Morocco to Madrid 13: Chefchaouen

There are probably a billion words to describe Chefchaouen, but the one I keep coming back to is “pretty.”

This town is situated way up in the mountains and, aside from its kasbah in the town square, lacks one discernible “sight”.  Rather, the town itself, more specifically the medina, is the sight.

Chefchaouen’s medina has been painted white and sky blue by the inhabitants.  Its winding enough to give you the illusion of getting a little bit lost, but not as crazy busy as the Marrakech medina, or as maze-like as the medina in Fes.

One thing that is easy to find, though, is offers of marijuana.  Chefchaouen is located in the “heart” of Morocco’s pot growing country.  It’s highly illegal to buy, sell or use, but that doesn’t stop some locals from offering it up to you.  Unlike Fes, however, a polite “no, I don’t smoke” got all but one guy off of our back.  Even that guy backed off when Daina said, “Can’t, we do sports.”

It’s like, if Chefchaouen had a town mascot, it would be Towlie from South Park.  Things start off super nice, you even get a nice local tip, then you get the question.  “Wanna get high?”

We went a little snap-happy with the cameras before noon and slowly whittled away the souvenir shopping, finding an amazing little store that was called “Aladdin’s Grandmother’s Store” or something to that effect, which sold spices, soaps, teas.. basically anything that had a nice scent.  Stopped inside of the kasbah for a look around and climb up the tower before we made the walk outside of the medina to the local waterfall, which was being used by ladies to do the laundry and by kids to swim in, before making the not-too-long trek up to the Spanish Mosque, which gave us a beautiful view of of the blue medina.

Coming back down, we went for lunch at Marisco, where we sampled some Chefchaouen specialties, including a lamb tagine with honey, almonds and dates.  It was, hands down, the best tagine I’ve had in Morocco, and I’ve eaten a lot of tagine.  One of the guys working at the restaurant recommended we make the hike up to the Atlas Chaouen Hotel for a different, better view of the city, which may be something we try when it gets a little less hot outside.

Because after walking in the medina some more, the heat started to get to us, and once we got out and saw a sign where the temperature read 41 degrees, we figured it was time to head back for a rest.

Definitely recommend making a stop here.  Sales people aren’t pushy, the pot/hash guys get the point if you’re not interested, the locals seem extra friendly, and everything is nice and laid back.  Definitely try to put this in your Morocco itinerary if you can.


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