Morocco: Ksr Ait Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate – Villay Dabes

December 12 2019

I got up at 6am to get some movement in because I knew this was going to be a long car day.

I have a resistance band and gliders with me so did some videos from the Kira Stokes app.

Definitely got a sweat going. 

Then I showered and packed up. Had a quick breakfast of coffee fruit and toast around 8, and then we were off at 8:30am.

Zaka and I met our driver Youssef. 

Our first stop was this place they made Argyle soap and other goodies.

You can only make it in Morocco and it takes a long time to peel & shuck the seeds and then grind for oil. There were a ton of people in this little side of the road shop. In addition to oils, balms etc – they also make honey, dipping oil, and this paste that tastes like PB.

I got some gifts for Xmas and then headed out.

I should note as well that I’ve mainly been doing this tour in Spanish with Zaka so my brain is pretty wired to just reply in Spanish to any foreign word spoken to me if it’s not registered as English. Which is awesome but kinda weird. So the lady in the argyle shop explained everything to me in Spanish (her Spanish was really good too).

After that quick stop, we made a few more for photos here and there but the main designation was Ksr Ait Ben Haddou. It’s this old village that is also famous for a lot of movie sets. Gladiator, The Mummy, Game of Thrones etc.

Where the arena was for Gladiator
Proud movie set photos

My guide was an extra in four or five movies. He says they pay like couple 100 a day for being an extra. Not too shabby.

Jews and Muslims used to live here so there’s an old synagogue but the last Jewish family left in 1963ish?

They also built a new town across the river  in 1965 so no one lives in the old town really anymore, there’s just some tourist guest houses now.

Originally there were only 5 families in the old town and now I think he said there’s like 60 in the new? 

They had some pretty smart people in the town that learned by adding sugar to foods, you could paint with them and then heat them with fire and the sugar would crystallize to show the pictures results

Also they made these cool locks to be opened with wooden key contraptions. 

It was about a 40 min tour and after we had a quick lunch. Soup, tangine, fruit, and then off we went. 

Couple more stops to see the big Atlas film studio and some sites in the cities 

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