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  • Writer's pictureKristin

On the Chefchaouen

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Finishing Our Time in Fes

We spent the morning in Fes before hitting the road to Chefchaouen. We were trying to get to the oldest continually run university in the world - located right in the heart of the Fes Medina - but unfortunately came up short. We found the mosque that is connected to the university and the doors were open so that we could take a photo of the courtyard - non-muslims were not allowed to enter - but had a hard time finding a terrace to get the overhead view of it. We asked around on the street and one man seemed to know where to go, we started to follow him, but he led us through the back of a couple of shops, upstairs where some women were weaving rugs before we decided it was starting to get a bit sketchy. Honestly, the most he probably would have asked for was some type of payment, but we decided to turnaround and just play it safe.

Instead we wandered through some of the souks (‘streets’) of the old market in the medina and grabbed some souvenirs.

Loading Up

For the last four days of our trip we planned to rent a car to take us up to Tangier where we will catch a flight back to Europe to get home, so we had to get out to the Fes airport to pick up the rental car. Morad at our Riad had arranged transportation for us to get from the Riad to the airport - it was a bit more expensive (20 Euro) but we decided to have less hassle it was worth it; plus they helped us get our bags out to the Main Street as well. The kids even got to catch a ride on the cart, which they thought was pretty cool!

Rental Car

The ride out to the airport took a bit longer than expected - about an hour - with all the traffic and the airport is on the outskirts of town, so we didn’t arrive there until just shortly after 1 p.m. It took a bit of time to get the rental car all checked and lined up, but they did have both car seats this time, which was a bonus (compared to the hunt for car seats when we rented a car last year in Turkey). We finally got on the road and headed north toward Chefchaouen.

Driving in Morocco

It took a bit of adjusting and getting used to the traffic and ways of the road. However, the biggest thing when driving was to watch the speed limits, as there are several police officers that stand along the road and pull you over if you’re caught speeding even 2 km over the speed limit. So we were extra cautious of the speed limits, and it took a while to get used to how the speed limit signs worked as sometimes there would be an 80 km speed limit followed by a 60 km speed limit just 20 feet later. Therefore, Alex tended to compensate on the end of lower speeds, which made the trip last a bit longer than originally anticipated. (By the time we reached Chefchaouen we had been on the road for about 5 hours with an hour stop for lunch.)

Lunch Pit Stop in Random Village

We waited to get out of the city/village traffic to find a place for lunch, but by the time we got clear of the city traffic the pickings were a bit slim. We finally pulled into a village that had some restaurants. We picked the restaurant with the most locals - although it did have its meat hanging in front, which typically we stay away from. However, if there were lots of people there, we were hoping that it was a safe sign. Plus, they were only offering 2 dishes, so they'd likely using up the meat they had hanging in that same day and would mean it was freshly butchered that morning. We ended up getting meat dishes - there was a bit of a language barrier though - and we got a dish for all four of us, which is a lot of food for the kids, as they typically just share. And it wasn’t the cheapest meal in Morocco either - those 4 dishes were a total of 250 dirhams ($25 USD).

Unique Scenery & Sights

The journey to Chefchaouen provided a bit more lush scenery than our road trip to the desert. We drove through some valleys that resembled the Okanagan in BC or Southern California ;and there was a plethora of produce being grown - including lots of olive trees, squash/pumpkins and more. We also encountered lots of sheep/goats with their shepherds grazing - some even crossed the road in front of us - cattle (both beef and dairy - more than we had seen thus far in Morocco) and many donkeys carrying goods or people from place to place. What really hit me today was the fact that some of these people who only have a donkey for transportation probably only stay within a 10 mile radius for most of their lives - other than an occasional bus ride. My favourite scene that we encountered, which unfortunately I couldn’t grab any photos of, was all the donkeys lined up with their large water containers on a cart being filled up at the community well. There were a couple of wells that were right along the road and probably at least 5-7 donkeys were lined up to get their water to be hauled back home.

Here are just a few photos from the drive yesterday:



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