After twelve days relaxing in Rincon de la Victoria, we were ready for a change of scene. We decided to take a ferry across to Africa – after taking a bus to Malaga, a bus to Algeciras and then a ferry we found ourselves in Ceuta, Spain. We hadn’t known this, but Spain maintains a little city right at the top of Africa. From here we took a bus to the border, then walked through into Morocco. Customs was very straightforward – the most challenging part was staying out of the way of all the cars which were crossing at the same point! On the other side of the border we took a shared taxi to Tetouan. A shared taxi is an old Mercedes which six passengers cram into. The driver then drives at top speed to the destination. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for other passengers, but we only paid about $4 NZD each for a 45 minute taxi ride!
From Tetouan we took a bus, which led us to Chefchaouen. We stayed at a guesthouse right in the heart of the old town, which was great and very cheap.
From here we about a two minute walk to the main plaza, around which were lots of cheerful, inexpensive restaurants – we ate here a few times because it was such a fun environment. Here we discovered mint tea (made with fresh mint and a lot of sugar), tagines and couscous dishes. It is quite sad that we don’t like olives, because they seem to come with nearly every order!
We spent time just wandering around the old town – the narrow alleyways don’t have any cars on them, which is lovely. We walked to the edge of town to the El Ras waterfall, where we saw local women washing their clothes and rugs on the sides where the water had been diverted to make safer channels.
We climbed up beside the waterfall and then took a walk uphill to a former Spanish mosque, where we had great views over the town (as above). From here you could really see the different colour blues in the town – it was really pretty. We came down through the graveyard (as you do?!) and came back to the main plaza.
Also located in the main plaza was the Kasbah, a former fort built next to the mosque. We climbed the tower in the Kasbah and wandered through the small museum and garden. I did my best to interpret the signs in French, but a lot of it was guessing!
Chefchaouen was a great start to Morocco. It’s a very relaxed town – no hassles from people on the street, cheap street food for sale, friendly locals – and it’s small enough to explore easily in a couple of days. It has a reputation as something of a hippy town (we did get offered hashish on our walk to the monastery) but it is also cute, welcoming and fun. We loved it here!