A leisurely start today before we headed to Fes bus station for the 4 hour journey to Chefchaouen. There had been some debate over whether we were going to be travelling by bus (when I hear this term I think the number 58 to Pontprennau) or coach (think National Express or Megabus). Our tour guide, Youssef, was adamant it was a bus… I am happy to report that it was, in fact, a coach! Masked up the entire way, I dozed intermittently and spent the rest of the journey gazing out of the window at the changing scenery as we made our way into the beautiful Rif Mountains.
We arrived in Chefchaouen at around 3pm, and what ensued was both entertaining and perturbing, (it certainly made me glad that we had a local guide who knew how to handle the Moroccan temperament) as there was a full blown, handbags at dawn and threats to life skirmish between local legal taxi drivers and local illegal taxi drivers over who would take us to our hotel. Thankfully no lives were lost and no vehicles rammed, and we arrived at our most fabulous hotel in one piece. Nestled on the hillside, this idyllic retreat boasted lovely views, multiple terraces, little nooks and snugs to relax and well equipped bedrooms. We had an hour to settle in and freshen up before heading out on a walking tour of the city.
Chefchaouen is known as ‘the blue city’ and is famous for its blue-washed walls, paths, doors, steps… well, pretty much anything they could paint blue, they have. We wandered through the pretty streets and into the central square, before heading off up a pretty steep hill to a white mosque perched above the city. There we sat and watched the sun set over the hills and listened to the multiple calls to prayer echoing over the city. Youssef went into the mosque to pray and to eat a little to break his fast. It felt really special to be a part of that.
We headed back into the city for dinner in a traditional restaurant – salads and bread, harira soup, tagine, all washed down with mint tea… a bit of a theme emerging with the food!! Back to hotel and another night where I was out like a light.
The next day (Saturday) was a free day in Chefchaouen. After an excellent breakfast, myself and 3 others from the group headed into the city for a wander through the medina, stopping to look at the various wares on sale – clothes, jewellery, spices, dyes, woodwork, pottery and glass, natural soaps… it was great fun. We also visited the Kasbah and climbed the Portuguese tower for more fantastic views over the city. After lunch the ladies of the group had henna tattoos … so pretty!
Back at the hotel we relaxed on the terrace for a couple of hours in the fading afternoon sun, before dinner in the hotel restaurant and a slightly later, but no less exhausted, bedtime.