Saturday, February 13, 2016

Our Moroccan Odyssey, Part Two

View from our hotel balcony in Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is known as the "Blue City" for the large number of blue buildings in the town.  Supposedly, Jewish immigrants started painting their houses blue when they came to the area in the 1930s, and then others adopted the practice.  It has made this old city, founded in 1471, into a tourist attraction.

The residents also claim the blue color deters mosquitoes, but I'm skeptical about that! We saw no mosquitoes when we were there, but then it wasn't a warm part of the year. We shivered the first night in our hotel room until we could get the heater to finally warm us up.

We were surprised by how green this part of northwestern Morocco is.  Spread across a hill in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is much higher than Tangier. The city kept getting more picturesque, the further up the hillside we walked.

We ate lunch at a pretty cafe.

And met a traditional musician.

If I don't look very animated, it's because the Barcelona Virus (note the caps) was beginning to take its toll on me.  (No, there is no official Barcelona Virus, but that's where Kevin and I caught the miserable colds that were to plague us for over two months.)

The dyes in the marketplace added more intense colors to the Blue City.

We stayed in Chefchaouen for two days, and then it was time to move on to Fes (Fez). Because the bus ride to Fes was a long one, we rented a car and driver for that trip. I wish I could report our driver was friendly, but he really wasn't! He spoke hardly any English, but that usually isn't a deterrent to striking up some sort of rapport. In this case, however, we never managed to connect, which is a little sad.

We left the green valleys of Northern Morocco for agricultural land that resembled Eastern Washington.

Soon, we would enter the fascinating ancient city of Fes.

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