Chefchaouen! Why are you so Blue?
The sky and ocean are blue and so are You!
come and let’s explore the “Blue City”
be enlightened and swiftly
experience the magical meaning of BLUE!
By Anneklien Casica
The history tells that the little town fell under the watch of the Spanish protector, which was then painted green, the colour of Islam, but when Jewish immigrants arrived in the Thirties they washout the place and painted it blue, representing heaven, and it has been kept it’s colour ever since. ( But I have spoken to locals that the place was white then they painted the whole town blue). Whatever behind the origin of these place being painted in to washed out blue, it did add a quirky atmosphere and magically transform the whole town.
After a long bus ride from Fes, I arrived in Chefchaouen with a rumbling tummy just in time for lunch. I scanned the bus station for a taxi rank, I soon noticed a taxi just pulling off. I immediately jumped-in and noticed another passenger at the back, sharing taxi in Morocco is a local norm. A quick drive to my hotel in Dar El Rios, a very nice and cozy place matching the blue colour of the whole town from the outside building to the interiors. A quick checked-in and map at hand, I navigated myself towards the Medina in search for food. I found a quiet place called Sophia restaurant and they served delicious food, I later found out it’s on the trip advisor according to the couple next to my table. After lunch I started to wander around through the cloistered alleyways entering an alienated world of blue, with the stares of the locals and shop keepers. Stepping into dizzying wrap time zone planet of far far away like a scene in a fairytale movie.
Having been decided to spent a night initially in Chefchaouen and a night hotel booking. I ended up staying for another night. I fell in love instantly with this charming town. The slow pace of life and quietness of the place I just adore. Meandering around and finding those beautiful archways and doors adorned with stunningly intricate tiles, this place is so photogenic!
With my aching legs climbing up and down the stairs, didn’t bother me at all. Walking passed the shops and those colourful local products from scarfs, leather bags and woven blankets to carpets. I started scanning for a quirky souvenir I found a nice bangle with “Berber” design and an earing. ( After haggling for couple of minutes I walked away with a smug face and a bag of my souvenir accessories.)
After visiting so much shops, I decided to freely get lost around the Medina and it felt wonderful. Going through the alleyways and ended up to someone’s doorsteps, and finding astray cats everywhere. I ended up climbing towards the fortress and tower. With a great surprise overlooking the stunning views of the whole town. I gasp in an awe and took time to savour the picturesque town while sat at the big rock and taking hundredths of photos.
The following day, after a healthy breakfast by the terrace. I decided to walked around the back of the hotel, together with 2 other girls from the hotel following the river stream heading towards the source “ Ras el-Maa”. The sun was shining so bright, we continued to crossed the bridge and followed the trail with couple of steps along the way. We soon ended up on a hill with a magnificent view of the whole town. We didn’t waste anytime, we took the chance for photo shot. It’s not everyday you wake up and see this kind of view. The different hues of blue washed out the buildings by the cliff, the vivid colours are so stunning and I cant stopped clicking my camera.
If your desperate to find a good vantage point to see the whole town, that does not involved too much walking and hiking. Head towards the Aladdin Restaurant located in the main square. Try to sample good Moroccan food with a great view of the Kasbah and the mountain nearby?
Or why not go and visit a local bakery to sample local sweets and their bread. I love freshly baked bread and even better a free bread from a friendly local baker.
But not everything in this place is Blue! The main square or locally known Plaza Uta el-Hammam is adorned with rows of shops and restaurants offering handmade handicrafts products and local cuisines. You will instantly notice the red brick walls of the Kasbah Museum that dominated the square , behind the Kasbah is a very relax atmosphere of Jardin Alcazaba. And the domineering minaret of the Grande Mosque, was built in 15th century.
There’s a nearby waterfalls the Cascades d’Akchour and need trekking/hiking but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to go and visit due to time constraint, but maybe its a good excuse for a next visit to Chefchaouen. And there’s also nearby plantation of Marijuana too (locally known hashish) it’s not in season when I was there so there’s no point of going there.
Insiders Tip :
How to get there: If coming from Fes or Tangier there’s a bus company that runs a couple of times during the day. Book online or buy your ticket at the bus station, and there’s additional charge for luggage. ( I got away with my 30 litre backpack, I put it under my seat ) check out the site www.CTM.ma for bus times, this is the bus company I used but there’s alternative company called Supratours. Bus timing are not strict most of my journeys where delayed for 5-15 minutes and that’s throughout the country.
From the bus station it’s a steep hill climbed to the Medina so i suggest take a taxi to your accommodation. You can share a taxi with the locals and pay the local fare 5 MAD, or 15-20 MAD if you hire the taxi on your own.
If your looking for a restaurant with good service, great view and delicious Moroccan food go and climb up to Aladdin Restaurant. The hidden entrance is located on the right side of the building, you need to walk around the shops and you will see the sign.
Even though the shop keepers are not intense in taunting you to get in to their shops. Don’t forget to haggle what ever you buy that’s expected and part of the Moroccan culture as I have been told so.
Have you been to Chefchaouen? I would love to hear your experience in this magical town. Please leave you comments below.
Do check out my other Morrocan Adventure link below: