The Road to Ouarzazete


So we decide it would be much more fun to take a road trip than to fly to Ouarzazate.

It’s just over the snowcapped High Atlas mountain range you see in the distance.

No biggie.

L1020852The journey takes the better part of 5 1/2 hours and turns out to be one of the highlights of our trip to Morocco.

890A7053We pass through the most amazingly diverse terrain

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 10.04.53 PM

890A7174Traffic is wild

890A7001With nary a dull moment


Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 10.07.53 PM

While much of the drive is immersed in a patchwork of deep green grass and red earth, towards the mountain top things get positively lunar.

And wait…what’s this I see?


890A6983Yes. We found a store.


Rock Shopping. Dig it.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 10.10.22 PMHappiness!

890A6970The salesperson’s hands

L1020846Just in case you were wondering.

890A7066Coming down the other side of the mountains we detour to Telouet to stop for a delicious lunch


890A7069and to tour the incredible ruins of Telouet Kasbah, where the likes of General Patton and Churchill were received back in the day.

890A7106Only the storks call it home now but restoration is slowly underway.

890A7087Our extremely knowledgable guide.

If you can believe it, this is how some of the rooms within the ruins are still appointed, despite the dilapidation inside and out.

890A7089Examples of two astonishing archways


890A7094and a ceiling in one of the grand salons


890A7115Up on the roof, storm clouds roll in upon lusty winds

890A7130and our “Talitha Getty” photo shoot is foiled (for now 🙂 )

It was so cold-don’t look at my Uggs.

890A7155Getting closer to our destination, the villages hugging the water’s edge become chameleons against the rocks.

DSC01016Only the satellite dishes give them away

(or their ‘white flowers’ as our driver called them )

890A7168One last ruined kasbah glows in the gorgeous setting sun

and it’s cocktail time for a couple of very dusty ladies.




  1. The most lovely post yet. I cannot believe the quality of your photos! Slim this could be National Geographic. What amazing sight the tiles are in these places. I love that you went off road and did this. Your rooftop shot is Talitha meets California girl! Loving the Uggs!


  2. What a beautiful tale from beautiful (and fun) travelers. Good call on the road trip. The casbah could only hope for such rocks! I’ve been considering a camel/hiking/ski tour of the atlas range, My determination is fortified by your adventure! Looking forward to more updates. Travel safe, ebh

  3. Dear Slim,

    since 3 years I read your blog. Im so excited. Thanks for this great pictures.

    Your fan from Berlin

    • That’s so sweet Maria-Best regards to you in Berlin! I have never been to your city but I hear it is amazing!

  4. Lordy!
    What a brilliant post! (I should say; ANOTHER BRILLIANT POST!)

    Your husband sure signed up for the “MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR” through life when he married you!!!! And it seems like he knew it!

    What a lovely and happy life you are living!
    What amazingly exotic travels you take him through! What a lucky man!

    What great fun it is having you show us these unusual and creative forays you make into our world!

    and to think; if I could throw a rock farther than I can; I would hit your house!

    We saw your husband at a party….( at the Coral) and my husband said; (describing some model) (she is a nine-iron)! Your husband broke up laughing);
    You are both very funny; and hugely educating!

    I had lunch today with Brooke Giannetti and her sister and mother; and I said….(I have been a decorator for 43 years);
    I reiterated my philosophy that:
    I always said that decorating could not be taught! I was right about that for a long time!

    Now I say; Yes it can! Through blogs! Such as yours! Now, truly, there are so many really great decorating and design blogs…….talented people do not go to classrooms……..blogging is the best medium ever for sharing creativity and history, and taste! What a wonderful medium! I am so happy to live long enough to see it!
    Thank you for your incredible contributions!

    You are a huge talent!


  5. Oh my heavens! Thank you for shareing this incredible experience! So stunning!!! Truly, you are so brave and I am in awe!!! So adorable to refer to it as “shopping”. I hope you were able to keep either one of those geodes. And your sleeping quarters….unbelievable! What fortune to see all of that! Thank you for my vicarious tour through a part of the world I will probably never have the nerve to see.

  6. Slim, with this post you’ve hit a new high in sharing your personal journey! Great storytelling and photos, and the photos of you make it even more fun. So, maybe it’s time to write a book?

  7. Fabulous photos, Slim. I am sure this is a trip to remember for a lifetime. Thanks for taking us along.

  8. I honestly *gasped* the opening shot was just….well, if one needs words.. The incredible journey you are having is intoxicating!! It leaves you wanting…more. The geodes are so beautiful!! franki

  9. Fantastic photos! You are able to capture visions that inspire and intrigue. Thanks for taking your “road trip” so that we can see places that are not the usual tourist stomping grounds. I hope you found a good rock to buy!

  10. My depth perception is soooo off. Looks as if it would take 5 days to reach the Atlas! Slim I CAN reach out and touch the crumbling clay in that window sill ~ thank you so much for taking the time to post on your adventure. There’s something to be said for taking one’s time (and lot’s of jeans) to really and truly experience it all. Think of what you would’ve missed if you had flown!
    BTW, I see my 21 year old daughter exploring Slim Paley on a regular basis ~
    This put’s you waaaay up there on the hip mom meter!
    Safe travels dear.
    XO LP

    • Lisa- that is exactly what we thought and part of the reason why we chose to drive instead of fly. The mountains appeared practically insurmountable to us.
      PS. So happy your 21 yr old reads my blog 🙂

  11. What an adventure! It’s a story book life you’re creating. Amazing photos. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Where you on a independent planned trip or with a tour company? I’d love to know. Thank you for putting so much energy into your blog!

  13. Haven’t been on that road since 1983 and I assumed it would be a big 4 lane highway by now. So glad some things stay the same!

  14. If I don’t get that deep into Morocco EVER
    I feel I have beeeen!
    Stunning. Oh my. Now that’s traveling!

  15. What an amazing place….so much gorgeousness everywhere you look. Your photos are wonderful and I can imagine it is even more fabulous in person. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Wow, what a spectacular trip! Just gorgeous. You gals were wise to take the road trip, you would have missed so much beauty. thanks for sharing, Slim. You girls look fab, too!

  17. Slim,
    What a wonderful way to see a country. So sad the kasbah was neglected so long.
    Hey, you’re traveling a long way from a Happy Nails, but still, I can’t imagine those would be your fingers holding the quartz. lol.

  18. about getting your rocks off! I am digging the ruins and all that intricate, carved design detail and tile mosaic, that is crazy inspirito……that geode looks like a ruby beryl gem… the dudes and their “cloaks”…. mysterious and sexy (not the men in their cloaks, that would be weird) terrain…….

  19. One of your most fabulous posts!!! The photos are magnificent…. Thank you for opening my eyes to such a wild and intriguing place –

  20. What an incredible adventure, such an amazing and off the beaten path part of the world to explore!
    The rock shopping is too fun…I was surprised that there actually was really cool stuff to purchase…very pretty! The kids in our neighborhood like to set up rock stands instead of lemonade stands (they’re painted rocks though)…I’ll have to share this post with them for business insentive!
    Safe travels and thank you so much for sharing…oh, and those upper deck cows…wow!
    xo J~

  21. Wow, those are the most amazing photos so far, makes me want to go there, it just looks captivating. What a wonderful experience you must have had.

  22. Un-be-lievable. Stunning photos {via nature and Slim}, plus it’s all soooo interesting. Not your everyday sights, that’s for sure. I kept thinking of those news reel clips they showed in school {in ye olden days} where the deep voice would say, “And you were there.” That’s what it felt like reading your post. Thank you for sharing and welcome home!

  23. Your husband must have laughed to himself that you were able to find shopping at the edge of the earth!

  24. Wonderful … Like all your readers the photographs are magical… I felt as if i were there with you… and of course you are a girl after my own heart… shopping in the most unlikely of places… 🙂
    Happy weekend… enjoy your treasures… xv

  25. This is some of your best photography Slim. Didn’t think you could out- do yourself, but you just did.

  26. So beautiful and looks so adventurous and peaceful. I love those hot pink geodes. Such great photos.

  27. Super duper photos! And yes, they would go wonderfully well in your travel books that you are going to write. The cows were worrisome the way that bus was tilting!!! They seemed oblivious to it all as if this was something they were quite accustomed to ! You look gorgeous as always in your pics and very very becomes you!! Thank you for brightening my day!! It has finally warmed up somewhat here in Idaho!!!

  28. Slim,
    Uncanny how many of the scenes look like terrain in New Mexico, especially Red Rocks area. You will now
    have to go visit there to compare! Your photographs really are National Geographic level. Just another
    amazing talent of yours, huh? 🙂
    I hope you bought lots of those geodes! I’ve never seen red quartz crystals in one, do you know if it was dyed?
    Otherwise, I’m trying to figure out what the crystals were. Did the lady mention what they were?
    What a spectacular trip you are enjoying..and thanks for taking your time to share with us.

    • I don’t know really- it was a man and he spoke neither English or French, only Arabic. Not your average shopping exchange!

  29. Heading for Morocco in two weeks to visit our son, who is there as a Peace Corps volunteer. Thank you for reminding me that once I’ve hugged my boy (it’s been a year after all!) there will be so much more to take in.

    • And I forwarded this link to my son in Morocco, who said, “Yea that’s pretty much what it looks like, except I’d like to know where they’re getting cocktails out there…” Sounds like after a year of doing youth development, he’d like to join you for one!

  30. chiming in on expressing appreciation for your talents..and sharing with us! .what a fabulous road adventure…i would love to know if you seek these places out, or do they just magically appear in your travels?

  31. I’m amazed to see satellite dishes “blooming” on the roofs, and yet no electrical poles or wires in sight. How does that work?

  32. Morocco is one of my favorite places on Earth! Love all your amazing pictures, especially the yummy meals. I love the crumbling buildings and the beautiful tiling. I would never leave. Enjoy your trip and keep on posting!

Would love to hear from you!