Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chafchaouen - Chaouen, Morocco

Chafcaouen or Chaouen is probably on my list of top 5 places I have ever visited.  With the color of blue blanketing this city, you get this feeling you are in a different world all together.  Situated about 2 hours inland from Tangier (the northern coast of Morocco), Chaouen is a place of tranquility and peace.   Most of the people I saw reminded me of Ferdinand The Bull (1938 Disney film and story book).  Along the two hour drive to Chaouen, I saw a handful of people just sitting by a tree, or a bush, in the middle of no where, enjoying their scenery and "smelling the flowers", just like Ferdinand.  Men wore dishdashas or hooded thobes, while the woman wore Al karam robes and scarfs.  There were a few men and woman dressed in western style clothes, especially the younger generation, showing off their high end jeans and Gucci sunglasses.
Local men enjoying their Saturday reading the paper, and talking.
The minute we arrived at our hotel, we were offered drugs.  What customer service!  Of course we kindly said no, but this man wasn't giving up.  He offered us drugs two more times during the time we stayed there, as well as tours around the city.  We found on other travel blogs, that we should avoid these kind of "tours".  They end up taking you on a tour, and then demand you pay them a sum of money. Then you pay, and then they demand more.  I explain this because, even though we avoided "tour guides", Marcos and I were swindled out of our money by little boys!  They were "helping us get to the square", in which we had already been to multiple times, but they felt the need to just come along anyway.  After 20 minutes or so with the boys, we couldn't get rid of them, and had to pay them off!  Swindlers, I tell ya.
Boys that got some Euros out of me!
We only had one day to see all of Chaouen, but one day is all you need. The old town is uniquely charming, blue and the most different old town I have come across.  Founded in 1471, Chaouen has about 35,000 residents, though it doesn't feel that big at all.  Roaming the little blue pathways of the old town, we came across schools, bath houses, and lots of locally owned shops.  Everything was blue, the walls, the doors, the stairs and pathways.  In my head, I was singing "Blue Lips" by Regina Spektor the entire time we were walking.
"Blue lips, blue veins

Blue, the color of our planet

From far, far away"

After walking up and toward the right of the old town, we came across a river, where the woman did their laundry.  They didn't like us taking pictures, and if you got too close, they screamed at you and waved for you to leave.  I stood my distance, but I had to take some pictures.  It wasn't warm in Chaouen, in fact, it was quite cold, and these woman were barefoot in the river washing giant size rugs, and carrying these rugs and clothes on their back to their homes.

Returning back to Cadiz was a huge deal.  A storm came in and our ferry was cancelled.  We were driven to another ferry, in which we waited for hours to get on and even more hours to actually get the boat going.  We didn't go back to the city we started at in Spain, so we had to get a hotel for the night and take a bus in the morning!  It was a crazy Sunday.  But what a trip!  There are more pictures here, which I encourage you to 
look through, because as I said before, Chaouen is so very charming, and the most different place I have ever visited.

Most of you already know, but I am returning back to Spain tomorrow morning for two weeks.  I will be staying in Cadiz the entire time, returning to school, and participating in the Carnival celebrations!  Stay tuned.... xo.

1 comment:

Alisa said...

AMAAAAZING photos! Wow--I want to go there, too!! Enjoy the Carnival celebrations--I'm jealous!!