This morning, we left our homestay families in Tinerhir and headed for the Todra Gorge. We'd heard that the area is renowned among rock climbers, and you can certainly see why--the small valley that houses our hotel is situated in the middle of two sheer rock faces that extend skyward as far as the eye can see. It's pretty breathtaking to glance up from reading your book on the hotel's rooftop terrace, and see these gigantic cliffs right above you.
Our big activity today was an art lesson with the owner of a small gallery in town. He does work in both oil paints and safran paints, and we elected to try out safran painting, because none of us had ever seen it done before, it's endemic to this region. First, we watched as he demonstrated how he produced the colors he used in his painting, and then we got to do some painting of our own (which we got to keep!). Safran painting is done using just two colors: yellow, which is made from an infusion of tea leaves and safran, and black, which was made by dropping a special kind of rock into boiling water. Somehow, the water reacts with the rock and MELTS it--I never knew rock could actually melt. Anyway, the result is a clear liquid, that, when applied to paper, gradually turns black. It was a really cool process to watch, and the paintings ended up looking pretty good!