Although I only spent a fleeting 36-ish hours in this magnificent village, I feel forever changed from it. This spontaneous trip came to fruition just 3 days before departure, as my 90 days in Europe drew near and the pressure was on to get to Africa. Luckily, last-minute trips here cost the same as a well-planned trip in advance. And the excitement of spontaneity is a bonus.
As expected, I fell in love with Morocco. There was no doubt in my mind that Morocco would spark yet another love affair. I fall in love constantly lately. I can’t help it!! This world is just so beautiful, I am literally taken aback almost daily by beauty and the fact that I am living my dream. Mind blown.
I only had a weekend to make the trek to Morocco; 3 days, 2 of which were traveling. Although this was definitely not an easy weekend escape to make with travel time, it was absolutely worth it to get even the tiniest taste of Morocco. There is so so much I need to go back for, and I will. But until then, I have great memories to keep me company of Chefchaouen. This village is nestled in the Rif mountains in northwest Morocco, just south of Tangier.
The Journey from Granada, Spain to Chefchaouen, Morocco:
- 2 busses – 5 hours total
- Ferry across the Straight of Gibraltar – 1 hour
- 3 shared taxis packed with 6 passengers and a driver (ugh) from ferry port to Chefchaouen – 3 hours total
The weekend I spent in Chefchaouen was rainy and cold. I was a bit upset by this when I got there, hoping for clear blue African skies, but it turned out to be quite a treat. I am sure Chefchaouen is just perfect when it is sunny with clear skies, but the village took on a surreal glory in the rain, as if it were in the clouds. The blue streets and buildings ran into the dark and cloudy sky and the rain ran bright blue down the street. I kind of felt like a mermaid haha! Everything was so peaceful and calm and tranquil. The locals walked about the village greeting each other; exchanging stories, laughter, and goods.
My one day was spent walking around, getting lost in the maze of similar looking streets in the old part and blue, blue absolutely everywhere. And shopping…oh the incredible handmade goods for sale. It was a Moroccan dream come true. Instead of buying things from Morocco at Cost Plus World Market, I was buying handmade leather sandals from the man who made them on the side of the plaza (who was also currently making countless other leather goods). I bought a dress off a woman sewing them in the smallest stall I’ve even been in (well, halfway been in haha, it was small) and for next to nothing! Bliss, bliss, bliss! It also feels good to support the local craftsmanship and the people who have devoted their lives to their craft. There are so few of those in the states and it is inspiring to be amongst a trade passed down for generations. My leather sandals are also kick ass…so that’s cool!
Every turn around every corner was breathtaking. An ancient door, or a local woman with her children, or a deserted bright blue alley, or a cat gang plotting their next mouse attack. It was just discovery after discovery of pure beauty. It helped that the city was so peaceful and nearly deserted by tourists because of the rain. There were times that I felt like I was the only person in the entire village…well, me and the cats haha! For those who know me well (all 5 of you reading this right now hahaha), it is also heaven for me to be surrounded by cats. A shameless cat lady, I am eagerly anticipating the day that I am old and grey and wearing every piece of jewelry and every scarf I own sitting amongst my cats. Crazy cat lady in the making.
I will make it back to this village to see more and experience its magic for longer than a day! I also want to go to Marrakech and Fez and Casablanca…who am I kidding…I want to go EVERYWHERE!
Seeing Gibraltar and crossing the ancient path from Africa to the rest of the world was pretty incredible. Just thinking of the hundreds of thousands of people who have crossed in both directions with all kinds of floating vessels made me have a whole different appreciation for humanity. The drive and desire to make a better life or to flee a bad life is human nature. We all want better for ourselves, for our families. The lengths people went to thousands of years ago (and for thousands of years after that) to cross that straight is incredibly humbling. I sat in a fancy ferry boat with a full bar, toilets, nice seats and climate control. Those who came before me were not nearly that lucky. I went deep as we crossed that channel. I made a point to read up on some history before leaving so that the gravity of the journey I was on could really sink in. I wasn’t just some dumb American going to Africa so I could say I went. I wanted to appreciate each step in the journey to get there and I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the journey others made.
Meeting so many people from so many different parts of the world just makes me want to go everywhere. My must-see list grows almost daily and there aren’t many places that I would refuse a plane ticket to. I am enchanted by travel and I want more, I need more, I will have more! This insatiable appetite for travel and adventure is only growing stronger, and I couldn’t be happier. I have surrendered and I am blowing in the winds of life, not looking at where I am going or where I came from but just enjoying the ride and the moment and the flexibility of my current lifestyle.
I AM IN HEAVEN!!!!!