We awoke (Spanish) early after our final night in Spain. We packed the final few things into our bags and then made our way to the port via a sandwich shop. We were able to pick up our pre-booked tickets for the 9am ferry to Morocco without any issues so that left us with about an hour to wait until we could board the ferry.
We arrived into the old port of Tangiers about an hour after we departed Tarifa. The journey was calm and, surprisingly, the ferry appeared to be mostly full of day trippers. We were planning to take a grand taxi from Tangiers to Chefchaouen, our first destination in Morocco, and had read that organising one could be quite a full on experience so had spent time researching prices, things to confirm and so on before boarding the ferry.
We disembarked ready for a battle with evil taxi drivers who were intending to rip us off and made our way to an ATM. One taxi driver followed us to an ATM but the masses we were expecting didn't materialise. We withdrew our cash and then asked the taxi driver how much for the trip and he
responded with the price we'd read on the internet (600 dirham) and that it would be for the whole taxi with no stops at shops. Surprised by how painless it was (and slightly suspicious) we agreed and headed over to the taxi.
We set off for the police station (drivers have to register with the traffic police if they're travelling more than 50km) and waited in the car while the driver went in to complete the paperwork. He returned not long after with a policeman and we set off again wondering whether this might be the moment they tried to scam us. About 5 minutes later we let the policeman out at a checkpoint and continued on our way...
We made one stop during the 2 hour journey at a dam so that we could take some photos. The scenery along the way was absolutely spectacular; the sky was incredibly blue and clear, the mountains were beautiful and the countryside was surprisingly green.
Not long after we arrived in Chefchaouen we hit a traffic jam which was apparently caused by the tourists / public holiday traffic as it was May Day. We hopped out of the taxi
about 1km from our hotel as police were directing traffic away from our hotel and to drive closer to it would have been a nightmare. We paid the driver (no "oh but the price is now 700 dirhams" or anything), said good bye and set out for our hotel.
Chefchaouen, which was founded in 1471, is situated at the base of the Rif mountains. It was taken by the Spanish in 1920 and was only returned to them in 1956. As a result the main foreign language is Spanish. Chefchaouen has become popular with tourists as many of the buildings are white washed (blue washed?) blue which makes it incredibly picturesque. It's also known for being a calmer version of some of the larger Moroccan cities such as Fes and Marrakesh. The Chefchaouen region (including the city) is also famous for producing marijuana.
After we arrived at our hotel we had our first glass of Moroccan mint tea on the rooftop of our hotel whilst admiring the scenery. We then spent some time chatting to some Australians who were doing a very similar trip to us but in reverse. After we finished chatting we headed out for lunch.
For lunch we ordered a chicken tajine and a chicken pastella to share. The food was nice however the menu didn't have prices and so we were both a little shocked when the bill arrived (did the waiter rip us off? possibly..). After lunch we went for a walk through the blue streets which were really beautiful and fun to explore. There were quite a lot of cats and kittens running around which I was initially excited about...until I realised most spent their time inside rubbish bins scavenging for scraps. After wandering around for a while we then returned to the rooftop to read our books for the rest of the afternoon.
That night for dinner we went to a restaurant off the main square. We ordered a chicken tajine and some chicken couscous. The food wasn't as nice as at lunch but was about a third of the price. After dinner we returned to the hotel to read some more.
The following morning after breakfast we went for a walk through the medina. The medina is quite compact but still easy enough to lose your bearings as the streets are definitely not laid out in a
grid! We walked around until it was lunch time when we stopped for another tajine and couscous before heading back to the hotel to read our books on the rooftop once more.
That night for dinner we ventured back into the medina again to visit a restaurant we'd found on Trip Advisor. Scott ordered a goat tajine and I ordered a pastella. This time the food was almost as delicious as the first restaurant but as cheap as the second. Given all menus appeared to be basically the same we decided we'd likely return to this restaurant again (though not to have the ox penis tajine...).
The next day was pretty much a repeat of the previous one, with a strolled through the medina after breakfast and then an afternoon spent reading books. Before dinner we went for a walk up to the Spanish mosque which is perched on the side of the hill beside the town. The view was great although unfortunately it was a little hazy. For dinner we returned to the same restaurant as the previous night where we had another enjoyable meal of lentils, chicken tajine and a kebab tajine.
The following day
we decided we'd follow the trail to the Spanish mosque a little further. We set off mid morning and continue walking up the hill until it flattened out a bit. We then wandered past farms and farmhouses as we continued on the trail. After about 2 hours we reached the point where the trail disappeared so we turned around and headed back down to the town. The walk was quite enjoyable and scenic and wasn't too strenuous after we'd climbed the initial hill. The sky was a little clearer so we stopped at the Spanish mosque on the way down the hill to take some more photos of the view over Chefchaouen.
After the walk we returned to the hotel to read our books on the roof top. For dinner we went back to the same restaurant again. We ordered chicken briouats (triangular packages), chickpeas and a chicken and plum tajine. After dinner we headed back to the hotel to pack our bags ready to depart the following morning.
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