The bus carves around the mountain, forests either side, a cloudless sky and a thin crisp air which bites at our Saharan acclimatised blood. The bus pulls over at a petrol station and taxi rank before it continues on to Tetouan.
The bus driver gets up and faces his passengers, "Chefchaouen!"
After giving the bag boy a 5Dh tip we head to the taxis parked up on the road side.
Our taxi takes a left at the roundabout and we get our first glimpse of the wash of blue painted onto the mountain side. Closer to the city centre, the colour spreads until you are in the depths of the medina and your surroundings are a reflection of the blue sky above.
Why so blue?
Originally the blue was said to be painted on by the Jewish people who lived here to keep the bad spirits away. The more practical purpose is to keep the temperatures down in summer and keep the Mosquitos out of the streets.
Scientifically proven to be stable and calming!
A sense of tranquility, lost from the major cities of Morocco, chokes the hustlers of lower altitudes. Friendly smiles are just that! Navigate through the medina and try to get lost on your way to the modest waterfall which tumbles down the face of the mountain and past a riverside cafe under the bridge.
Who for and how long?
Whether you have a weekend in Morocco or your stay is indefinite, Chefchaouen is a must. Head to the plaza for a cheap meal and drink mint tea on roof terraces as the gentle life of the town slowly passes you by.
The steps leading to an arch built into the impressive wall on the opposite side of the plaza take you into a garden, secret from the city. Climb the tower inside the gardens for a beautiful panoramic view of this truly breath-taking spot.
Tranquility is hard to come by in the towns and cities of Morocco, but can be found up in the Rif mountains. Have a taste of the meditative side of Morocco in the peaceful pocket painted blue. Simply blue-tiful.