Africa

Auberge Le Festival: Discovering the Virtue of Idleness in Todra, Morocco

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We spent a night near the spectacular Todra Gorge, sleeping in a cave at the Auberge Le Festival.

Well it really wasn’t as dramatic and adventurous as it sounds. It was a cave alright, but a well appointed one, with an en-suite bathroom.

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The Auberge Le Festival is a charming mountain guesthouse (actually it is quite posh for a guesthouse) located above the Todra River, next to the Todra Gorge. It is set amidst a magnificent landscape of rugged, desolate and stark mountains – a place where harsh ruggedness and tender beauty of nature go hand in hand.

The place is largely uninhabited, save the odd nomadic Berber tent, in the middle of nowhere. Berber people, the original inhabitants of Morocco, are beautiful, gentle and hospitable. Many of them eke out a subsistence living high up in the mountains, grazing their goat and sheep and collecting mountain honey. Their lives are humble, but their hearts generous. And amidst such stark landscape, you often find women weaving some of the most stunningly beautiful rugs and carpets in the world. They have an amazingly evolved sense of aesthetics.

This is a place where you can let your mind go blank, gazing into the vast, expansive and desolate landscape and soon you realize you have taken flight and your spirits are soaring…you forget yourself and lose sense of time.

Did someone say, “an idle mind was a devil’s workshop”? Alas whoever coined that hadn’t visited Todra and sadly – hadn’t discovered the joys and virtue of sheer idleness….

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