You could ask anyone who has travelled to Morocco which city captured their heart the most. You could ask anyone the same question, and most likely you will receive a different answer each time. Depending on where they have been, or who they have met, Morocco will shine a different light through every person’s story.
Some may answer Essaouira; the city that breathes art. Some may answer Eassauria not only because of the artistic soul it holds, but also because of the traditional fish market, where they walked through the stalls accompanied by a spirited little child, ready to catch and carry the fish for you.
Others may say Zagora, the town that takes its name from a mountain; not because of the city’s architecture but because of the desert that surrounds it, of the races done with worn out cars and the night long bartering with the locals.
Others could say Fez for its history and beauty; Fez because of the University of Al Quaraouiyine, the oldest in the World, Fez because of large pedestrian zones, Fez because of it being the ‘Mecca of the West’. But some could say Fez and give a little warning, to never arrive after 11pm, for the darkened streets can be unkind to new strangers.
One could go on, listing all of the beautiful Moroccon cities, for all of them would probably one day be the answer.
What will most likely be the other answer however, for anyone who has ventured in those parts, will be Chefchaouen, the blue city. Although Chefchaouen might not always be the one to capture a travellers heart, it is one that will, without fail, have captivated its memory. A city immersed, painted, and evolved in blue. It’s beautiful and daunting all the same. If one manages to walk through one of the many small streets come dusk, one will likely feel as if they had just stumbled upon a secret they were not meant to know. Jodhpur welcomes you but remains somewhat out of reach.
It’s hard to say whether walking through those streets makes one feel like walking in an underwater city, or far from that, a city that lives amongst the clouds. Chefchaouen almost makes you feel lost; your natural compass finds no magnet, and your eyes drift from unusual wall to floor. But in the Blue City there is no such thing as simple loss, but rather it is a wonderous wandering, as the blue thread of curiosity pulls you through every street and around every corner.
Different shades of blue paint melt from the walls on to the cobbled floors. The colour is not uniformed, the paint is not precise. Chefchaouen is an Atlantis hidden amongst mountains. It is crowned and shaded by the Rif mountains, it is a strange blue vessel placed on a darker background. Each year the people of the blue city collectively repaint their walls, preserving and breathing life back into what has now become part of their city’s identity.
There are many things of the Moroccon way of life that we try to take back with us from our travels. The culture of bartering and the people met whilst doing so are unfortunately not something easily transferrable back home, and remain a memory rather than a tangible memento. What we can bring however are their products, and walk a while in their loafers, in our cities.
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