Days: 462-463 (30 September 2015 – 1 October 2015)
Total distance travelled: 123,346.4 kilometres (76,612.65 miles)
When we began investigating tours in Morocco (as mentioned in earlier posts, not normally our thing, but we had Sarah’s mum to consider) we only had one non-negotiable.
It must visit Chefchaouen, otherwise known as ‘The Blue City’.
Incredibly, the majority of tours do not include it, and many of the big names do not run a single tour that visits it at all!
After a morning departure from Meknes, the middle of our day had been spent wandering the ruins of Volubilis meaning it was mid, to late afternoon before we were pulled over to the side of the now winding highway which curved with the contours of the hillside.
Below us sat Chefchaouen.
Okay, so from this vantage point, it certainly didn’t look as blue as we’d expected…
Still, there was no escaping where we were headed, and pretty soon we were all standing in our hotel lobby as room keys were handed out.
By the time we hauled ourselves up several flights of stairs, packs and all, we were ready for some good news.
That came in the form of our room, which we thought was gorgeous!
Some of the others in the group, who scored leopard or cow print bed linen… not so happy!
We were soon all gathered back downstairs in the lobby, where a bit of a song and dance was made with some traditional costumes (which several members of the group, Sarah and I amongst them, were requested to don).
Once these frivolities were concluded (as a result of being the wearers of said garments, I wasn’t the photographer in this instance, and the images I have received are a little blurry…), it was off for a pre-dinner walk.
Here, as we began our excursions into the Chefchaouen itself, did we finally come face to face with the ‘Blue City’.
The evening was concluded as the day had begun, as a group, with us all dining on one of a number of rooftop terraces where we could enjoy the long shadows cast over the city, all the while, the Sun slowly dip behind the distant mountains.
All in all, not a horrible way to round out the day…
The following morning was our own, and was kicked off with Sarah, Julie and I making the trek up to a nearby hilltop.
Still in the shadows of the mountain peaks it felt a little fresh, but we were all warm soon enough through a combination of our uphill exertions and the gradual advance of the sun.
Nice views of the city were enjoyed, but in truth, they were largely similar to those we’d had on our approach to town.
With time to kill (we were set to depart just after lunch), we decided the best thing we could do was simply lose ourselves within the city’s warren-like streets, so that’s exactly what we did!
We let ourselves wander up narrow stairways, through shaded alleys, bustling fruit markets and roofed passageways.
It was a lovely way to experience the place, without really doing anything!
Standing our fairly distinctly in the centre of town, thanks to its large size, but also its terracotta colour (whereas most of the city is in blues and whites) was an ancient fort, a site which I’d felt warranted further investigation.
Thankfully it was indeed open to the public, and after a small entrance fee was paid, we were able to wander both a nice garden, as well as explore several once functioning areas of the stronghold.
Dark cells gave an insight into the horrible conditions of anybody imprisoned here, whilst the lofty heights of its tower gave us a wonderful view over the city and into the streets below.
Finally, we figured it was time for lunch, as it certainly wouldn’t do for us to hit the road on an empty stomach.
Three plates of various meats on skewers was shared between us, whilst I took one last opportunity to take in the goings on of the people in the ‘Blue City’.
* Our flights from London Gatwick to Marrakesh (via Casablanca) with Royal Air Maroc cost us £88.09 per person.
* Our 15 night Morocco tour was booked through On-the-go travel, and costs per person vary depending on the season.
* There was an entrance fee of 10.00 Dirhams for adults into the old fort in the heart of the city.