Goats and Donkeys in Taroudant, Morocco

Part 4 in a series about a January trip to Barcelona and a Western Mediterranean cruise on NCL.

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Our cruise ship’s second port in Morocco was in seaside resort town Agadir—one of the country’s newest and poshest spots. We saw just a little of the town before driving off on another private van tour, this time to old Taroudant, commonly dubbed the “grandmother of Marrakesh.”

Taroudant is known for it’s stately mud walls, which appear more red, gold or brown depending on the light. The ramparts were built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for defense, but today do more to draw tourists in than keep invaders out. As our guide wound us through stalls selling brightly colored produce and spices past men and women wearing traditional robs, it felt like we had stepped into a different time—except for the occasional car or motorcycle.

We stopped by a women’s co-operative selling house-made creams, oils and cosmetic products. Argan oil is the local specialty—used for everything from cooking to moisturizing—and is traditionally produced by rural Berber women or in co-ops. Only in the last couple of years has argan oil gone from being a local secret to a major export, touted as a miracle beauty cure-all.

Other highlights of the day included a wacky donkey ride full of questions into my marital status, a delicious lunch of couscous and almost missing the boat’s departure time.

But perhaps the best part of the day was the tree-climbing goats, a local bizarrity. Yes, the goats have become primarily a tourist attraction, as buses will stop beside the road so travelers can take pictures of the climbing goats—and give a tip to the goat herders of course—but it was still a fun stop. Baby goats were also foisted on us to hold for photo ops—an honor which my mother, at least, felt compelled to accept.

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