In our six months of travel so far we have had some LONG travel days. 8-hour train rides, 12-hour bus rides, days where we took half a dozen forms of transportation. The day we travelled from Spain to Morocco was, however, the longest yet. We left Seville at 9 am and three and a half hours later arrived at the port city of Algeciras, where we caught a ferry which crossed the seven kilometers of water between Spain and Morocco. Unfortunately, the ferry was delayed for two hours (reasons unknown) and took almost four times longer than advertised (we were super confused on how 45 minutes turned into over three hours). After finally arriving in Morocco we were treated to another 30-minute bus ride to the bustling city of Tangier. We missed the non-stop bus to Chefchouen (where we were headed) by minutes and instead caught a bus to Tetuoan (2 hours away) where we connected to another bus which finally arrived in Chefchaouen late at night. Once in Chefchaouen we were advised (in three different languages, non of which was English) to catch a taxi up the steep hill to our riad. 15 hours and 7 modes of transport later, we had finally arrived! So the question is, was it worth it? Yes, yes it was.
Chefchaouen is beautiful and unique and calm and just what the doctor ordered. Our riad (which is basically the Moroccan version of a B&B) had a beautiful rooftop terrace where we ate our breakfast, read, wrote and took in the beauty of the surrounding mountains and blue, blue buildings that Chefchaouen is known for. We started our day with a stroll around the winding streets of the medina, where every building is painted blue. The effect is beautiful and otherworldly and once you get away from the shops where men are yelling trying to get your attention, you can really get lost.
We did get taken in by a carpet vendor, telling us he wanted to show us his “factory.” Instead we sat for an hour, drinking mint tea as we were shown 25 or 30 carpets. We didn’t buy anything, much to the sellers’ dismay, and we spent the next hour or so dodging the owner who had followed us out into the market. They are very good at what they do, preying on your emotions and somehow convincing you that you need a carpet (which we really, really don’t).
After our wandering we took a siesta (a habit we picked up in Spain) before spending some time on the rooftop terrace relaxing and recovering from our excursion the previous day. Before dinner we walked along the creek, where locals were swimming, doing laundry, and enjoying their Sunday afternoon. For dinner we had our first Moroccan tagine (the traditional dish) and delicious lemon tart.
We only spent one full day in Chefchaouen, but it was a lovely day. We left the next afternoon, after a few more hours spent wandering the medina and time on the rooftop terrace. Chefchaouen was worth the trek and was a perfect intro to Morocco.