cerebral museum

The blue city (Chefchaouen, Morocco)

Posted in Uncategorized by Cassandra on March 20, 2010

(Morocco posts are going to be out of order… I’m still processing all of the photos and I want to get these up before the feelings/memories start to fade)

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen was my second to last stop in Morocco, and my favorite mountain town. I arrived by bus from Fez (4 hours) in the early morning and caught a petit taxi up to the medina from the town center. The walled part of the city is located high in the mountains, and the hill to the top gives San Francisco a run for its money. I found a bed and breakfast type place and reserved three nights. The mud brick walls are super thick in order to insulate in winter.. and I found a lot of tiny slippery rock staircases/hit my head on more than a few doorways.

The entire medina (walled in old city) is painted in varying hues of blue. An older local I met near the river told me it’s attributed to an antiquated Jewish tradition. It was a soothing place to walk around and get lost. There weren’t very many tourists, and most of the ones there seemed to be of the semi-permanent transplant variety. There was a lot of Spanish spoken here. It’s pretty far north, so it makes sense.

The town was really quiet and peaceful. There were the usual amount of slackjaw-staring-at-the-6′-tall-woman-alone locals, but almost no haggling/heckling. The food in this town is phenomenal, and super cheap. I ate like a king.

I decided to hike into the hills behind the medina. I’d heard there was an old mosque and a waterfall.

Mosque built right into the river

First thing I noticed when I checked into the hostel was a heavily-laden and extremely dirty road bike in the common area. Awesome! Later on, I met Kyle, a British guy who’d been on the road with the bike for seven months. He’d been through France and Germany, Turky and Italy, Spain, and now Morocco. So rad. We hit it off instantly and he came with me into the mountains the next day. We hiked slowly past the goat herders and river offshoots. The trail was barely there and slightly treacherous. I saw a huge hawk and spent probably hours just sitting in the silence and sun next to the snow-melt river. Such a drastic change from the fast pace of Fez where I’d been for the days before, and all of the travelling.

Kyle and a Rif mountain valley below

Chefchaouen was a nice end to my trip, very glad that I decided to check it out.

After that, I went north to Tangier for one day, where I got terrible food poisoning/took the ferry from hell back up to Spain (including me mixing too much dramamine and ibuprofen/not enough food and later finding pictures of Gibraltar from the deck which I have no recollection of taking. Fun!)

Also, since Morocco, I’ve visited London, the Canary Islands and have been adventuring with Zanne, Mama, and Clem. Leaving tomorrow for Portugal with two of my oldest friends from California, and have Belgium and Paris planned for April… I feel overwhelmingly lucky to have had so many of the most incredible people in my life here visiting. Have taken an intimidating amount of photographs.. after March I’ll have time to process these and hopefully post them here.

au revoir


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