13 December 2012

Leaving Fes
Bus to Chefchaouen
Evening walk

The hills are alive...

The hills are alive…

Leaving Fes. We picked the 10.30 bus, so we had time to pack and not have to get up too early. Take away breakfast along the way and coffee at the bus station. It turned out that we were the only four people on the bus. There is seat allocation, but as nobody in Morocco follows these, we picked the best seats. All the way in the front, with a great view.
The bus made it’s way through new town to another pick up point in Fes. Here the people started filing in. As expected, we were kicked out of our seats. Funny how it works here. When we have the tickets for the good seats (as we have had in the past) the Moroccans refuse to vacate them for us, but the other way around we have to go.
Now we find places in the back of the bus.

Fluorescent Green.  Great for the goats

Fluorescent Green. Great for the goats

The drive is beautiful. Lakes, green hills and rivers. It is a bit longer then expected and the four hour drive takes about five and a half. Not a problem though. We arrive in the afternoon and get picked up by a local with a good hotel deal. (we blame this on the drowsiness of the long bus trip)
With a grand taxi we go to the old town and drag our bags after our new friend. He chats away about Chefchaouen and the kif (marijuana) business. We are at the edge of the rif mountains and kif is the big money earner here.

Along the way.

Along the way.

Chefchaouen (Chaouen) is shut in by mountains. It has been very isolated in the past. It was first settled in 1471 and had some influxes of Jewish and Muslim refugees from Spain. The town was extremely anti-European/anti-Christian and the first visitors had to either come in disguise, or were killed when the locals found out that they were Christian.
When the Spanish arrived in 1920, they found a group of people speaking a kind of Castillian that had been extinct in Spain for four centuries.
By now it is one of the main tourist towns around, because of it’s setting and the beautifully blue painted houses.

At last.  A place we can all hang out

At last. A place we can all hang out

We arrive at our friends families hotel and are shown a double room. The place looks great and comes with free Wifi. The price is good to, so we book two double rooms for two night. Only then do we find out that there is only one double available and the others will have to pay for a four people room. Or we can all stay in the four person dorm. But this is the same price as two doubles.. We decide to have a look at the hotel next door. Same price, free Wifi and a heater in the room(!). So what if we book one double in each hotel? Easy we think. The hotels are next door, and we can visit each other on the respective roof tops. Unfortunately Hotel owner 1 is grumpy (has not had his daily dose of kif?) and now refuses to rent us a room if not all four of us are staying at his place. We don’t need this kind of attitude, so decide to all move to hotel 2.
Even our local who brought us here is stunned and apologises profusely for the strange behaviour from his family.

Blue goes well in the dark

Blue goes well in the dark

We check with hotel owner 2 that he has two double rooms available. Not a problem and we drag our bags up the three flights of steps. Again to find out, that he does not have two doubles and wants us to pay for a two person and a four person room. (?) This guy seems to have been smoking too much. Did we not make it clear down stairs? Anna and Andrew decide to leave the double for David and Sophia and find their own else where. Again our guy is waiting downstairs and he takes us to hotel number 3. No Wifi, no heaters, but a really nice place. David and Sophia choose to come with us to hotel 3 (this one did have two doubles available)
We thank the local guy, but agree to not be picked up by a local straight of the bus ever again. We would have done better finding a place to stay by our selves. Far less hassle…
Settled in we had a look at the view from our rooftop and went for a walk around and dinner. The town is very cute. And in the streetlights the colours look more lilac than blue.
Already looking forward to tomorrow to see it all in day light.



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