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The Atlas Mountains

Climbing high into the Atlas Mountains, we passed traditional Berber homes built of stones and mud. The dwellings cling to the side of the mountains, and it’s hard to imagine navigating life during the brutal winters.

We were introduced to yet another variation of bread when we stopped for lunch, Berber bread. And they serve it with herb infused olive oil. It amused me when I considered the first time I was served bread with olive oil in a San Francisco restaurant in the late 90’s. The Berbers have been having bread with olive oil for centuries!

After summiting at 6,000 feet, we dropped down to the village of Imlil, where we began our hike to the mountain village of Aroumd. This hike kicked my butt–it was straight up! I was grateful that clear, icy run-off water was tumbling down beside us, in concrete irrigation channels. At one point I sat with my feet in the water and simultaneously poured water over my head!

But the view from the top is always worth the climb. We could see the tallest mountain in North Africa, Mount Toubkal, looming in the distance. As we continued to climb through the charming village streets, we finally reached our gite. A Moroccan gite is a very basic Berber accommodation, so there are shared toilets and showers. We collapsed on a verandah among trees that gave me the feeling we were in a treehouse. Warm, savory popcorn popped the old fashioned way accompanied our traditional mint tea. I was completely relaxed and satisfied.

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