before we had flights, before we had plans, the blue city was what really sealed the deal.
there are a million epically beautiful corners of morocco, but whatever path we chose, it had to include a trip to chefchaouen.
and it's not the easiest of trips. five hours in mohammed's taxi, an impasse of languages making us hope we were really going where we thought we were.
as we rounded the last hill he pointed and cheerfully said "chaouen!", the entire car let out an audible gasp and we knew he hadn't steered us wrong.
the jury's still out on exactly why this beautiful place is painted every shade of blue. some say it symbolizes the sky + heaven. others say it repels the mosquitos. both equally romantic.
no matter the reason, we were hooked. rain clouds be damned, we spent two days wearing all our pants and walking around in a pattern we perfected: walk until our feet are frozen, stop for mint tea and to warm up, repeat.
we took far too many photos.
we sat by the fire + traded stories with other travelers.
we wandered into a man named abdoul's trinket shop (he proudly proclaimed he had been collecting things for 35 years) - and sifted through piles and piles of treasures.
we maybe (definitely) went a little overboard in a magic soap shop.
we brought all our blankets, a box of cookies we assembled with a local + a fresh pot of hot mint tea up to the rooftop of our riad and played cards in the rain and listened to the call to prayer echo through the hills + enjoyed the last of our nights in this magic country.
wherever you go in morocco, make a day or two to come to this place. it's a perfect respite from the chaos of every other corner of this country. here are some favorites.
stay at casa perleta. that rooftop terrace should woo you on it's own, but the rooms are adorable, the staff is friendly, and the tea is hot.
stop for some bubbling, steamy lentils at bab ssour.
go to the kasbah. the museum isn't much but it's worth it to take a stroll through the garden and climb to the top of the towers for perfect views.
find your way to la botica de la abuela aladdin. save room in your bags, trust me. allthesoaps.
most importantly, spend the majority of your time wandering around.
when we finally hopped in our six hour taxi to casablanca, our driver pulled over on the way around the bend and asked if we wanted one last photo of the blue city. with little thought, we were out of the van, saying farewell the same way we said hello. there was no way we could resist.
*a note on casablanca. we only stayed one night (people told us it was underwhelming) and didn't explore much. if you do go, the one must is a tour of the mosque. the third biggest in the world and the only one in morocco non-muslims can enter, it was one of the coolest places we saw. to change it up, we stayed at pestana casablanca, a nice hotel right on the beach. what it lacked in local charm it made up for with towel warmers, huge rooms + a one minute walk to an AFRICAN BEACH.