Chefchaouen - Morocco's Blue City

On the 7th day of our Moroccan adventure we woke up in Fes and after breakfast had a driver (booked via our riad Dar Victoria) waiting for us. He took us on a three hour ride further north of Morocco to Chefchaouen pronounced Shafshāwan. Chefchaouen is famous for its head to toe blueness.. There are several theories as to why the walls were painted blue. One popular theory is that the blue keeps mosquitos away, another 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.

We arrived around noon.. just in time for lunch and it had been forever since we had pizza.. thankfully we spotted Mandala and our tummies were so happy!

Afterwards we just strolled.

In that above picture we have a tantrum in progress..


we spent about four hours just strolling the streets and taking in all the various shades of blue. We made a stop at La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin to buy soap for some family members.. the place is amazing.. even if you are not looking to purchase.

and with that our Moroccan adventure came to an end.. we knew we would be arrive back at the riad late so we asked them to prepare a meal for us.. spaghetti for the boys and chicken skewers on rice for us. They did not disappoint. We packed after the boys went to sleep and in the morning another driver took us to the Casablanca airport 4 hours away.. 

But the vacation didn't end there.. we had another stop to make before we went home.

Note: While we started our trip from Marrakesh and made are way up to the north of Morocco we went a few fellow American travelers while in the dessert who flew into Casablanca, took a train to Fes and then made their way south to the dessert and lastly Marrakesh. During all my planning that was an itinerary that had never crossed my mind.. 

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Friday Photography

The Door -In the streets of Baltimore, a skinny plum colored wood door standing tall between a brown brick wall and a beige plastered wall. The contrast and juxtapositions entranced me. What to read more about our trip to Baltimore.. D was just a wee little thing.. check it out here

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A Day in Fes

After leaving the desert in the morning we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us to Fes.. with a few stops along the way. The drive to northern Morocco was very interesting.. the scenery changed drastically.. from dry rocky terrain to lush greenery.. it almost felt like we were no longer in Morocco and maybe parts of rural Italy.. We arrived in Fes in the early evening.. Just like in Marrakesh we were staying in a riad in the inner city.. but what we found different from Marrakesh was that the outer city.. the main city was so much larger than Marrakesh.. so much more modern looking. When we arrived near the medina we were greeted by a porter as well as the hotel manager who both immediately embraced the boys and led us to Dar Victoria Riad.

The door to our room.. it was a two storied room with a sitting area, bathroom and D's single bed on the ground floor

and upstairs was a single for H and a queen for us.

We were exhausted after the long journey and the only thing on our mind was dinner.. preferably non Moroccan. I had heard about a great thai place a 20 minute walk away.. this would be a great way for us to get a lay of the land.. so we set off. NOTE - we used offline google maps to navigate the medina's with little to no trouble.. we would download them when we had wifi at the hotel or at restaurants.. everyone was more than willing to share their passwords. A few minutes into our walk and we were already not loving it.. It lacked the charm of Marrakesh.. had an abundance of extra unpleasant smells that Marrakesh did not have and the people had their scam game ON!

After many winding surprisingly uphill alleys and lanes we found the thai place.. Maison Moi Anan. It was hidden in a tiny little lane we walked by twice.. again Thank God for Google Maps! Oh good food.. our bellies so happy :) On our way back these kids teenagers.. I am so old would not leave us alone.. they insisted on giving us directions.. even when we refused they self elected a volunteer to walk us to the riad.. we ignored them and continued with vigilance while our self proclaimed tour guide walked ahead of us.. then when he felt he had walked us far enough he wanted us to pay him for his troubles!!!

Breakfast the next morning.. and off we went..

inside the Madrasa Bou Inania

in the streets

We were feeling a bit peckish when we spotted

ah yum.. we shared some nacho's :)

for lunch we were on the look out for Cafe Clock.. they serve camel burgers and we wanted to try them. The cafe was tucked in a teeny tiny little alley.. D spotted it.. 

The burgers tasted like burgers.. the kids couldn't even tell the difference. 

and now for the highlight of our day.. hands down the best thing about Fes.. the Merenid Tombs. Well it was not really the tombs per se but the hill they sat upon.. the 360' view.. it was stunning.. I could have spent hours there.. 

The pictures do not do justice to the spectacular view.. it was a bit of a walk from the medina.. some people were taking taxi's there.. but we like to walk.. we went back to the same thai restaurant for dinner again.. the kids were happy.

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Friday Photography

Blue Hand - My mother's hand. Perfectly Imperfect

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Spending a Night in the Moroccan Desert

On our second day of travelling through the High Atlas Mountains we arrived at the town of Merzouga where our driver dropped us off and we boarded a 4 wheel drive truck. Our new driver drove us through the bumpy rocky pre desert area.. he did some stunts to produce some ooh's and ah's and after 20 minutes we stopped to meet the camels whom were to take us the rest of the way to the desert Erg Chebbi. This entire excursion was booked via Desert Luxury Camp. They exceeded our expectations is every way.

We were in awe of the endless desert... I was surprised to find it dotted with little bushes.. the sand would shift so stealthy behind us.. the camels took about 30 minutes to get us too our camp.. it was interesting to think that once upon a time this was the mode of the transportation..  an oh so very slow method. It was a cool day.. we had picked the perfect time to venture into the desert.. in the summer it can become unbearably hot.

The camps.. 

the outdoor seating area.. where we had breakfast the next morning and music played near the roaring fire at night.

we were welcomed with lemonade and chocolate chip cookies.

Inside our fancy tents.. with a hot shower :)

The rest of the day we spent sand boarding.. chilling in hammocks and watching the sunset..  

After dinner we all took hot showers to wash all the sand off.. while the desert looks serene.. and most of the time it is serene when the wind picks up and the sand starts blowing it can be a bit brutal.  

The next morning before breakfast we decided to walk along the dunes one last time.. say our goodbyes..

After a quick breakfast we were off again.. via 4 wheel drive and then reunited with our driver to continue our journey towards Fes.
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