Rolling hills of soft, chocolate covered soil as far as we could see, interrupted only by light patches of straw and the occasional herd of sheep sped by through the windows of the bus. For miles and miles we drove through these hills, taller mountains in the distance, scattered groups of children in bright but dusty t-shirts playing in the fields. As we drove higher, the soil gave way to green, and soon bright flowers and stubby shrubs lined the mountainside. Within a few hours Chefchaouen, a blue and whitewashed city perched in the Rif Mountains, came into view. It was gorgeous. Powder blues, cobalts and violets sweeping from sidewalk to windowpane, blending seamlessly with the clear blue sky and puffy white clouds. Dark blue stairs led to periwinkle walls, turquoise doors and indigo trimmings.“It’s like a cloud land,” Livia murmered, and it was true.
We walked the small, cool streets, taking photos and stopping to peer through cracks of light at the mountains jutting into the sky. Chefchaouen was so quiet compared to Fes, the only sound louder than the breeze was the call to prayer, ringing from mosques around the medina and joining in a beautiful chorus.
We had a small lunch of spiced eggplant and bread, and meandered past shops and a waterfall. The next day we visited the Kasbah, a well-preserved tower with views across the city and a small, picturesque garden. The city is so small we found ourselves walking slowly, savoring the fresh air, relaxing in our riad and going to sleep embarrassingly early. Chefchaouen is the perfect retreat from the bigger cities of Morocco, and the endless shades of blue can bring anyone serenity.
(Visit the Chefchaouen photo gallery for a closer look at the dreamy mountain village).