Before heading to the Sahara Desert, our last stop was Ouarzazate, a very traditional Moroccan town located between the humid, red earthen mountainous regions of abundant green vegetation and the more arid palmaries -date palms primarily- which appear before the landscape turns more and more desert like up to the great Sahara. Upon arrival, our first impression of Ouarzazate was one of deserted streets, with one or two faceless masculine passers-by dressed in long black djellabas (flowing men's gown, ankle-long and with a hood); no warm acknowledgments, no women to be seen and a gloomy atmosphere. Luckily, we were wise enough to remain open minded and explore this bizarre town that presented us with some very exotic and interesting moments. We loved the old Moroccan Citadel, the folkloric gang of craftsmen (form Berber to Jewish, all men) and the luxurious yet cheap Hotel Riad Salam in which we rejoiced after staying in a couple of dark, filthy ones in a row (sometimes there is no other option money can buy and, lets face it, accommodation inadequacy is one of the main downfalls of travelling in a developing country).
We had some unforgettable heart-warming meals, both in sophisticated restaurants with elegant upholstery and soothing music (there is a very good one near the Ensemble Artisanal), as well as in humble tin-tabled plain little eateries (it was precisely in one of these that we tried for the
first time the kefta aux oeufs (lamb meatballs with eggs) and fell heels over head in love!
Our final impression: Ouarzazate was a memorable experience full of first-time moments and surprises. It might not be a beautiful town in itself, cause there is no urban aesthetic, but the inhabitants are very interesting, the food is superb and it offers a curious and beautiful array of crafts in addition to the Old Moroccan Citadel, which is practically still alive and a beautiful architectural piece of art.
In addition, getting to Ouarzazate by car allowed us to see the beautiful landscape transition of Morocco's natural richness. Since we were there in December, we even got to see the snowy mountain peaks from afar.
Here is the third article of the Moroccan series related to Ouarzazate: http://hubpages.com/hub/Ouarzazate-Old-Moroccan-Citadels-and-Delicious-Food