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Today was to be half urban, with a morning visit to ‘mini Marrakech’, a town full of character called Taroudant. We were briefed that its souk was a serious market for local people, where tourists just got in the way, and we should not try to haggle. The stated price was the price to be paid.

But I wasn’t sure I should be joining the party. I, who never have tummy upsets, spent half the night…. well, let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep. (I think I had just eaten far more than my system was used to processing the day before.) Five minutes before we were due to leave, having dared have, and feeling like having, no breakfast, I decided to take the risk, with fingers very crossed. I just about got away with it…

On our way to Taroudant, we passed many polytunnels, growing oranges, bananas and salad. Once there, it was our driver and sometime guide, Mohamed, who showed us round the first attraction, the ‘Hotel of Peace’, once the palace of the local rulers, but now a hotel, which has clearly seen better days.

Don was by far the fittest among us, but clearly felt the need of a rest!
The salon, which we now knew was where guests were received. Ours seemed more comfortable and welcoming!
Spot the terrapin.
A Moorish Terrapin
A view of the palace/hotel from the outside
Philip encouraging us to follow him along the boulevard to go through the arch and up on to the walls.
Which we did, and I took this photo of White Storks some way away. But I felt distinctly uneasy. The walls were about 2 metres wide, with no protective railing on the interior edge! I was pleased that we did not walk along them, but came down quite shortly.

Mohammed then drove and led us to and through the souk, where we had strict instructions to be able to see one of our three leaders at all times. A wonderful array of foodstuffs. Some bought, I didn’t.

At one point I felt faint, I hadn’t slept much, I hadn’t eaten anything, and it was very, very, hot. I slid down to sit on a very low step, cushioned by some items that looked like boiler covers, but turned out to be donkey saddles for sale!

We left Taroudant, and arrived for a late packed lunch at a restaurant (where they were happy that we just bought drinks) at the Oasis of Tioute. They certainly know how to do cool in the midday sun.

Pinioned White Stork
Berber Toad

We went for a short walk, (well, they tell me it was short) meeting Mohamed and the minibus at the other end.

Ocellated Skink, its limbs, especially the front ones, evolved to near uselessness.
North African Water Frog
Spur-thighed Tortoise
The stunning but disused kasbah of Touite
Dramatic geology
More goats in trees. And in the distance to the right, a donkey ‘wearing’ one of those donkey saddles.

We made a short stop to have a guided tour round the Argana Tiout (I can find no website) women’s co-operative, where they made and sold argan oil products. I stayed in the minibus, and just popped into the shop to buy some of their oil – cooking, not cosmetic version, which I was told would substitute nicely for the olive oil I put into my (breadmaker) bread. We shall see!

I skipped dinner.