Africa

Morocco : The Blue City

Chef2.jpg

Chefchaouen is known as the blue city because as the name suggests, the walls, paths, doors and buildings are painted in beautiful shades of blue. Interestingly, there’s actually a practical reason for this because the blue keeps the town cool in the summer; it works as a natural form of air conditioning and scares away the mosquitoes too. The city is amazingly picturesque and its unique colour makes it an enchanting place to visit.

Chef7.jpg Chef6.jpg Chef5.jpg

Chefchaouen itself is quite small but it’s easy to get lost in the maze of pretty, houses and pathways. A lot of the buildings are actually shops selling traditional Moroccan fabrics, leather goods or jewellery so you can see brightly coloured cloths, woven baskets and pretty blankets decorating many of the alleyways too. Its a dreamy, magical destination and I loved it, especially with the abundance of dried figs, dates and pastries to be found on every corner… yum.

Chef4.jpg Chef3.jpg Chef1.jpg

Not only are the winding streets perfect for photography; they’re ideal for shopping too. The handmade items are all beautifully crafted and unbelievably affordable. Strangely, I would liken shopping in Morocco to shopping in IKEA; you end up buying things you never thought you’d need. Its common to enter IKEA looking for a cupboard and leave with a 2 ft toy snake, some jelly moulds and a washing basket in the shape of a frog. In a similar vein, I arrived in Morocco with the intention of buying jewellery and I left with a king-size bed quilt and a decorative leather camel (I also got some jewellery in case you were concerned). The greatest thing is that its acceptable, even encouraged, to haggle for the best price. I generally started at a quarter of the price I wanted to pay and worked my way up. Some negotiations were more successful than others but my biggest triumph was a silver ring for the equivalent of 8 Euros – so far it hasn’t turned my finger green so I’m very pleased!

I loved Morocco more than anywhere I’ve ever travelled. It was colourful, warm, vibrant and the availability of delicious tea was beyond my wildest dreams. I’d love to return in the future to see Marrakesh and the mountain regions too. Until then I’ll be staring wistfully at my photos, reliving my camel ride and desperately searching for a place to display my impractical but wonderful souvenirs…

P.s If you want to recreate the Moroccan tea yourself, try green tea, mint leaves and a teaspoon of honey. Delicious!

Untitled

Advertisements

Morocco: Camel riding and sea views

Morocco4.jpg

This weekend I visited Morocco for the first time. I have always wanted to travel there and it seems that dreams do come true! Living in Spain this year means that a journey to Morocco is only a boat trip away and I managed to discover the northern cities of Tangiers, Chefchaouen and Tatouan in just 3 days – amazing.

Morocco3.jpg

The first stop of the trip was a visit to Cap Spartel, the point at which the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean. There was a stunning viewpoint with a lighthouse and a cluster of market stalls selling traditional Moroccan items. We arrived at about 10am so the sun was bright and the air was cool and fresh. It was beautiful.

Morocco5.jpg

Next was a camel ride on the beach. This experience has been added to my list of life highlights, joining the likes of TukTuk riding in Lisbon, Latin dancing with US marines in Costa Rica and morning beach swims in Greece as my favourite travelling moments.

Morocco2.jpg

The camels were both incredibly unstable and predictably smelly but they were also surprisingly soft. I got to ride up and down the beach at a slow (and wobbly) pace, taking in the scenic views. It wasn’t all as glamorous as the picture looks – the way the camel stood up involved terrifying jerky movements whilst the dismount consisted of the camel suddenly dropping to his knees throwing me forward like a sack of unwanted potatoes. However, the whole thing was unforgettable and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Morocco1.jpg

The next part of the trip was Chefchaouen, aka the blue city. More on that in the next few days…Untitled