Robin's Adventures

Morocco, Spain, & Portugal
A Picturesque Adventure

Berber Market

Before going up to the village, we stopped at a Berber market in a centrally located village. The market is set up once a week and people come from all the nearby villages to purchase the goods that they need and to meet up with people they know from other villages.

More Berber Market

There was an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as an assortment of spices. Shoes and clothing could also be purchased. This was very different from the souks of Marrakech because the items for sale did not include the tourist trinkets we saw in the souks, but rather included staple items needed for daily life.

Really Fresh

The meats that were sold were really fresh. Just about every place that sold chickens had a bunch of live ones available for slaughter. Sheep heads and other cuts of meat were also available for purchase. Instead of the traditional shopping cart, purchases were loaded up on the family donkey and taken back to the village.

The Chicken Salesman

We noticed an interesting exchange between a potential customer and a couple of different chicken salesmen. The customer bargained for his best price and finally the deal was struck.

After making your purchases of the ingredients you want in your tagine, there is a man willing to prepare it for you, for a fee, in one of his ceramic cooking pots.

The Berber Village

After our visit to the market, we prepared to ride up the mountain to visit the Berber village. We utilized the local transportation and rode donkeys up the mountain. The scenes that played out along the way were simply snippets of everyday life in the Berber village.

A Typical Berber Home

We were able to go inside a typical home in the Berber village. We saw the living room, the bathroom, the closet, and the dining area. We even had a nice view of the neighbor's yard and chicken coop.

Tea for Two

Our host offered us mint tea and some homemade khobz bread with local jam and honey. One of the plants on their patio had a butterfly that kindly posed for a photo or two.

Kasbah Tamadot

We stopped for lunch at the Kasbah Tamadot, located in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The property is one of the hotels owned by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson who first saw it while visiting Morocco on his around the world hot air balloon adventure. After lunch we strolled through the gardens and then we watched a demonstration of how khobz bread is made.

Goats in Trees

Essaouira was the next stop on our visit to Morocco. Along the way we stopped to see the goats in the argan trees. Apparently, the fruit of the argan tree, Argania spinose, is a favorite food for the goats in the area and they go to great lengths to get it.

The fruit of the tree surrounds a hard-shelled nut that farmers harvest and process in order to make argan oil, which is an important commodity in Morocco. It seems that once the fruit passes through the digestive tract of the goat, the nuts are easier to extract from the fruit. Thus, the goats are actually performing a service for the farmers.

Argan Oil

The process of making argan oil begins with the fruits which are laid out in the sun to dry. Then the nuts must be removed from the flesh of the fruit. The flesh is then used as animal food.

The nuts must be cracked and the seeds removed. Attempts to mechanize this process have not been successful thus far, so workers must do this by hand. If the oil is to be used as a food oil, then the seeds are roasted and then workers will use a grinding stone to create a liquidy mush which after settling for a couple of weeks is filtered, bottled and sold for culinary use. Any leftover solid mush, which is very rich in protein, is rolled into a ball and set aside for use as cattle food.

The process is the same for argan oil that will be used in cosmetics, with the exception of the roasting.