Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

After a hectic eleven days driving around the desert towns of Morocco we are back in the oh-so-verdant Lecrin Valley. It is easy to see why the Moors so loved Andalucia and called the Lecrin Valley the Valley of Happiness.

If I had been born and bred in the desert I too would think I had arrived in Paradise if I landed up here. The water is still gushing along the Rio Durcal with the final snow-melt from the Sierra Nevada and the lake is fuller than I have ever seen it, almost to Restabal.

Looking for fossils we found Berber children

Looking for fossils we found Berber children

The larger lake on the way to the coast is filling up rapidly too, and the motorway from the valley to the coast has finally opened, making it an easy twenty minute drive down to the sea for sundowners of an evening.

The orange blossom has now gone to be replaced by small green globes which will ripen into a vibrant orange in November, ready for the picking season from January to April. But at the moment they fall into the pool, alter the ph level and clog up the automatic pool cleaner that we have. We are getting cherries from the Alpujarras in the shops at the moment and they are deep red and juicy.

So, all in all, we are glad to be back but thoroughly enjoyed our time away, especially seeing how similar Morocco and this part of Andalucia are, except for the desert, or course.

Camel pool waiting for customers

Camel pool waiting for customers

In fact, it was hard to politely keep quiet when someone was explaining what an acequia was or how the walls of the houses were made of mud, when I have fallen in more acequias than I care to remember and remember Antoñita taking fifteen hours to clean my house after we had a door put in my two-feet thick lounge wall, filling the house with dust from the original mud which over the centuries had dried like stone.

We started our Moroccan holiday in Marrakesh in a lovely riad, then Idriss Alaoui our driver/guide arrived to take us off into the hinterland. We crossed the Middle Atlas and headed for Ouzazarte where we passed a very pleasant evening, and the next day headed off to Erfud which was Idriss’  home town and from there into the dunes near Zagora. We rode camels into the dunes and stayed the night in an arab tent (khaima), getting up at sparrers to see the sun rise.

Idris trying to sell Carmen someone else´s rug

Idris trying to sell Carmen someone else´s rug

Dawn at our camp in the desert

Dawn at our camp in the desert

From there we followed the Draa Valley to the end of the tarmac, where a sign gave the instructions, Timbuctoo 52 days.

We saw just about every kasbah in the country and ate tajine at every possible opportunity, delighting in the taste of the vegetables which had been grown without the assistance of chemicals and tasted just like I remember in my youth.

Then it was back to Marrakesh for three nights in the same riad as before, La Maison Arabe, very relaxing and with Carmen only demanding the mornings in the souq and allowing the afternoons to visit the hotel´s garden and orchards in a walled enclosure in the countryside outside the city. It had a pool and bar and classrooms for learning how to cook authentic Moroccan dishes. Now Carmen wants a garden like it, albeit it must have half a dozen gardeners to maintain it, and my back is beginning to twinge already.