Where We Be
|Chefchaouen is only a three-hour bus ride from Tangier, so if you're in
Spain you could take the ferry across and visit this magical blue city
I think Chefchaouen is where photographers
must go when they die and go to heaven. It's
definitely one of the most photogenic towns
we've ever visited. You can’t turn a corner
without wanting to take another picture. It's
nicknamed "the blue city" because most of its
buildings are whitewashed blue. Not just one
shade of blue but a hundred shades, so each
twisting street and alleyway, each building,
each doorway, is a little bit different from the
others. Adding to the charm is the town's
location, nestled in the beautiful Rif Mountains
of northwest Morocco. This is a place to come
and stay for awhile.
Why are the buildings blue? Some say it repels
mosquitoes, others that Sephardic Jews who
migrated here painted them blue, the color of
divinity in Judaism. Whatever the reason, take
a walk in the early evening when the lighting is
soft and you'll fall in love with this place too.
|It turns out the Rif Mountains are gorgeous. We could see
basing ourselves in Chefchaouen for some hiking here.
|We settled into our room on the top floor of Casa Miguel,
with its wood-beamed ceiling and pleasant window view
|Then we started exploring the blue city -- and what a lovely city it is
(although town or village comes closer to the mark)
|Each street and staircase is a little different -- powder blue, baby blue, azure, ice, cornflower, sky, indigo, teal,
periwinkle, navy, royal, sapphire, marine, turquoise -- you'll run out of adjectives before you run out of shades
|Every spring villagers apply a new coat of blue paint.
Obviously they take a lot of pride in their town.
|We loved the fact that kids ran and played in the streets, mostly ignoring us
photographers. This is home for them, so it doesn't feel like a tourist town.
|Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 by Moors
and Jews fleeing the Reconquista in Spain
|This young boy popped up from behind a blue wall,
as surprised to see us as we were to see him
|Is this Morocco's best kept secret?
|At dusk we took the long way home,
watching as the colors took on a deeper cast
|Next morning we explored some more, finding
a few nooks and crannies we'd missed before
|Can you imagine growing up here, like the toddler standing on
the stoop, embraced in a blue hug by your surroundings each day?
|Later on we went for a hike to the top of a hill with a Spanish mosque.
From this vantage point we got a terrific view of the blue city.
|The jumbled buildings took on an almost
abstract quality from this distance
|In the bright light of day the colors turned
more electric -- different but no less beautiful
|Surely this tiny blue door must lead somewhere magical
|After wandering at random through a maze of streets and side alleys, we
happened upon the main square -- the first open space we'd seen in awhile
|Arriving in Chefchaouen, we were immediately struck
by the town's privileged location nestled in the mountains
|Back in town, we walked a few of the main shopping streets
|The soft lighting near sunset is the perfect
time to go for a stroll and take some pictures
|Not surprisingly, Chefchaouen attracts a lot of artists and
their fine work is on display in shops throughout town
|"I’d never guess we were in Morocco," we kept saying
as we passed green fields and blue mountain lakes
|Green is the predominant color as you travel through
the Rif Mountains on the way to Chefchaouen
|The elderly from these parts seem spry,
navigating the steep, uneven streets with ease
|We paused for dinner at Bab Ssour, enjoying
lovely views of the city from the terrace
|Robin tried to blend in
with her surroundings!