Soon after Ait Benhaddou we headed to Aroumd, a village in the High Atlas mountains. Aroumd (also called Armed or Aremd) is the largest village of the Mizane Valley, an extraordinary looking place, built on a huge moraine spur above the valley at 1840m. We were to stay over night with a lovely local family who welcomed us all with open arms. You will find if you ever visit Morocco, the people there are exceedingly accommodating & friendly, always wanting to enjoy a good conversation with you over tea or encourage you to dance & sing by a roaring fire.
After numerous hours driving through the valley & up the mountain pass, the dusty white hairpin bends are becoming so tight that the hard-worked mini van, unable to make them in one, negotiates a series of death-defying turns, leaving us at times driving so close to the very edge of a precipice, with only a handbrake between us and a 1000-foot drop and a breathtaking view down the valley. Our driver is the Bees Knees! To the south, a dizzy view of interlocking spurs, and to the north, a spread of horizontal terraces and rooftops. Here is the village of Aremd, 8000 feet high, overlooked by jagged ridges and wedged in the cragged mountains. The silence of the mountains is both eerie and magical.
Our mini van couldn’t take us to where we were to stay so we trekked for about 45 minutes up & around parts of the mountain side, taking in the incredible views as the sun was slowly setting and enjoyed our brisk walk. I mentioned in the previous blog post that at this point of the tour my body was getting tired and now it was showing signs of being a bit poorly. If like me your immune system isn’t great, I’d suggest taking multi-vitamins or Berocca and maybe probiotics too. My body creates a lot of nervous energy, my nervous system is usually on full power but it never knows what to do with the stress and adrenaline so I get fatigued and poorly quite fast on the positive side to that I have reasonably fast metabolism which helps maintain my slim figure. Although another favourite place during our time in Morocco, I was getting weak and craved some quiet time with herbal tea, PJ’S and a good book. I actually did get that whilst in Aroumd which was a welcome relief.
Aroumd is a beautiful, quiet and traditional Berber village. A photogapher’s and backpackers dream you feel like you are far away from modern, technological cities and closer to the heavens. Perched on a rocky outcrop, remote Aroumd offers stunning views, in my opinion this place probably one of the most beautiful places in Morocco. The high altitude village of Aremd (1907m) is the ideal location for passing a few days in the “clean air” of the mountains in the Toubkal region. This is an all year mountain resort offering: trekking, climbing, mountain biking, ski mountaineering and much more.. Over 7 km of concrete has been placed, giving a clean and secure sanity system for everybody in the village. These projects have been funded by the dynamic local village association and the local governments help. 100% of the population has running water and electricity, 80% have television and 20 % have a telephone in their house, thank you Maroc Telecom. 2 camping sites, 4 gites/ hotels, restaurants, shopping and guiding services can be found in the village.
I loved the little girls from the family we stayed with, both of them were adorable, full of cheeky energy and confident playfulness. They wanted to interact with everybody. Hadija the eldest kept asking me to swing her round and round until we both got dizzy, she also played with my hair and told me it was pretty. Chayma the youngest looked like a doll and was constantly giggling and following after her sister. I adored every moment with them and just like the children I met in Midelt, my heart wanted to stay.
The moment our group were settled into our rooms it wasn’t long before a delicious meal of couscous and tagine was served, “Tagine” is the name of the food and also the conical earthenware pot it comes in. Moroccan tajine dishes are slow-cooked savoury stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry, or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also used. Common spices include ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. Paprika and chilli are used in vegetable tajine. The sweet and sour combination is common in tajine dishes like lamb with dates and spices. Tajines are generally served with bread. Because the domed or cone-shaped lid of the tajine pot traps steam and returns the condensed liquid to the pot, a minimal amount of water is needed to cook meats and vegetables.
In the early hours of the next morning Jon opted to go on a walk just before sunrise to explore the surrounding land. I opted to sleep in a few extra hours knowing it would calm my body and give me some much needed quiet time. I loved every moment of being in the tour group but I needed some alone time to regain balance again. It was a lovely clear morning and I stepped outside the house to just be with the mountains on the balcony. Sometimes we human beings just don’t know how or when to stop, I mean truly stand still and take in every beautiful moment. It sounds crazy but do you ever talk to nature? I do, I actually say hello to plants and flowers and tell them they are ‘a Bonnie soul’, sometimes I lift my hands to the sky and mentally say ‘hello’ to mountains, big trees, the sky & the stars. Doing that is extremely liberating, I recommend you try it, it’s good for the soul. Walking back into the house, Peace and Yahya our tour guide were sat looking at photos on a laptop and I joined them, soon after Hadija and Chayma were up, dressed & wanting to be involved with what the adults were doing. I loved this moment. A few hours later the rest of our group returned and lunch was being prepared.
It wasn’t long before we had to say goodbye to the beautiful family in Aroumd, I am going to miss those girls! I even received some advice from the father of the family (I have forgotten his name, apologies!) I mentioned I was shy and he said “Do not be shy, my girls are not shy, they are confident and will grow up to be strong young women, be confident!” I think I will take that advice and apply it to my life, I will be like those beautiful little girls. It was sad to leave this family and this place. This is another destination I would go back to in a heartbeat!
Only a couple more Moroccan Posts to write! Next up our two days in Essaouira! Stay Tuned!
If you missed previous Moroccan adventures click on the links below!
Day one & two in Casablanca
Day three/Afternoon in Rabat
Day Four/Morning in Meknes
Day Four/Afternoon in Volubilis
Day Five: Fes
Day Six: Midelt
Day Seven in Sahara Desert
Days Eight & Nine in Todra Gorge
Day Ten in Ait Benhaddou
I am also on TripAdvisor, find me here.