Morocco is a lot like that fine bottle of Dom Perignon I have tucked away in my pantry — I’m saving both for a very special moment. My good friend recently returned home after spending a couple months in Morocco, where she uncorked her own life-changing vacation getaway. Now all she can think about is figuring out a way to get back to the African paradise as quickly as possible. I have a feeling I would want the exact same thing, too, if I was in her shoes.
There are countless treasures to experience in Morocco, but few can compare to the magnificence of one of the country’s crown jewels — the blue-washed mountain city of Chefchaouen (i.e. Chaouen) in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. Its labyrinthian narrow streets and walkways and winding staircases weave in and out of the iconic blue walls. Rumour has it the walls are painted blue to ward off mosquitoes. The bugs are repelled by clear and moving water, so some speculate that’s how the blue-washed walls came to be. And according to Wikipedia another theory is that “Jews introduced the blue when they took refuge from Hitler in the 1930s. The blue is said to symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life.”
Weaving workshops and old-fashioned leather artisan shops dot the cobblestone streets, and in the city’s main square of Uta el Hammam you will find the spectacular 15th century fortress and dungeon — itself beaming in ravishing red, in the shadow of the 8-sided minaret of the Great Mosque which is just off in the distance. Among the town’s most popular products are: wood garments, woven blankets, and a goat cheese that could easily rank as the world’s best. You can learn more by visiting the city’s tourist website by CLICKING HERE.
And when I do make it to Morocco I will be sure to visit Essaouira, a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Another friend of mine, whose father was born and raised in Morocco, gave me the heads up that Essaouira nothing less than heaven on earth for surfers, windsurfers, and kitesurfers. To help organize your own surfing trip to Essaouira visit Blue-Morocco.org, and be sure to watch the short video at the bottom of this post. And while in the country you will need to visit Marrakesh as well. The folks at Travel Pulse put together a handy shopping guide for the city and you can get it at TravelPulse.com.
(Photo credits: The World Pursuit, Claude Renault, unknown, Claude Renault, Beum Photography, Mario Tome, OneWorldTwoExplorers, Claude Renault, Alexander Dragunov, Halifax Light, UrbanPeek, SpunFish. Sources: BoredPanda.com, Wikipedia, TravelPulse.com, AFAR.com)