Kelsey HayneComment

Chefchaouen

Kelsey HayneComment
Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is known as the Blue Pearl, or the blue city in Morocco. It's nestled in the Rif mountains in the norther region of Morocco. It's iconic blue covered medina is famous worldwide, and a 2.5 hour car ride from Tangier. The locals in Morocco take "Grand Taxi's" from Tangier to get there.

It's 70 dirham each (around 7 euro) and you wait until the entire car gets filled up before departing. The bus costs 50 dirham, but apparently it doesn't have designated times. Part of me is skeptical that my guest house host doesn't travel much or is biased. (From my later experience through Morocco using buses, I think the bus schedule would have been reliable). I managed to get from the airport to the accommodation in Tangier for 70 Dirham total, when he informed me that taxi's would cost 150 from door to door. He had never heard of splitting 100 dirham cabs. . .or that the petite taxi would cost only 6 dirham to the bus station. I guess I do the unthinkable?

So, Chefchaouen, it was created in 1471, and 20 years later, became home to the Jewish (escaping the Spanish inquisition) who painted everything blue. End of story. Now it's just an incredible otherworldly place, full of stray kittens, tons of tourists, but happy and relaxed locals that don't pester you on the streets. Given it's the hash capital of the country, it's no surprise why. Most tourists I talked to had solicitations from locals on every corner, but I only had one offer during my entire visit. 

 Paint pigments were abundant. No cans. Just powder. I want to know how much is required to maintain an entire ancient city of blue!

Paint pigments were abundant. No cans. Just powder. I want to know how much is required to maintain an entire ancient city of blue!

 You can use the paint for anything. Inside or outside. On walls, or paintings etc. You can buy small bottles to these huge bags.

You can use the paint for anything. Inside or outside. On walls, or paintings etc. You can buy small bottles to these huge bags.

I was proud of myself for finding this cute courtyard through a doorway. It pays off to explore beyond what you think you're allowed! (Then I proceeded to creepily sit outside, waiting for other tourists to walk by and help me get a photo, leading them suspiciously through a doorway, up some stairs before the glory beholden them.)

A little local action. ..  

Periodically, there are spots around the medina that have been photogenically decorated for tourists pleasure. This particular one included a woman sitting at the base of the steps, but then complained if she was included in your photo. She never tried getting money from me, so it confused me.

This one below left their door open for people to peak inside, and requested a 5 dirham donation for photos, but didn't provide a box. Poor execution!

Then, the rest of the streets were flooded with colorful berber carpets, leather goods, and other keepsakes like the wool covers and miscellaneous souvenirs. 

Then the best part. . .doors, doors, doors!