Day 3 - in and around Zagora

After the long day yesterday, it was a relief to know that we were not moving to another place for tonight, and thus there was no need to get up for an early start. But this didn't stop some of us getting up before dawn to be driven in one of the 4x4s most of the way up Jebel Zagora, the local mountain, to see the dawn, and then to walk back to the town (about 2 miles) for breakfast! After that, there was a most interesting guided walk through the palmery and on to the old town - full of people, very few cars, lots of children, and a visit to a silversmith. There was a bit of free time in the afternoon, and then we drove out to the edge of the true desert for a camel ride. Camels are supposed to be desperately uncomfortable, though most of us found it quite OK for an hour - we had special saddles with a stout iron bar to hang on to if necessary. My camel was young and not at all keen on having a heavy load, so had a few fits of "air turbulance" when the iron bar turned out quite useful .

The first light of dawn - if you look hard!

Start of the walk back - the lights of Zagora

Relics of ancient fortifications

plus a very thorny acacia

The thorns

Palmery showing signs of the drought

Getting back to civilisation - and a convenient reminder that we are around 30. deg North

A camel park

The restaurant where we are to eat tonight

Camels with cattle egret picking at the ticks

Our hotel in Zagora

View from our bedroom

Colourful Berber scarves - the purple are dyed with indigo which doesn't run

Start of the walk round the palmery

Irrigation control

Man on donkey

Fencing from local materials

Plant guards

Goats and kids

Village scene

More plant guards

The old
Town Hall - a favourite for wedding photos

Street in the old town


Street under houses with a distant view of a courtyard

A collapsed house showing the method of construction

Silversmith preparing sand moulds

and impressing them with a blank

Melting the silver

Pouring into the moulds (no safety equipment)

Breaking open the mould

The raw pieces ready for further working

Water pot storage racks (the pots have pointed bottoms)

The sliversmith's shop - an Aladdin's cave

Old wooden doors

Rugs and pots

The sliversmith's father - tickled pink by seeing this picture

Maureen demonstrating how the kohl containers and brushes work

The cats in Morocco are very well fed

Hibiscus in the garden of the old Koranic library

Arcade of shops

The elaborate doorway of the mausoleum of the Koranic Library's founder

and the window next to it, with Koranic inscriptions in the plasterwork

A well off one of the covered streets

Roof of a covered street with a house above

Visit to the pottery - good for stunning visual images

The potter sits underground so he can use all the floor space around him

Slicing a pot off the top of the lump of clay - in a time-honoured tradition

The hole without the potter

The kilns

Roof tiles with raw glaze, as yet unfird

Finished bowls

Finished bowls showing the distinctive local green glaze

The ptter's mate

Close-uo of mud block showing straw reinforcement

The road home

This hotel had a very nice pool

Main street of Zagora

The mountains are never far away

Mint tea in a local shop

Choosing a camel

We had a lot of fun with camels

but we all enjoyed it

Berber tents

Distant women walking from far away

Mud block building in the desert

Camels have very large feet

Camel judder on camera!

Portrait of my camel

and in profile

and the camel drivers

Genuine Sahara sand dune

with distant Berber tents

Map of the Draa valley in the hotel

Out to dinner in another hotel

A bread cosy

A lavish spread of excellent food

The Moroccan drummers paraded in honour of Katie's birthday
Zagora is bottom right, and the camel ride is the dotted line to the south-east of it.

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