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Chefchaouen, Morocco

Our first stop in Africa

sunny 80 °F

After 5 months of traveling in Europe we were used to the plush comforts of Europe where we blend in with the crowds and everything goes as expected. We were excited to leave that comfort zone and get on with the adventure. It began with the country borders around the strait of Gibraltar. We boarded a ferry in Spain, and while traveling in the same direction, passed the UK (The Rock of Gibraltar), passed Spain again (Cuenta) and then landed Morocco in just one hour… whew!

Tanger was exactly what we expected, completely hectic! People were approaching us from all angles, unmarked cab drivers were telling us the bus was no longer in service, people continually asking where we were going, offering to carry our bags or to sell us something. In a matter of hours we had left western civilization as we knew it and were on a whole new planet, where our white skin did not allow us to blend in with the locals anymore. To keep our heads from spinning off, we put on our tunnel vision (learned from 5 months in Asia), confirmed with the locals on the bus that we were indeed heading to Chefchaouen and then went straight for the Chicken Tangine on arrival.

Chefchaouen is located at the base of the Rif Mountains, where a majority of Europe’s hash is grown and exported. In Morocco, growing personal tobacco is illegal, yet growing marijuana is completely accepted. In fact, it is grown in such mass quantities that hiking the Rif Mountains requires that you hike straight through some massive marijuana plantations. Sadly, we had just missed the harvest season but still enjoyed our walks through the mountains.

Robin ventured into the local Hamam (Moroccan bath house) for massage and scrub and provided entertainment for the local woman who clearly got a kick out of the foreigner who had no idea what she was doing. Despite the fact that Muslim woman cover their hair when they are outside, they actually really care about how it looks and going to the salon is a regular occurrence. The Salons are hidden and the windows blacked out, but once found, the place was filled with locals gossiping. Robin had a scrub and a $2 haircut that took all of 2 minutes but luckily turned out better than expected… her hair is now conveniently all the exact same length as you can see here:

We really enjoyed our stay here, with breakfasts on the rooftop terrace, walks through the medina and watching kids play soccer in the square. All the food was amazing and the mint tea (aka Berber whiskey) was a nice change from the espressos in Europe. The uniqueness of this village city is captured by the Berber men walking around in their Jedi looking outfits through blue painted walls of the medina.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 07:40 Archived in Morocco

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love it, you guys always find the best views too!! :)

by Megan DiBiase

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