As Agadir is a resort and not a typical Moroccan town it was important to us to leave Agadir and explore around. We did the guided tour of Taroudant, organised by our hotel.
We travelled by bus from Agadir through a fabulous landscape of argan trees and a spectacular view of the Atlas Mountains. There are plenty of so called green houses where many vegetables such as pumpkins, tomatoes and aubergines are grown.
We stopped along the side of the road to have a closer look at some goats that unbelievably had managed to climb up into the branches of pretty tall argan trees. They have nothing to eat on the ground and are therefore under pressure to climb the trees to have the green leaves. We took photographs and gave some coins to the man who was looking after them. He might make a small fortune as many buses with tourists stop here to watch this rare goat spectacle.
Taroudant (known as “Mini Marrakesh”) is a nice little town of 16th century, with big pink (or dusty red) walls. It is said that in the late afternoon and early evening, the walls’ colours change with the position of the sun.
Have a close look at the walls – they have many square holes, and I would never guess their real purpose. These holes were made deliberately in order to encourage nesting and thereby provide the town with a source of food in times of siege!
The Medina has everything – a school, hospital, souk and the 56,000 residents themselves (70% Berbers and 30% Arabs). We were taken to a place where we saw how argan oil is being produced by traditional methods. There were two ladies working here – one of them was pressing the argan seeds for cooking purposes (the seeds are dark as they are roasted), the other for cosmetic. Here, we bought some excellent quality argan oil products such as hair conditioner, face oil and a perfume for men.
As the guide explained, much of the argan oil produced today is made by a number of women's co-operatives. Making argan oil is a part of project “Solidarity” (similar to Fair Trade) and it usually employs women who are single or widows. They earn between 3000-5000 Dirhams, depending on profits. It looks hard and tedious manual work – they need to press the kernels by hand.
We were also shown a bakery and asked not to take photos. The bakery looked like a hole – so dark inside. We were given hot bread to try and just a few of us dared to taste it. Obviously, it was not only me with doubts about the levels of hygiene.
In one of the stores where we stopped a seller offered us the so called ‘magic box’ (a wooden box with little tricks) on a price of 800 dirhams. In a shop in Agadir the same box cost 80 dirhams. Really crazy prices!
I wish we had more time so that we could see other things in Medina apart from the souk.
The journey to Taroudant was one of the best days during our holiday - it was a real taste of Morocco for me.
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