Chefchaouen, aka Chaouen, aka the blue city. The most photographed medina of Morocco. A quiet place where people come to take a break from the otherwise frantic Moroccan cities.
And indeed, walking the medina feels like walking through a painting: there’s light blue, dark blue, violet blue and all shades in between! Every corner reveals an even more picturesque scene than the previous one and every house seems worth photographing! The narrow streets are lined with small shops selling rugs, leather goods and what seems like an awful amount of sweets!
It’s February, winter in Morocco, so there aren’t that many travellers around, but somehow, despite its undeniable beauty, the place doesn’t really grab me. It’s almost too perfect and I am struggling to find its soul.
Looking for some scenes of everyday life, I walk towards the Ras El Maa, the place where local women gather to do their laundry. My stroll is interrupted only by a herd of passing sheep. It’s been raining quite a lot lately and the water is gushing down the mountain. A van is blasting out loud music, a group of young girls is taking endless pictures of the flowing water and I, I sit down and enjoy the magic and authenticity of it all! This is what I came to see!
But there are more things to do in Chefchaouen. After a 30 minutes hike, up in the hills, I arrive at the Spanish mosque. Unfortunately the place is closed. There’s just a bunch of local guys hanging around, checking out the curious tourists who make their way up. I watch local families doing laundry and enjoy the breath-taking views over Chefchaouen. That alone makes it worthwhile coming up here!
I had a nice few days at Chefchaouen and before leaving for Tetouan, I have a last drink on the Plaza Uta-El-Hammam, a long square filled with cafés and restaurants and the beating heart of the medina. It’s an excellent place for people-watching! The Kasbah provides a mysterious backdrop and the minaret of the Grand Mosque is towering above it all. Not a bad place to be, not a bad place at all!
Have you been to the blue city of Morocco? What were your impressions?