Hello from Chefchaouen the magical blue city in Northern Africa –
Our little group of ladies are blending well. It can take a few days on a small group tour to find your groove, but lucky for us Alyssa has a lot of repeat clients and has also been chatting with the group.
In fact there was a what’s app group set up a couple of weeks ahead of the trip and the banter started. We were encouraged to introduce ourselves and the chat just went from there. You feel like you know a little before you start.
After 2 nights in Casablanca and a big day visiting downtown Casa and Rabat we crossed the middle Atlas Mountains, mostly in the dark as we wound our way up to Chefchaouen.
Along the way we stopped for coffee and pastries which were delicious and then we also stopped at a road side butcher for dinner. They cut your meat free range and BBQ it in front of you over hot coals. There is all types of cuts of meat and also mince to make the incredible shish Kebabs.
It’s fair to say 13 women turning up to a BBQ cafe that is almost equivalent to a gas station back home, was hilarious.
The owner was kicking the local men outside to set up tables and chairs for us and then madly cleaned the the tables, with a dirty cloth and offering us Moroccan vegetable soup with bread to start. Hand sanitiser stat!
We had a few of our group, who weren’t sure about the meat being safe, I kept assuring them that it would be sensational and it was. Juicy loin chops and shish kebabs with fresh bread, honestly it’s a meal you never forget and I feel blessed to have experienced it a second time.
Our little tour, has arrived into Morocco at the end of Ramadan, where the locals fast from sun up to sun down, as part of their religious calendar, the fasting also includes water. I can’t imagine doing this, however what it does mean is that shops open later in the morning and close early in the afternoon, as they are all exhausted and just can’t function in the long warm days so they only open for a few hours. Daylight savings is also cancelled during Ramadan.
Moroccans are the most kind and gentle people, but in the 2 days we were in Casablanca we saw a few car accidents and 3 fights, we were told all because of Ramadan fasting….. it makes them a bit loopy, I know I would be the same.
As I said, we arrived at the end of Ramadan and the locals everywhere we have been, are ready to party with Eid Mubarak. It’s basically a 3-4 day festival of family and food to celebrate and feels like 4 days of New Year’s Eve !
The families buy the most incredible treats at the end of the day to feast on after the sun has set, and are often out late eating, buy new outfits and get their hair cut to celebrate, so when our bus arrived into Chefchaoune at 11:00pm at night to streets overflowing with locals.
I was slightly worried because there were so many people, yet they were all just out enjoying “breaking their fast” of the day.
The next morning, it was so quiet, we actually felt like we were the only people in the medina in the blue city.
Our group were staying just outside the main square overlooking the incredible Kasbah. The Vanci Hotel has an amazing roof top terrace and open area for breakfast.
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 also have our local guide Idriss travelling with us for the 13 days. He is actually from Chefchaouen and due to restaurants and cafes being closed for the 4 day festival, we actually ate twice at his wife’s beautiful restaurant that overlooks the city, it was so lovely and we feel very blessed.
They even treated us to a cookie making class…… well actually we just watched and they made the cookies, which were then packed up for us all as treats.
Chefchaouen is the most amazing mountain town. Every blue you can imagine, is painted on floors, doors, windows, shops and homes and of course white, and to see it all so peaceful and quiet for most of our few days here, we feel blessed in some ways to have seen it like this and be able to take amazing photos of our little group.
We still managed to find postcards and stamps and send them home, have fresh orange juice freshly squeezed, as we walked through the buy some beautiful art, and enjoy the night time festivities.
I truly am in my element with 2 cameras, taking as many photos as I can. We are all loving our time together and friendships are developing. It’s a wonderful way to travel, safety in numbers, whether that’s going to the ATM, or finding a little cafe with just one other gal on tour, life truly is what you make of it.
I also absolutely adore the old water fountains and wells, and although we westerners wouldn’t drink from them, as Chefchaouen has a fresh water stream running through the town, if anywhere was safe to drink- it would be here.
Alyssa has given us enough down time we can all go to our own rooms and chill or suggest extra activities via the what app group. I feel lucky to have a couple of young gals my daughters age on tour and they are always keen to get out and walkabout so we have been keeping our steps up….. ahhhh its 9.00pm and its been another busy day so sweet dream world
Love Mrs Wong x