notes from chefchaouen, morocco

From my travel journal: “We arrived by air, flying into Tangier across the Strait of Gibraltar. We immediately took a grand taxi from the airport to Chefchaouen–probably overpaying in the process, but we avoided having to transfer taxis in Tetouan this way. We drove about two hours through the Rif mountains, the roads extremely windy. Mules dotted the rugged countryside, along with sheep.”hand door knocker“The medina here is inaccessible to cars, so the cab driver dropped us at the edge of the medina, having driven down an extremely steep dirt road to do so.”chefchaouen roof deck
“Someone from our riad met us at this point, guiding us into the medina. As soon as we passed through an archway, the Blue City materialized. All of the buildings here are awash in periwinkle blue. The architecture has Spanish influences like barrel tile roofs, but the city is unmistakably Moorish.”chefchaouen stairs
“We’ve been here a few hours and have heard (and seen) roosters, drank several mint teas (hot!), and had tagine. We’re waiting to see the sunset over the mountain range–then we’re giving into jet┬álag.”petit dejeuner
“This morning we ate petit dejeuner on the terrace of our riad, then set out for a hike up to the old Spanish mosque. Though the mosque is no longer in use, the path to it was well-worn, used by Berbers crossing to the city. We saw a goat herder in the mountains too.”chefchaouen view
“It was a fairly steep climb, and though it was only 10 a.m., quite hot in the sun. But the views at the top were spectacular–the whole city is on view, cradled between mountains. The morning light was very pretty, bathing the blue city in a gentle glow.”goats in the medina
“On our walk back this morning, we saw a woman herding goats through the medina. We stood to the side, but the goats were apprehensive of us. We snapped a few photos and the woman started shouting. She only spoke arabic, but seemed upset we took her photo–which we weren’t trying to do. It was impossible to explain it was just the goats. It was embarrassing –not the first of our accidental slights against locals– and as much as we try not to be tourists, we are.”

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