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Published: October 11th 2014
I’ve got three words to describe Morocco: I’m coming back. I had absolutely no plan coming into Casablanca, and it definitely paid off this time. The first day I sent walking around Casablanca with friends from the ship. We walked to the mosque (second largest in the world. It can hold up to 250,000 people at a time!), wandered around the medina, and were sure to try some Moroccan food (I had tajinefor lunch. It’s basically a meat stewJ). Later that night my friend Francesca came up to me at dinner and asked if I wanted to go out with some Moroccan students she had met during her field lab at a university. I didn’t even hesitate; I finished stuffing my face with bland ship food and headed straight to my room to grab my things before leaving for the evening.
We met them (4 guys) at the mosque around 7 pm and hit it off from the start. Their English was superb! Azzeddine just recently finished up a year abroad in Wyoming studying photography. Another guy had just come back from three weeks in the States. The guys were eager to hear our impressions of
Morocco, and were curious to know what we had been told about the country before arriving. They say that foreigners only hear about the bad things in the country, and never allow themselves to experience all the good Morocco has to offer. We talked about everything and anything while we wandered around the city. Later we went to a local restaurant where we ate a dish (don’t remember the name of course) consisting of shrimp and eggs. IT MADE MY MOUTH AND STOMACH SO HAPPY! Eventually we ended up at a shisha bar to end the evening. Azzeddine and I got to talking about places to go in Morocco. He raved about this place called Chefchoen, which is a mountain town in the north of the country. I had heard about it previously from the inter-port Moroccan student, but didn’t consider going there initially. Without much convincing on his end, Azzeddine persuaded Francesca and I to go to Chefchouen with him the following morning, instead of going to Marrakesh. We were ecstatic walking back to the ship…we were going to explore Morocco with a local!
The following morning we caught a bus to Chefchaoen at 10 am.
Something I learned rather quickly was that Moroccans are very optimistic, at least in terms of getting places quickly. For example, Azzeddine insisted that the bus ride was only 4 hours or so, but it took us almost 7! Nonetheless, we finally made it to Chefchaoen around 4:30 pm, after traveling on a packed non air-conditioned bus (a fist fight even broke out on the way because a passenger lost his ticket and was arguing with the ticket guy. The bus driver pulled over on the side of the highway to let these guys duke it out outside. A bunch of guys got off as well to try and break it up). We caught a taxi up to the hostel, which was basically on the side of a mountain (I’ll let the pictures do the talking), and showered before heading back down into the town.
Chefchouen is known for being a ‘blue city.’ In other words, most of the buildings in the medina are painted blue, which makes for a beautiful atmosphere. We spent two days eating delicious Moroccan food, drinking mint tea, and spending time with friendly locals. I couldn’t have asked for a better time
in Morocco, and I’m already planning my next trip here (I could talk about it for days, but I have to leave this internet café to go catch the boat!)
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