Newspaper of trip

(...) After passing Ouarzazate, the arrival at the Kasbah was like a blessing. That very same night I had spotted the shape of the building where we were to spend a week. It is a typical house which has been rebuilt with the aim of boosting and developing alternative touristic activities (...)

Kasbah ItranIt is a very cosy place, a typical Kasbah in the area, a jewel rescued from local architecture. It has got an open yard, a kitchen, toilets, showers, 7 large rooms decorated by hand with wood and bamboo roofs and all kind of details and materials from the Berber background. All these give the place a warm light and make us realize that we are in Africa. There is a bright lounge used booth as a meeting point and dining room and the best of all, a large balcony from which you get breathtaking views of the banks of the river M'Goun. I remember the first time I looked out of this balcony I thought I would never be able to forget that fantastic scenery. In the middle of rocky mountains, the dryest place I have ever seen, the doorstep of the desert, Berbers have managed to create an incredible orchard making use of the river that rises considerably during the melting of the snow. Don't forget that the weather in winter is cold and snowy. It is a real vegetable garden in the middle of half-ruined Kasbahs, in perfect combination with the rocks that surround the area. It is a 15-minute-walk (five minutes by car) from a little town called El Kelaa M´Gouna, a little town that has all facilities visitors might need, such as banks, hospital, pharmacies, supermarkets and above all a lot of cafés where you can sit outside and watch the bustle and the frantic commercial life. Once a week craftsmen, farmers and livestock farmers gather, making a busy, colourful market where you can find products made out of roses especially. This has gained them international reputation.

The hospitality and friendliness of Berbers slightly stunned me, I must confess. It is incredible that wherever you go they greet you, offer you fruit and they even stop to talk to you. At this point I have to say that I regretted giving up French years ago. I found it difficult to understand certain words and expressions and this made me feel uncomfortable.

Kasbah Itran (...) We went for our first walk around the Kasbah and the vegetable gardens by the river. (...) We took a few pictures and went back home. It was already dark, as it was September and at it gets dark around eight. We were ready for dinner. Certainly food is usually appetizing and that night there was a delicious lamb couscous cooked in the Berber clay oven, just the right portion, no more no less, (I weigh 110 Kilos), Berbers are moderate in their eating habits and this is ideal for the trips and walks in the area, which are a must.

And then, a long after-dinner chat with Lahcen and Mohamed, in charge of the Kasbah. It is worth chatting in the lounge but it is even better to do so in the balcony, weather permtting, having a cup of mint tea, looking at the stars (Itran means star in Berber) and feeling the soft breeze that comes from the Sahara. Conversation and a little bit of music, Berber songs acompanied by the drums that Mohamed Tam Tam and Lahcen beat rythmically. The atmosphere catches your spirits and invites to participate, to get uninhibited. Laughter and practical jokes all the time

The people in charge of the Kasbah are prone to talk about anything. They talk about the habits and customs of their people, about how different they are from the people living in other Moroccan towns ruled by the Arabs, about current problems in the villages where they live, about changes that the new King has brought, about the rules of solidarity among Berber families, about a thousand things anyway that one may have thought of from the distance. However, you can only get deep into these matters once you are there.