Fes to Chefchaouen

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Well, I have just arrived in Chefchaouen having spent a few nights in Fes - what a great little place! Fes is like shoppers dream, it basically consists of a tight knit network of shops within the Medina selling everything from meat, leather goods, silver and clothes through to gigantic crumpets, tangine and of course tea and coffee galore. It's the perfect place to kick back, but in between copious amounts of coffee drinking and wandering we made one really interesting visit to a tannery. To sum the tanneries are jammed in amongst the Medina and you can smell them long before you actually see anything! The mix of die and rotting flesh stinks to high heaven but the visit was well worth the effort. Visually the tannery basically looks like a huge painters pallet - large concrete water troughs filled with the dye for the week with the workers up to their knees in a mix of dye and leather sludge, red (from poppy flowers) predominately filled the troughs this week!

The evenings have been pretty dull since I have been in Morocco, alcohol is forbidden and women just don't really go to cafes, apart from a bit of a walk after dinner it's been early to bed. The last couple of nights I tested the water though and I have accompanied the guys to watch football though - all a bit odd really being the only woman in a cafe and drinking coffee during the big game! It's nice to go out and about though, I am thankful not to be a Muslim woman.

I must just make a brief comment about the wild flowers - they are just amazing here! Daisies and poppies make a real mix of colour. I am not sure if it's like this all year round or if I have struck it lucky, but it's quiet spectacular. It's good to see a bit more greenery in the north and slightly healthier animals to go with that as well. Interesting the mules in Fes seem to wander the Medina unguided carrying loads of goods from coke bottles to fresh leather. All of the mules have muzzles on, immediately I thought that it must be a temperament thing - to stop them from bitting people etc (I did see one mule bitting a dog!!) but it turns out that the muzzles are to prevent the mules from stopping for a munch of local produce from the stalls in the Medina - muhaha.

Anyway, most of the travellers I have come across since I have been away have had a "bad tangine" experience, good old fashion food poisoning. I have avoided that fate to date, but not through good management but good luck really. I am about to embark on a race against the clock to get through to Lisbon over the next few days, so fingers crossed that my luck on the food front doesn't run out. One could easily say that I have really dragged my heals through Morocco, but then again in hind sight I think that I have been far too ambitious when booking my flights into Marrakesh and out of Lisbon over my allocated time frame. It really is going to be a race against the clock. I had planned to start hitch hiking up to Lisbon today (not alone Mum, before you start to panic) but I couldn't miss out on Chefchaouen - a hippy place in the mountains, in the sun and I might just stay on a couple of nights here.

Final comment - New Zealand is too small! Since being here I have accidentally ran into 3 Fonterra (company that I used to work for in NZ) past and present in two different Moroccan locations - Lisa Hilder, Rebecca Preloux and Harriet Gibbs. Blow me down if I wasn't sitting on the roof top of hostel in Fes chit chatting about GMR with Harriet.... hmmmm
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abigfish on

i am planing atrip to Morocco now.so could you pls give me some ideas about how to use the public traffic. Are there many bus from Rabat to Chefchaoen and from Chefchaoen to Fes? which hostal(cheap and nice) in Chefchaoen do you recommend?big thanks

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