Again being very impulsive, I decided to catch the bus towards Fez rather than the train so I could stop for a few hours in a little mountain village called Chefchaouen. So many other travellers and local Moroccans highly recommended it to me so I decided it was worth a visit.
However there isn’t a train station yet in Chefchaouen so the bus or taking a grand taxi is the only way to get there. I felt too nervous to try haggling my way into a grand taxi so picked the bus as the easier option.
Within Morocco are two different types of taxi. Inter-city ones for larger distances are called grand taxi and are generally bigger ‘saloon-like’ light coloured cars. Within the city itself are smaller brightly coloured petit taxi which you use to get around short distances. Taxis are very cheap to use. And most do have a meter so it’s a good idea to insist your driver uses it to prevent getting overcharged. There are taxi stands everywhere or you can just wave one down. Most drivers are happy to take multiple different passengers all going in the same general direction rather than the usual system of just one customer at a time.
With regards to the bus, for tourists it is recommended to use the CTM company as it’s run by the government which means prices are regulated and it runs in a sensible manner. The CTM staff are usually reasonably multi-lingual from dealing with so many tourists. After buying your bus ticket, it is then an extra 10 dirham to ‘check’ a bag and have it stored in the underneath compartment.
Arriving in Chefchaouen I was annoyed to find out I couldn’t store my backpack anywhere at the bus station. The concierge office was closed that day (it was a Sunday) so I had to take all my luggage with me into the village. But I soon forgot about the weight of my bags as I was very distracted by the beautiful blue painted buildings all surrounded by green mountains and fresh chilly air.
I particularly loved the contrast of this Moroccan man’s traditional orange kaftan against the blue
I had my breakfast/brunch sitting just downstream from a waterfall at the top of the medina. Sipping on hot mint tea listening to the bubbling water and watching various Moroccans clambering into the stream for photos, I felt very much at peace.
I decided to weat a head scarf again while eating as it was really chilly in the mountain air. I had about 5 layers on
Wandering back down through the medina and being coaxed by shopkeepers to come into their shops to look at their carpets, I felt quite sad that I had decided to only stop for a few hours. I had a go at haggling for a lovely purple and black scarf after reassuring the shopkeeper that no I definitely did not have space in my backpack for a rug. I agreed on a price of 40 dirhams (about €4) with the storekeeper, then he started to say ‘I love you, I love you!’ and kissing the back of my hand. I assume that means I paid too much for scarf! Then I hopped on the bus and was on my way to Fez.
See the blueness of the medina to the right of the city?