Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Our next hotel reservation was in the city of Fes, a four and a half hour trip from Tetouan. We would break it up by first stopping at Chefchaouen, a city stuffed onto the side of a mountain in the Rif. It is famous for its blue buildings, and blue they are, all shades of it, and we had the bluest sky to match.

We hired a private driver for the day – he would take us to Chefchaouen and wait for us while we explored the blue city before heading on to Fes. The drive to Chefchaouen was scenic, but the mountain roads were crazy and we were fortunate to have a driver who seemed sensible when it came to safety. (That had not been the case on the way to Tetouan.) The roads through the mountains are scarce – the road was packed with cars, buses, and slow moving trucks. We all played leapfrog to pass each other. I noted the places where vehicles had gone off cliffs, the useless guardrails mangled and the ground crumbled where people had no doubt met their deaths. Ours was a good driver, though, and I was mostly anxiety free and able to enjoy the views. I took some video of the trip - you can see the roads were rather bumpy.

The trip was about an hour and a half, but we hadn’t been in the city for a half minute before a guy stopped our car and got in, offering us a tour and a restaurant. He would not take no for an answer until we were about halfway up the hill and I had been a bit mean. I really am sick of these guys. We don’t want tours. We want to wander around and look at things and everything we want to know we have either already read about or can look up on our phones. Some tourists think Moroccans are so nice because these are the only people they meet, and they are suckered into these kinds of things, not understanding these “guides” (“I am not a guide, I want no money, I am just a student…” Oh yeah, old man, I believe you are a “student.”) are only nice to them because they are tourists with money. There is no polite way to dismiss them because they are relentless. Very frustrating.

Anyway, our driver took us to Bab Souk, an entrance to the old city, and after many confirmations in Arabic and French about our meeting time, we set off to explore the city. We would only be in Chefchaouen for three hours, enough time to experience it and eat some lunch before continuing on to Fes. Although it was pretty expensive to hire a driver for the day, it was well worth it.

This was another town that Jewish and Muslim refugees settled to escape Christian persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. The blue comes from the Jewish immigrants who painted the town that color, a tradition to mirror the sky and remind them of God.

We didn’t have too much time here, but it was enough, and a unique experience it was, as there isn't much in the world like it.


Always Globalization

Chris also participating in the blue theme

traditional Bedouin hats

You can make this hill, Chris!

This is the style of rug I wanted to bring home. I should have just gotten it here.

It'd be fun to play in this town as a child! So many places to hide.

M.C. Esher's house?

Hanging laundry everywhere makes Morocco that much more colorful.

a laundry facility...made me feel bad for complaining about our old washer

And finally, a video:

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