Hello from Chefchaouen the magical blue city in Northern Africa – 9 woman on tour all with iPhones and at least half of us also with cameras, it’s fair to say there have been a few group photo shoots. We are the bestest bunch of gals ever! We turn up on time, we have shared photos and stories and are just in heaven !
I have been known to ‘direct’ my travel buddies of other tours into having a photo taken just here…….. and the ancient Kasbah in Chefchaouen is no different, let’s all climb up those stairs, and get Hassan to take our photo. Of course we rock it ! These gals are so gorgeous, I think we all bring something to the group …… More Rosé !
Sally said today there is never too much Rosé and of course it is a Muslim country so we have to ‘sneak the wine (cases) off the bus and into the Riads ! Anyway back to the story.
We have kind of stuck together as we are travelling big distances and when we get into the ancient towns and wander, Hassan has us all time managed …… if only our partners and husbands could do this? Kidding ! Some want to stop and shop and I do too, but right now we are embracing the culture and learning about the towns and not getting lost.
Our morning s go something like this . We have breakfast and make sure no bag gets left behind and hit the road in our Mercedes Benz….. Abdul drives us out of the city of Rabat today heading north and a little inland. Our girl gang had already been told that it was a long and winding road, so we settled back with iPods and podcasts or some of just chatted – yep I was a chatter gal with San Fran Lisa, as we didn’t want to be on the sicky vom vom train, or bus in this case, so we chose no devices or reading. The bus is wifi so we can all do our thing and the seats are so comfortable. Would be the perfect time to blog if the bus wasn’t moving !
We crossed the middle Atlas Mountains taking photos out the windows of the bus along the way. Women picking the last of the seasons olives from the groves, both on the side of steep hills and down by the river. Men sitting at coffee shops drinking and smoking, butchers with their meat hung waiting for the locals to either walk, hitch hike or catch the local bus into town for their produce.
The farmers we passed have these cute little carts, mostly pulled along by donkeys. I’m determined to sweet talk Abdul and Hassan into letting us stop the bus to get a couple of photos. Stay tuned……
The farms are quaint and the mountains are high, so there is always something to see. There are fences created by prickly pair bushes, sheep and goats roaming with their shepherds, who seem to just sit or lay in the sun and watch their flocks and herds graze.
The locals are currently wearing winter coats that have these pointy hoods……
They look a bit like gnomes with the long hooded coats have these slide on leather slippers. The coats are called a Djellabar and Hassan tells us that they are a traditional Berber style coat that keeps them warm and dry from the elements of the weather including the rain. The locals aren’t too keen on having a camera shoved in their face (not by me) but clearly others over the years.
They look a bit like the surfer style towel coat that some people wear back home in Oz, my surfer mates have a brand called the Amigo towel and it’s perfect for wind chill on the beach, but these are thick woven cotton.
We stop for coffee and toilet breaks where you can buy the most amazing Kofftas and Tangienes to eat …… oh the smell it’s divine. Remember the winding road Lynda- just eat your crisps and Coke Zero!
The closer we get the Chefchauen, the more winding the road gets. The local police set up areas to check licences and registration, plus all transport vehicles are fitted with a device similar to a CD player, like we all used to own that records your speeds, how far you have travelled and it is illegal to not have one recording.
We haven’t been stopped however we have been through a fair few check points.
The road is not all freeway although as we fly along the country roads reminds us all of winding through some European towns like Positano or Ravello in Italy, or travelling up to Santorini in Greece, you need to pay attention and can get caught behind donkey carts, other slower buses etc. Abdul our driver is awesome patient and gets us there on time.
As we are almost at Chefchaouen, we stop the bus for a few photos of this almost European town that has become quite the tourist destination, and since 1972 the town has had to be painted blue in some shade. The real estate is expensive and the old town with its Medina, Kasbahs, Riads it is wonderful to be see.
A medina is a city found in a number of North African cities it is typically walled, with many narrow and maze-like lanes and streets. Don’t forget the bread crumbs!
Morocco has many amazing historical Kasbahs that are not only beautiful in appearance, they have ancient history and character, in days gone by, these parts of the old towns were fortified castles that protected the village from enemies, they are world heritage sites and attract travelers and tourists from all over the world. And the Kasbah here in Chefchauen is stunning.
We get dropped off and head up into the old part of the town. Our heavy luggage is taken out of our big van and put into small vans that can fit in some lanes and carted manually to our Riads.
Hassan becomes the smaller bag carrier as we had tog eat all the bags off the bus and sprints to our secret Riad, and we head off to lunch at a traditional restaurant where we enjoy Harira soup and some yummy traditional Moroccan food. Lisa and I share so do Sim and Lisa so we don’t get FOMO! Then we are off the Kasbah!
It so amazing laneways that lead to streets, that lead to more nooks and crannies all in varying shades of blue, and we cant stop smiling. Hassan takes us through the old town to the Kasbah fortification. We climb up the tower and we all feel it’s a little Mediterranean with views to die for.
We sample cookies and wander to the natural water spring up the mountain that feeds through the town supplying their water. Along the way we meet an lady selling her wares, I’m pretty sure Hassan pays her to dress me up in traditional betrothed clothes. No one would get married if they wore these now or maybe they would because they hang in your face…. luckily Emma also takes one for our team and joins me. If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at ?
As the sun sets over Chefchauen, we arrive at our secret Riad for the night and OMG we are all blown away. The rooms are all different as these Riads are small boutique hotels were once family homes. There are trinkets and treasures and mint tea and cookies, followed by Rosé and supper…….. insert big sigh. Life is pretty damn good!
Anyway old mate outside has just started the call to prayer …….. did you know it’s actually live and not recorded ?
Must be wine time x