While I stayed in my friend’s house, I reviewed what was left from my backpack.
Hard conclusion. More than 75% of my original equipment was gone. If I wanted to keep on going, I had to buy a new backpack and new clothes. I would realize later that I did not need more than this to travel.
Amine, the friend who had rescued me, took me to local shops where I could get cheapest prices. He dressed me like a Moroccan and asked to just point what I want. He bargained everything in Moroccan in order to give me cheapest price. Three days and fifty euros later, I was well equipped and ready to travel.
I stayed a bit more and lived with Amine and his friends for a week. I had this great opportunity to enjoy their life which is a lot of music and coffees.
Every night we went to this coffee and met with Ali, my Berber friend to jam blues.
They gave me all the confidence I needed to start my trip over. After one week, I left my saviors and hitchhiked again. I was heading to the Sahara desert, 800 km ahead. I was still a bit anxious but relaxed fast when I had my first lift.
They were two french from Toulouse traveling across Africa to deliver medicine to remote areas. The medicine they gave me though were ham and wine, last thing I would have expected to find in a Muslim country !
Tipsy, I kept on going and had one of those typical rides of Morocco.
I met two brothers who took me to their family home in Taliouine, a small village in the mountains. It turned out that their dad was the mayor of the town.
That is probably why there was so much food on the table. I spent the rest of the night playing with their cousins.
It is only when I woke up that I realized where I was. This beautiful cold area is the saffron valley, one of the tastiest spice found in Morocco.
I left this beautiful non touristic village and ventured into the Atlas mountains.
Landscape changed and became very dry.
It felt like walking on the moon.
On my way, many drivers told me to visit Ait Ben Haddou, one of the oldest city of Morocco.
It is also renown to be a famous Hollywood spot where numerous movies had been recorded (300, Games of Thrones, Gladiator…).
I was mesmerized by this beautiful fortress.
Inside, the city was full of handcrafts from Morocco and neighboring countries such as Mali and Mauritania.
Even if I was not going to buy anything, I met Abdel, a Tuareg from Mali and spent few hours speaking with him. Every year, he goes with his family on a 52 days camel caravan travel from Morocco to Mali to trade and bring new merchandises.
However with current wars it became more dangerous to travel inside the Sahara desert.
I kept on travelling and reached Ouarzazate later in the day. I went to a friend of Amine who welcomed me in his place, the ” Tomorrow’s Youth Association For Creativity”.
His name was Mohamed. His goal was to help kids who can’t afford any activities and taught them music, painting, sport, etc. He was running the association with a few friends.
I stayed couple of days with them learning from their very particular lifestyle.
I also went exploring the city and met Frederic, a Belgium woman traveling on her own in Africa. To this day, she is one of the strongest person I met. She had a car accident and had been sitting in a wheelchair for many years. Still, she was traveling everywhere alone just like nothing had ever happened.
I invited her to spend some nights with us and Mohamed’s friends.
Where we cooked all together, sharing our knowledge and happiness.
I left Ouarzazate and kept heading east to the desert.
A basque engineer gave me a ride and took me to one of the largest solar panel plant in the world.
It was really in the middle of nowhere and I had to wait a long time until a bus gave me a ride, where I was completely alone. I Just felt like an inmate going to jail in this one.
At the end of the day, a group of Italians gave me a ride to the Dades Valley.
One of the most beautiful road of the country.
We became friends and decided to spend the night together. It was also easier for them to travel with me since I was the only one speaking French.
They were also going to Merzouga (Sahara) so we decided to go together.
The road to the desert was absolutely fantastic. There were among the highest cliffs of Morocco.
A true paradise for any climbers.
Even in this dry environment, Moroccans had know-how to cultivate the land.
We finally reached the Sahara, one of my wildest dream.
I took a small walk and decided to spend the next 2 days exploring it.
I stayed with my friends at night and could barely sleep: I was too much excited about the next day.
I spoke with local guides and they gave me a good hike. I could walk to one of the highest dune, 20 km away. I just had to walk towards it and leave it in my back to come back.
I bought 8 L of water, food and started to walk.
I started early in the morning and arrived at midday at the bottom of the dune.
It was not too hot since it was still winter, but the ascent was very tough.
It took me a long hour to climb it.
The payoff was huge. I was completely alone in this beautiful landscape.
I sat and realized where I was. I only had traveled one month since I left home. So much had already happened.
The whole afternoon, I played those Malian blues riffs I had learnt with my friends.
Until I noticed something coming up to me…
Come on !
COME ON !
It was already hard for me to climb that dune, I can’t even imagine how tough it was for this little scarab.
Sunset was sick but I had to find a place to sleep now.
I settled my tent close to the summit to get the best view of the night sky. It might have been the best meditation session I had ever had.
It is not my picture (as my camera does not work at night) but it is the same location and exactly the same sky. One of the purest I have ever seen.
At 5.30 am I went up to see the sunrise. It was beautiful yet freezing. A strong windstorm was about to start.
This ghostly sun still haunts my mind.
I started to walk to the city, leaving the dune in my back.
I walked in silence for hours.
I arrived at my campsite in the afternoon. I enjoyed a nice shower and a lunch. It was a worth the detour: the Sahara trip was one of the best experience I had ever had.
In the end, it was 2 weeks since I was robbed. Life went on and very well !