“‘Cause it’s true love (This time I know it’s true love)
You’re the one I’m dreaming of (The one I’m dreaming of)
Your heart fits me like a glove (Heart fits just like a glove)
And I’m gonna be true blue…”
I am sure even Madonna would not have known while humming out the tune above that why Mondays are blue and rest of the days of the week are not? Wonder what if Madonna would have ever been to a place where actually everything is, infact, painted in blue? How would have the songs been written then? The turquoise gem in the crown of the Moroccan Kingdom, Chefchaouen, is that town which is all awash in blue. Here the Mondays don’t feel blue rather the whole week remains blue which is bright, jubilant and welcoming. While the ordinary tourists will get to visit Marrakech while in Morocco and head back home, those with a flare to get to know the very heart and soul of this North African country will head north to this remarkable little town painted just in white and blue.
Useful tips first:
- One option of going to Chefchaouen is to fly in to Fez, then drive. The other option is to fly to Marrakech and drive up north. The latter option is what we did. It is around eight to nine hours of drive, so make sure you arrive early in Marrakech and drive the whole day to reach Chefchaouen same evening. You can start your exploration from the following day after a good night sleep.
- Recommended length of stay is three days
- You can decide to stay either in any traditional guest houses and hotels within the blue city’s old town or may prefer to stay just outside in any hotels which may be within walking distance. We stayed at the beautiful Hotelier Chez Aziz which is highly recommended for its exceptional interiors and service.
- English is understood along with Spanish and local language is of course Arabic.
- The best place to get a good photo of the entire blue town from outside is near the Ras el Maa entrance. Preferably just before sunset or early morning are the best times for this.
We planned to have a taste of this blue town as our entrée in the Moroccan menu. So the very day we flew in to Marrakech from London, we decided to drive up north to Chefchaouen. As we always believed, as mentioned before in other posts, that the best way to feel the pulse of any country is to drive through its very heart. We didn’t waste any time to unravel the mystery of Morocco, we hit the roads while the radio played French and Arabic numbers. We promised to Marrakech that we will be back soon while we took the bypass. Simply amazed by the infrastructure development done in Morocco, we kept driving through the spacious highways in the glorious sunshine. The roads were perfectly signposted with amenities in frequent gaps. When we reached the region closer to Chefchaouen the sun had set making the driving in the dark along curvy roads rather challenging. We just had the headlights of the car on and the clear sky up above with a bright moon and uncountable number of stars guiding us to the anticipated blue town.
After an arduous drive of nine hours we reached the hotel in Chefchaouen pretty exhausted but excited. The interior of the Hotel Chez Aziz was a magical experiment with Moroccan colours and crafts. The only flip side was that it was not adequately warm to our comfort but the staff were friendly to light up the fireplace inside the room. Much care had been taken in designing every detail of the bedroom, living room, kitchen, even the toilets of the accommodation. Interesting combination of ceramics and clay coloured in blue, yellow, red with Moroccan chandeliers certainly created a positive impression.
The following day we set off on foot to reach one of the entrances to the old town – Bab al Ain. A typical Moroccan town busy with its bustles and life. Groups of boys and girls did throw their brief gazes to guess the origins of the newcomers in their town while we negotiated our way through the teeming crowd of men wearing ‘djellaba’. We noticed that even the taxis in the town were painted in blue synonymous with the colour code. When we stepped in we were awestruck with such a never ending symphony of blue painted on every clay wall and even the doors. The organic growth of the township made sure that the sense of dimension and symmetry was left well outside the town’s boundaries. This is to make sure that you will navigate your way through narrow alleys, will climb or go down stairs which are uneven and will try your best to make a mind map of where you are by looking at similar looking blue doors and houses. There is a certain creativity in confusion isn’t it? The innumerable resident felines were seen roaming around or chilling in the sun. While you won’t see any cat painted in blue in Chefchaouen but rest assured that they won’t help you find your way if you are lost in the blue maze. There were quite a few mosques within the old town so the calls for prayers resonated through the blue walls making the experience acoustically enigmatic.
The Kasbah is a central location within the old town where there was good number of restaurants to try out delicacies of Chefchaouen. We decided to take a pause to sip some mint tea and Moroccan snacks. To our amusement, we were even given five dirhams of discount since I could write the name of the waiter in Arabic on a piece of napkin. Such hospitable the locals were and such warm was their reception. A post dinner stroll through the mélange of white and blue unravelled another beauty. The narrow paths which were busy and noisy during the daylight were all deserted and dozing off under the moonlit night. The sun and the moon both seemed to have a story telling going on with the colour blue of the town. In the day it’s as blue as the sky above, as if the town is a piece of the sky itself. At night, the moon makes the blue look pacific but mysterious. Whatever shade you prefer, your exploration of Morocco could not be any better if you start with your new found love of the colour blue only found in this beautiful town of Chefchaouen, which is ready to sprinkle its blue charm to woo you.