In my last post, I promised to tell you all about my 1 day trip to The Blue Pearl,
Chefaouen. My friend and I stayed in Fes for 5 days and decided
to pay a visit to the bluest city in Morocco,
an old, former Jewish refugee village, founded in 1471.
The indigo blue houses and streets were even the main reason
for me to say yes to the whole Fes trip, when my friend told me
the brightly colored walls were Instagram heaven. Do it for the gram, right?
But of course, fantastic photos and a beautiful Instagram feed weren’t the only reason for me to join her, I also wanted to see more of my country of (half) origin and check 2 cities at once off my bucket list.
So why is Chefchaouen painted blue, you might ask?
There are a few theories about the colorful houses and streets,
one is about blue being a holy color of divinity and protection and
making sure the Jewish refugees living in the village felt safe. Another philosophy
is because the original residents had blue eyes and clothes, they decided to to paint their houses in the same color. One last hunch is, because the color blue keeps flies away. Pick one.
Anyhoo the whole village is blue and travelers adore it. So far the history ‘lesson’.
The owner of our riad arranged a local taxi to pick us up at 8 AM and drive us and 5 other tourists in 4 hours to Chefchaoun. Everything AM is actually to early for me, I’m somewhat of a PM kinda gal. But I love to make an exception for #bucketlistdestinations.
It was a long drive, but the route towards The Blue Pearl revealed breathtaking views on
the Rif Mountains, deep, green valleys and locals traveling on donkeys on each side of the road.
Definitely worth every km.
As we got closer to our destination, more and more blue started
to unfold, refined in the details of the stores and houses.
We got out of the car and our driver took us to the edge of a hill to show us The Blue Pearl, which revealed it’s beautiful, blue self behind the cliff. Disappointed faces started to take over the wanderlust vibe, as our companions looked at my friend sobbing:
“That’s not blue, I see more white than blue houses!”. “I thought the whole city was supposed to be blue?”, I answered in a bitter voice. Silently we drove further into the village. The driver stopped at
the towns square and told us to be back within 4 hours. Off we went,
into the city of blue. “Well, it is actually kinda blue, right?” one of the other tourists smirked.
And oh boy, it was blue alright! Everything was blue, the houses, streets, stores, signs, stairs, windows, everything.
The only things that weren’t blue, were the brightly colored plant baskets, ceramic pots and Aladdin-like carpets. These strategically placed items, highlighted the contrast with the many different shades of blue even more.
One of the other tourists travelling with us, a girl from Poland, wandered around aimlessly.
We asked her if she wanted to join us, which I think she regretted after 5 minutes.
You see, my friend and I are total snapshot addicts and stopped every
minute to yell at each other in high pitched voices
“OMG this blue wall is perfect for a photoshoot!”. Only to stop 10 seconds later and state “OMG no,
this blue staircase is much bluer, let’s pose over here!” I think the 2 of us together shot about 1000 photos, one even more blue than the other. Chefchaouen is perfect for an afternoon stroll
and the atmosphere is more relaxed than Fes,
the people are also friendlier. Don’t forget to pick up some cute souvenirs,
like little bottles of their infamous argan oil and colorful, traditional
Moroccan slippers. We stopped for what I believe was our 10th tajine and sat on the cutest,
little, sunlit terrace. It finally felt like we were in Africa, the sunrays felt so good on our Dutch, pale faces. As I already told you in my previous post, it was quite cold in Fes, but the ChefChaouen sun made it feel 10 degrees warmer and we could even sit outside in our t-shirts. The food is also super cheap in both cities, the chicken tajine
and huge bottle of cola only cost us like 4 euro.
Bring us more food, please!
After 4 hours of snapping pics, doing ANTM-ish photoshoots, eating,
buying tacky souvenirs “OMG, I just need this blue ashtray in my life” and walking
around in the sun, it was time to head back to Fes. Our taxi driver was patiently waiting to begin our 4 hour drive,
luckily with some pit stops. All that Moroccan mint tea really activates
your bladder you know. The drive back was nice and quiet, except for the endless yapping and laughing of my friend and me. I think we drove our travel companions a little crazy with our custom created ‘super funny’ jokes about all the mules we saw aside of the road.
“Oh look it’s a donkey-horse, a DORSE!”. Super funny. It was already dark when we arrived at our riad and we were quite tired of the long trip, but it was definitely worth every dirham. Our trip had cost us like 35 euro each, it’s better to arrange these kind of excursions at your hotel or riad,
because it’s way cheaper than booking it at a travel agency.
In conclusion, if you’re ever in the mood to fly to exotic Morocco,
definitely pay a visit to both Fes and Chefchaoun.
Your travel/photography heart will be amazed in so many surprising ways.