After a relaxing week in Spain, our stomaches bloated with wine and tapas, we climbed aboard an early morning ferry in Tarifa and floated across the Strait of Gibraltar to a new continent and a new adventure. We spent the next 10 days working our way south through Morocco with a final destination of Marrakesh, where we would ultimately fly back to Istanbul and back to work.
With such a short time to explore a few cities in a new country, we opted out of any tour plans – no dune buggies, no camels, no deserts, and no ziplines – and chose instead to spend our days wandering the streets of Chefchaouen, Fes, and Marrakesh and trying to absorb as much as possible. That, and eating as many slow-roasted, succulent beef tagines as possible. Ultimately, we were pretty successful in our mission to gaze, and I think these photographs reflect that. The tagines were also a success.
We started our week in Morocco by busing up into the Rif mountains to the small city of Chefchaouen. The city’s fame comes from it’s magical blue streets and the farmers’ herbacious fields in the surrounding countryside. It was a wonderful spot to relax and explore.
Locals playing in the blue streets.
We literally walked around looking at the alleyways and walls for an entire afternoon.
We breakfasted at a restaurant next to this young man’s shop. We played hide-and-seek.
The streets of Chefchaouen were just as stunning in the evening light.
Our hostel had an amazing rooftop. Children used the alleyway as a makeshift (and narrow!) football field.
It’s a good thing the streets were too narrow for a breeze to kick up. These bags of coloured powder were everywhere.
We hiked out of town up to an old Spanish church to watch the sun set over the town and the Rif mountains behind.
Carpets and other textiles were for sale all over time, allegedly woven by women in the surrounding villages.
The town came alive for a few hours after sundown each day, making a perfect excuse to get lost before finding dinner.
After Chefchauoen, we bussed on to the larger city of Fez. Fez is particularly famous for it’s massive medina, a warren of twisting, narrow alleyways. We spend most of our time there horribly lost and hoping for a GPS signal to reach through the narrow gaps above.
Shops set up wherever they could find space in the packed medina.
It was a great place to wander!
Fes is probably most famous for its massive leather tanneries. The classic images of rows upon rows of dye vats with workers walking around the edges are all over the internet. Unfortunately, we arrived during a period of construction and the colours weren’t available. On the plus side, it also meant the equally famous stink wasn’t quite as strong. Here, a supervisor watches a younger worker in the tanning vats.
All manner of culinary delights were available in the medina.
Locals lined up at this butcher in the Fes medina.
We climbed a hill topped with the ruins of an ancient necropolis to watch the sun set over Fes. It was a popular spot for locals as well.
The best things are universal. This couple was watching the sun set from the necropolis hill in Fes.
Our last stop in Morocco was the bustling and hustling city of Marrakesh. We ended up in a fairly dingy hostel and spent most of our last couple days wandering about and being endlessly harassed on the twisting, maze-like streets.
A bicycle chained to a motorcycle in the Marrakesh medina.
A produce and olive vendor in the Marrakesh medina.
These scenes went on for miles all around the central square – very cool!
The central square in Marrakesh was lined with orange juice vendors who did bustling business to tourists and locals all hours of the day and night.
Marrakesh’s Jemaa el-Fnaa coming to life as the sun dips over Morocco.
We said farewell to Marrakesh and Morocco with a final cup of sugary green tea as the sun dipped over the central market square.