June 12, 2017

Chefchaouen

Life in most of Morocco is still firmly moulded in tradition and the past. More so in Chefchaouen.


Those who dwell here live in stone houses built along the crooked hillside of the Rif Mountains inland from Tangier. Men are elegant in their leather shoes and djellabas (traditional clothing of hooded robes) and the Muslim women their faces beautifully framed with their hijabs (veil). As with any other Muslim country, the powerful and beautifully melodic adhan (Islamic call to prayer) rings out from the nearby mosque five times a day – from pre dawn up to evening.


The tangy fresh goat cheese wrapped in palm leaves native to the area is sold in the morning on the streets and was one of our favorites at breakfasts. We sit in our rooftop terrace cozy in our sweaters and scarves with a glass of hot mint tea cradled to warm our hands.  We watch as this little blue town on the hill stir to life.



The town province noted for its blue and white buildings is that one place that had us drawn to Morocco in the first place and it did not disappoint.



The place is impossibly photogenic and we were smittenPicture this. Blue doors against blue walls against blue skies in varying shades from pale to vibrant all in one pretty little maze of - you guessed it - blue.



There's not that many tourists either compared to the other cities we’ve visited.

It's so lovely out there with so few people and the weather a little cool. We'd walk the hilly streets up and down although we have to keep stopping to catch our breath and poke our noses in the little alleys. We took so many photos and savored some in my minds eye when my photos couldn’t give the place justice.



I tried to blend in too I just had a 350 camel offer to marry a Berber. Base offer was a 100. Not bad. True story.

Most of our photos are either empty alleys or with the locals purposeful in their stride and tentatively wandering in our frame. We smile and greet them good morning and we get a shy smile and a nod back. Or a greeting of As-salamu alaykum. Because of its proximity to Spain, a lot of locals speak Spanish and we do get the occasional “hola!”





Our first week in Morocco was quite frantic moving to and from another city every 2-3 days. But in ‘Chaouen, we've adapted to the laid back attitude and had just the faintest outline of itineraries. We keep track of time by the grumbling in our bellies and the heaviness of our lids.





We stayed 4 days but mainly did nothing. We didn't seek out any must see spot or must do activity but just lazed around and wandered aimlessly. It was one of the most rewarding part of this almost 3 week long trip. 





‘Chaouen is one of the best towns to simply wander around without a plan and be rewarded with discovering charming corners and quiet plazas away from the crowd.


We did climb up the Spanish fortress in the square one afternoon. It was a gloomy fall day but at sunset, the sun broke thru blanketing the town with its soft golden light. I didn’t think this tiny hillside town oozing with charm could get any more magical.




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