterfly as well as some very interesting fungi.
For more details of the Riesling Trail, click here.
Several days after Christmas the family had another reunion, this time in the Lane Cove National Park. This park is about a ten minute drive from my son’s home in Artarmon, Sydney. we knew it would probably be somewhat busy because of the Christmas holiday break, so we went early. Before having lunch four of us went for an hour and a half walk through the park.
It was quite hot and humid with no breeze, so in no time we were all soaked from the effort. My son and I had our cameras and we were on the lookout for interesting things to photograph, especially birds. I think I may have converted him to being a moderate birder after he was pleased to receive a bird field guide for Christmas. Perhaps “bird photographer” would be a better appellation.