Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Chefchaouen Album

Pam visited on her spring break some weeks ago, and I took advantage of her presence to play the tourist a bit. We spent two days in Casablanca, stopping into Rick's Bar at the Hyatt and contemplating the Hassan II mosque jutting out into the Atlantic, though the only real story of that trip involves a midnight stop at the central police station to look up my entry visa number so that I would be allowed into the hotel. The truly impressive trip of the week was instead a four-hour trek into the Rif mountains, where we quite literally lost ourselves in the postcard-perfect medina of Chefchaouen.

At 8am on a Wednesday, Pam and I boarded a CTM bus heading for Tetouan. After a few curious stares from our fellow passengers, two stops in small-town markets, and a conversation with an over-friendly cigarette vendor who complimented my English, we debarked at the Chefchaouen depot.

In my typical fashion, we travelled without a map, but nonetheless succeeded in winding our way to the old city, whose distinctive color scheme we wished to see. The city, built into the side of a mountain, is painted entirely white, with its doors and alleyways dyed in a dizzying array of blues. Narrow paths frequently turn into staircases and even wider streets are often painted teal or or robin's egg shades.

We marveled. We pointed and took pictures. We bought blue scarves to match our surroundings and drank tea in a quiet square. From the old fortress tower, we looked down over the octagonal minaret and the mazelike town and up to the mountain peak sheltering this curious place. After a day of climbing and descending through the tangle of blue alleys, we bought the last two tickets on the evening bus to Fes - and enjoyed two hours stranded on the side of the road with engine trouble before stumbling happily into bed after our late return and long day.


Sarah said...

well, they picked a nice color to do it with I suppose...but that's still bizarre!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... I like all the blue. It's very calming.


Walter said...
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