~And let us pursue that most tempting of
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Chefchouen – Moroccan Mountains
I thought we’d have no problem getting a taxi in Chefchaouen since we were so used to the hustling taxi drivers in Marrakesh. I was wrong.
We haven’t needed needed a taxi on our travels yet since we have been accustomed to taking local buses and other cheaper forms of transportation. However, Chefchaouen is located in the mountains, and we were staying pretty high up at a place called Rif-for-Anyone. Their website said to ask the taxi-drivers for “dar Scotlandee”, which apparently means, “those Scottish people” and they’ll know where to go.
After an overnight train and a two hour bus ride, we finally arrived. We got off the bus, expecting a million taxi drivers, and there was no one. A couple locals kept saying “taxi problemo,” but there was no other explanation. Finally, after walking straight up hill for twenty minutes or so, a local man helped and let us use his phone in order to contact Terry. Terry and Suzanne are the owners of the bed and breakfast and he finally told us the taxis were on strike. He told us to find the little Honda cars which look equivalent to a small VW van and they should be able to give us a ride.
Apparently, the little vans are not officially registered. Later we learned the taxis were upset because the vans, making 120 dirham ($13) a day, were taking business from the taxis. The taxis were making 600 dirham ($70) a day. For comparison, the guy who was mixing and pouring cement in the hot sun all day was making 60 dirham a day ($6.50). We had little sympathy for the taxi drivers.
An hour after getting off the bus, we finally made it. It was heaven. We were instantly welcomed by a wonderful Scottish couple and their son with coffee, OJ, cheese and omelets. Their home was four floors, the fourth being the terrace looking over the mountains and town, the third being the living area and kitchen. Terry later told us they started the bed and breakfast because they needed to have some sort of business in order to have a home and live in Morocco.
Chefchaouen was peaceful and quiet compared to Marrakesh and was my favorite city in Morocco. It was originally a stone settlement. Later, cement was laid over the entire town, making the whole thing look bulbous, bulky; as if it was swelling. The entire thing was painted blue and white. We heard the houses and buildings were painted that way because of the Jewish roots of the town. We also heard those colors kept the evil spirits away. Pick your legend. The streets were comparable to Seville, Spain as they were quite narrow and easy to get lost in. There weren’t many hustlers which was a breath of fresh air.
Bryan and I basically spent our time in Chefchaouen relaxing and enjoying the private room and bathroom, which we had not had in long time. We figured a cheap private room in Europe won’t be available, so we took advantage of it in Chefchaouen for four nights.
We enjoyed many nights on the Terrace watching sunsets, walking down to the Medina and back up on stone steps, and reading.