We start walking through a valley following a small river along divers terraces and irrigation channels. Like in a journey of time, we are brought back to the archaic world of the Berber. In the villages we pass, most of the people, and mainly the children, are very shy. From the moment someone brings his camera to the surface they run away and hide. One of my two cameras get jammed so I must chose if I want to shoot black and white or colour photographs. Step by step we start to rise. From this moment on, we have to live in a world of stone for almost two whole weeks. Rocks, stones, pebblestone, sand... and furthermore - almost nothing. And by the remorseless sun, even the stones get thirsty. Only the green islands that form oasis, don't fit in this picture. They look like swimming in this petrified ocean, of which the waves have come to standstill far above the little villages, ready to devour everything that lives here.
Brave, but nevertheless breakable, the mud brick Berber castles lie in the middle of these fertile oasis. Masterpieces in a landscape, perfect in harmony with their environment. From afar they look like strong and impregnable fortresses. But if you come closer, the ingenious structures appear elegant and fragile. Those who want to live in the middle of this stone world have to be strong and stand rough handling. The Berber people hang onto this and live here for many generations. They defy storms that lash the mountains. They defy the dryness when it doesn't rain for months. They defy the floods when the heavens open up. And they also defy the Arabic conquerors who drove them away from the fertile settlements and put them to flight into the mountains and the desert. Here they live, this is their home, in a landscape, how life-threatening it seems, still so infinite fascinating.
Not far away from Tichki (2344m) we reach a green plain between the mountains where we pitch our tents. This will be our first bivouac. It seems that the boys from the village come here to play soccer. Not that I'm such an enthusiastic football fan but I couldn't resist to play a match with them. And that of course isn't such a good idea as I soon sprain my ankle because the plain isn't so even as I possibly though. At the moment I don't feel bad. Before going to sleep, I bath my foot in the ice-cold water of a small river nearby. Unfortunately, the painful ankle disturbs my first night in the tent.