On Tuesday, we wrote about our day in Rabat and today I am going to write about our last couple days in Morocco when we visited Tetouan & Chefchaouen in the very northern part of the country.
We got to Tetouan by taking a train and a bus from Rabat that took under six hours total. The reason I chose this city is because it is a good hub in this part of the country and it is a World Heritage Site. After spending two nights here I can tell you that this is one of my least favorite towns. I felt like the medina (or historic city center) was nowhere as good as Fez or Marrakesh and the market sellers seemed to be selling second hand stuff and it simply had a flea market feel to it. Don’t get me wrong, it is an ok city, but nothing compared to the others we have been to.
Chefchaouen on the other hand is a totally different story. We shared a grand taxi with another couple for about $45 total to cover the hour and half distance. Once there we found the bus station and bought tickets for our return that evening. At $6 total, this was the way to go, but no one could tell us when it left Tetouan which is why we shared the taxi getting to Chefchaouen.
Once we had the bus tickets we knew we had seven hours to discover this town. The first thing we did was walk to the little waterfall where we were told everyone hangs out. They were not kidding!!!! It was not so much a waterfall as it was a slow and shallow river that had restaurants on both banks. The water was cool and many of the restaurants moved their tables into the river (I did say it was shallow!). The water was nice and chilly and it was a wonderful place to hang out and get a bite to eat. We chose a huge fruit plate from one of the many vendors and it cost a whopping $2.30 or so.
Before we enjoyed the cold water and fruit we continued walking up the hill to the mosque. For some reason I was expecting ruins, but it was a small active mosque on a knoll and it provided some excellent viewpoints.
Since the hike to the mosque was hot, the water of the river was cold, and the fruit plate was delicious we ended up at the little waterfall for a couple hours. When we finally left, we walked down through the medina (old walled city center) with meandering tiny streets. We took our time and simply poked around from one passage to another. Melek was looking for a small, leather backpack that “spoke” to her. [Melek – One of the most identifying thing about this small town was its narrow streets and houses painted in white and blue. It was described by many people as having a Greek town look and it definitely has it! Although the look is like a Greek town, the feel is definitely Moorish.]
Down at the bottom, we visited the Kasbah, which is basically a fort. I read it is not much, but we really liked it. There was a prison, museum, and tower to explore and the garden was delightful. Well worth the $2.25 we paid to enter. After this we had dinner and continued to explore and shop for the remaining hour or so we had. Right before we left this delightful, cozy town Melek found “her” bag right at the end and is still in love with it a week later. I can’t say that $16 was not well spent. ????
We only spent a day here, but many people go hiking for a few days into the nearby mountains and use Chefchaouen as a base. If you do this just be aware that there are marijuana plantations in the hills. You will be offered some around town, but its use is against the law. So be careful if you buy any and stay away from the drug dealer’s growing fields.