Published: March 5th 2008February 28th 2008
We both actually managed to get up at six thirty and surprisingly our first argument wasn't until much later on. We caught a petit taxi to the station and the driver tried the usual tricks of 10dh each for baggage even though the journey only cost 10dh itself. Due to the early morning I wasn't feeling up to my usual heated argument, so I told him he could take 14dh for everything or nothing at all. Maybe he sensed that to mess with me first thing in the morning was a dangerous thing, but he accepted with little protest. With the taxi antics dealt with, we went inside for a breakfast of pastry and juice.
The bus journey was longer than I had believed it would be, so we didn't arrive in Chefchaouen until nearly one. We got off the bus and our first thoughts were of gladness for the glorious sunshine. Pretty quickly we realised that Chefchaouen is built on a hill and that the only way to the medina was up. Once we reached the gate to the medina we were accosted by a pretty unpleasant guy who was asking about our accommodation. We told him we had
booked Hotel Mauritania and instead of leaving us alone he insisted on showing us to the hotel. In our experience when people do this they are either trying to get commission off the hotel, money off you for being a guide or attempting to sell you something. We told him we would be ok, but he kept on walking in front of us leading the way. As we were walking down one street a Moroccan girl told Rob that the guy leading us was a dangerous man. Once we got to the hotel we quickly dived into our rooms with avoiding the worst of a typical "you come to my shop" spiel. The room was small but pretty and the room was nice enough. As we were leaving to explore, I jokingly suggested that we find out if Anthony was staying there as well.
We managed to catch Chefchaouen just when Lonely Planet recommends you to do so; when the sun is shining and on market day. It is a small medina with blue paint on the buildings which seems to glow when the sun is out. We enjoyed just walking around the streets and peering into peoples houses,
yards and alleyways at the different shades of blue.
We bought some flatbread and made up some sandwiches with left over picnic stuff. We ate our food whilst sitting overlooking a river where a structure had been built to aid washing. Whilst we sat there, three different women did washing and some people had laid out their carpets in the river and were beating it to clean it.
Just across from where we ate lunch there was a ruined mosque that stood looking down on Chefchaouen. We climbed up towards it at stumbled across some interesting characters on the way. Chefchaouen is quite a centre for the cultivation of kif and well let’s just say that it isn't exactly hidden. Before we had even checked into the hotel we had been offered it three times and even people we stumbled across on our walk offered us it as they sat and rolled in plain view of everyone. The hill top where the mosque was had quite a few people there already. Luckily we managed to get up the minaret on our own and get a few pictures.
Once we were back in the town centre we decided
to head back in the direction of the bus station. As we passed through the main square I spotted a familiar face; Anthony whom we had previously met in Erfoud, Rissani and Fes. Well after sitting and chatting for a while the Kasbah reopened for the afternoon so we all dutifully paid our 10dh and went in. Personally I think its beauty is from the outside of it looking past it to the mountains and inside it was distinctly average. There had been a feeble attempt at converting part of it into a museum, but the real interest lay in climbing the tower and looking out.
We all walked down to the Bus station to figure out our onward journeys. It is always the most irritating part of traveling, having to keep one eye on your Next step and collecting travel information for the next destination before you're finished with the current one. It wasn't too bad in Eastern Europe but the transport links here aren't as developed and often planning is required.
Sunset call to prayer and Rob decided that it was time for cake, so off we trotted to a patisserie for some difficult decision making.
We got juices and some colorful sponge cakes whilst Anthony got some goopy green drink (avocado) which he ensured was nice. Once we finished there was talk of heading straight for tea but once we were past that craziness we decided on a drink back at the hotel instead. Malibu and Coke still feels like a Bit of a luxury when we have been neglecting our alcohol intake for so long. (Only joking!)
One internet stop later and we had picked out our eatery for the evening. It feels like a bit of a routine by now, Anthony arrives in a place before us, he then recommends a place he has already eaten at and we go there. We each ordered copious amounts of food By Moroccan standards although in reality this was just having soup and a salad wit our tagine rather than just one or the other. We spent a long time sitting in the restaurant with a beautiful pregnant cat keeping my knees warm. We only realised how late it was when the last group of people tried to pay and the staff couldn't find anyone around to get change off.
We are just about
to put the light off now, but there is a strong smell of kif in the air and lots of music being played just outside my window. Night night. Stob.
There are more photos below