Photography and Text by: Melvin Roberto
Hi everyone! This is Melvin writing for Nicoline’s Journal. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit some of Europe’s most wonderful destinations ever and I will share all the photos and stories here. This first post is about Chefchaouen the blue city , in Morocco, that has been on my bucket list for years.
We took the train from Marrakech to Souk el Arbaa and continued our journey to Chefchaouen by bus. The whole ride took about ten hours! When we arrived it was pretty late at night so we went straight to rest. We stayed in Casa Annasr, a cute little hotel situated right in the middle of city center. I woke up the next day and see the city bright from daylight … and was so much in awe.
The charming medina, set against the epic backdrop of the mountains, is painted in vivid shades of blue, and really, it has to be seen to be believed. I’ve seen the images on Instagram and Pinterest for so many years before coming here, and trust me, seeing by yourself is even more dazzling. There’s no amount of filters on instagram that can replicate the beauty of it as seen by your own eyes. Every corner really is just so ridiculously photogenic.
Surrounded by so much blue painted humble houses, I feel a spellbinding sense of calmness. I love how quiet and relaxed the city is. The medina is car-free and you can feel the fresh unpolluted mountain air. Coming down from all the hustle and bustle in Marrakech, it’s like finding an oasis in the middle of our vacation.
We dined in many places, but two that I remember the most are Restaurant Beldi Bab Ssour and Chez Aziz. Beldi Bab Ssour was probably the best meal I’ve had in the whole Morocco. I had chicken tagine, omelette and prawns, all very tasty. Another highlight was my pizza and avocado juice I had in Chez Aziz, a small and humble pizzeria joint.
- Chefchaouen is best explored on foot but keep in mind that the lanes are pretty steep and hilly, so walking around is a a good leg workout. Another option is to hail a cab (but it can’t go inside the medina,) there’s no meter and the flat rate is 20 dirham (which you can bargain to 10 dirham if the distance is pretty close -always, always negotiate your taxi rate!)
- From Marrakech, your best route would be taking the train and bus like what we did. The train from Marrakech to Souk el Arbaa takes approximately 8 hours and from there continue your journey to Chefchaouen by bus.
- For ladies, it’s best to be respectful to this calm and religious town, so properly covering attire is recommended, keep your arms, shoulders, and thighs covered to avoid any unwanted attention.
- When you have your camera around your neck, you might be approached by adorable kids offering to get their portrait taken, just remember that you need to pay them afterwards.
- People will try to get you into their shops, if you’re not interested in shopping, be firm in saying no.
There you go! Hope this post can inspire you for your next travel destination. See you on the next journal!12