Another great weekend excursion. This past weekend we went to Tangier and Chefchaouen, North of Rabat.
We left Saturday morning, and traveled a few hours to reach Chefchaouen, which is in a very mountainous area. The roads leading to it are twisty and bumpy, but the view when you arrive is amazing. The city sits on the side of a mountain, and from the roads leading to it you can see the entire town. I don’t want to call it a city because it didn’t seem big enough, but it is packed pretty densely, and it’s a tourist attraction, so maybe it is. You also realize how small it is when you can walk from one overlook on the edge of town to another on a different side in about half an hour.
Chefchaouen is known for its powder blue houses and bright colors. It was described to us as a living post card, which I think is true. The houses are painted blue and white because the residents say it keeps the houses cooler, mosquitoes prefer darker colors, and it looks pretty. I can’t disagree with any of those things.
The center of town is like a souk: it’s easiest to get through it by foot (although we did see a donkey and motorcycle) and there are countless shops bordering the narrow paths. At night it’s all lit up and you can hear the music played in the center (accompanied by the barking of the wild/guard dogs) all the way at the edge of town. The stars are also really pretty there, but you have to look away from the city because the city lights hide them right above.
Sorry about the blurriness. Hope you can still get a sense of the lights!
Sunday we went to Tangier for a few hours. We got to go to the beach first and swim in the blue and green water. It was really nice water, and the waves were big enough to be fun as well. Tangier is in the Strait of Gibraltar, but not the Mediterranean, so that bucket list item will have to wait.
After the beach we had lunch then a tour of the city. We got guided thought the Old Medina, and stop at an outlook from where we could see Spain, but I think in general the tour was lost on us. The heat was getting to us, and a few kids weren’t feeling so well. It was a relief to get back the bus and sleep a little.
Before heading back to Rabat we made a quick stop at Grottes d’Hercules (Hercules’ Cave). It’s name comes from the story that Hercules stayed here a night before embarking on one of his 12 impossible tasks. There are two entrances: one from land, and the other to the sea. The entrance to the sea looks like the outline of an inverse Africa, and there’s a cliff where local boys jump or dive off to prove their bravery. Right below it, just inside the entrance of the cave, is a deep spot where they can land safely, but around it is rocky.
I definitely preferred Chefchaouen to Tangier, but I had fun in both places. Morocco has such varied terrain and sights just a few hours away from each other.
In other news: Ramadan starts today! I will not be fasting, but I can’t eat or drink in public out of respect for people who are.