Day Nine: Leaving Marrakesh, Setti Fatma Falls, Casablanca [June 3rd 2013, Monday]

Worcester State University Faculty Led Morocco Program – 2013 (Day 9)

We were not going to be returning to Marrakesh after our travels today, so we packed up everything nice and neat and loaded our bags into the van once more. We are getting very good at packing and unpacking our things! This morning our destination is the Falls at Setti Fatma which would be a short one and a half hour drive. Trust me, at this point in the trip, an hour and a half drive is nothing!

—- *Blog Photographs are Courtesy of Christopher Lippmann, one of thirteen WSU Morocco 2013 Travelers | **Video Links are short ‘clips’ uploaded from the entire WSU Group to our WSU Flickr Account to enhance the blog experience. —-

We meandered along a stream at the base of the mountain through a small village. There were little cafes along the water set up with brightly colored pillows strewn about. None of the cafes were open yet because it was still early in the morning. All was quiet and we were immersed in the natural atmosphere of the mountains. People were just starting to wake up and come out of the small, squat buildings peppered in the hills. We walked over rickety bridges to get across to the path to the Setti Fatma Falls.

Our first glimpse of the stream near the Setti Fatma falls.
A wooden bridge to cross to find the path up the mountain.
Local ladies doing wash in the frigid waters from the mountain.
Many little cafes with tables set up under willow trees in the gorge between the mountain.

Walking up the path to Setti Fatma Falls — Video Clip:

A kitten crossed our path. Olivia scooped him up and carried him with us for a part of the hike through the village. All of the girls in our group were enamoured with the animals we came across in our travels.

Olivia steals a neighbor’s kitten to take on our walk with us.
We are heading up the path to find these fabled Falls!

We hiked for about a half mile up the side of the mountain to reach the first of seven waterfalls. The hike is very easy, many of us climbed up easily in sandals but looking back I would recommend sneakers. If you go on this hike with Professor Brahimi through WSU, I would strongly suggest bringing a well balanced back pack to stow away your electronics and water bottles safely. Mohamed was having a little bit of trouble balancing a bottle and his iPad while hiking up the mountain but we all made up there safely.

Once we arrived at the pool of water by the bottom falls we all chucked off our shoes and rolled up our pants to jump in the water. I have never felt water that cold in my entire life! It was so cold that it was physically painful but very refreshing and definitely worth the climb up to play around in the water and to see the falls.

WSU found the falls of Setti Fatma!

WSU makes it to the Setti Fatma Falls! Video Clips:

The water is so cold! Video Clip:

We got some great pictures of the group such as Pat staring off into the distance, Tim taking off his shirt and waving it around like a cowboy with a lasso, Casandra being a billy-goat on the rocks, AJ trying to kill himself on the rock cliffs… again. Oh, AJ. AJ was by far the Daredevil of the group. We all became quite close on this trip. After playing around in the falls we all decided to stop at some small artisanal shops located a little ways down the path on the way back to the village. We stopped where everyone paid 20 dirham (about $2.50 USD) to have a local hammer our names in Arabic on a piece of tin to attach to a colored leather bracelet. We lounged around while we waited.

Kayla, Olivia, and Pat pretending the water isn’t cold.
Omar couldn’t pretend any longer.
Victoria hangs out in the water at the Falls while Pat, Kayla, Joe, Tim and AJ debate on who is going to go in next.
Kayla and Meghan grin and bear the cold water of the Setti Fatma Falls.
Casandra is dubbed our ‘bathing beauty’ as she soaks up some Moroccan sun on the warm rocks by the falls.
A local craftsman taps our names in Arabic onto little scraps of tin and attaches them to different colored leather scraps of our choosing for bracelets.

We sipped on Hawai which was actually chilled by the water from the falls. What a wonderful idea! The water worked as a natural refrigerator.

Sodas on display under running water off the mountain.

Video Clip: Meghan asks, “What Town Are We In?”

While I was waiting for the artist to finish his work on my handmade bracelet, I went way from the group to a different shop found further down the walkway. You could stand and watch the artist work with soapstone to carve it. All of the carvings looked dusty and unfinished. I said they were magic stones because when you put the little figures in water they take up the colors of the stone as they should be. There was an old man that talked to me saying that all of humanity are equals, we all have the same eyes, nose mouth – two hands, two feet. He appreciated our visit and offered me the opportunity to apprentice in the stone shop for a year. You can completely go off the grid here! The old man told me that I could live in the village and work with him. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. After this meeting with the old man, I could not help but reflect on the differences between U.S. hospitality and our experiences with Moroccan hospitality. On a scale of 1-10, Morocco is at least a 13 and the U.S is probably a 5 in the ‘hospitality and kindness’ department.

Mohamed and Omar pause on our walk down the path for a photo.
A different color for a different café perhaps? Very cool to see from above on the path by the falls.

A Walk at Setti Fatma:

Horses and camels bedecked in brightly woven saddles for tourists to ride up the mountain.

Lunch was at a giant restaurant down the road. We laughed and discussed our adventures so far. After our relaxing lunch, we took a few photos out front of the building with AJ holding our banner — a roll of TP. It became very symbolic during this trip.

An opulent restaurant all to ourselves for lunch.
Steamy chicken tagine, anyone?
Leaving the restaurant we decided to fly our TP banner proudly.
It became a symbol during our trip.

Casablanca seemed like forever away. We drove through the countryside up from the south to the Atlantic coast. When we checked into our hotel we regrouped later on and met up with Mohamed’s cousins and some students from a nearby University. We were pleasantly surprised when Ali and a student from his own program came to join us for dinner. We exchanged stories, thoughts about the trip and gifted presents around to one another.

Tim says, “Paint me like one of your French girls.”
Dinner at our final hotel in Casablanca with Ali, Mohamed’s cousins and some students from a local college.
Joe presents a gift to one of Mohamed’s cousins after dinner.
Mingling and talking after dinner.

The evening ended with us saying our final goodbyes to everyone that we met on our journey and we promised to keep in touch online and to make every effort to travel back to Morocco in the future.

Good bye, new friends! We will never forget you!
Mohamed with his cousins and Ali saying our final goodbyes.

About wheresmrmerlin

I am an English Graduate from Worcester State University with a background in various things. I attended college at Atlantic Union College as a Biology Major with my heart set on becoming a Veterinarian. I love all animals - I am owned by two cats; Yoda and Sparta, a leopard gecko named Joe, and a ball python named Voldemort. During my first year as an Undergraduate student at AUC, one of my favorite professors lamented the fact that I was such a creative writer and pleaded with me to further a career with writing instead of science. Her words rooted into my soul. The next year I transferred to Fitchburg State University, still a Biology Major. Halfway through the year I made the commitment to switch my concentration to teaching Secondary Education in English. I attended FSU for a few years off and on. I transferred my degree to Worcester State University to be closer to home. Seven long college years later, I finally graduated with an Undergraduate Degree in English from WSU in 2011. After much debate and internal struggle, I returned to school in the Fall of 2012 to continue my education at WSU in their Graduate Non-Profit Management Program. I hope to finish my Program with WSU by 2015. Right now I am busy writing, working, teaching my cats good manners, crafting and planning a wedding for next summer. I look forward to travelling more, now that I have gotten the travel bug from visiting Morocco this past summer through an Annual Study Abroad Faculty Led Program that Worcester State University offers. It was truly a life changing experience that allowed me to make many good friends. I cannot wait to see what other adventures life brings my way.
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