The Epicurious Wanderers!

Day 3 & 4: Chefchaouen

Following a traditional breakfast of pastries, yogurt and fruits we set out to explore the charming streets of Meknes’s medina – the old walled section of the city. There’s something particularly special about exploring this lesser-known medina as the locals go about their daily lives. At times you feel you have been transported back in time, it’s only the ever present mobile phones that spoil the illusion. There are no vehicles allowed in the Medina, so our bags were loaded onto trolley carts to be taken out to our van.

With a local guide we walked to the shrine of Moulay Ismail, wandering past the granaries and stopping by a local market selling vegetables, olives and sweets. The hustle and bustle of everyday life tempered still be Ramadan which slows the pace of life in these normally frantic markets.

Before we head on to Volunilis we stop at a market so that Adil can buy our picnic lunch. As we stop to enjoy a picnic lunch of fresh bread, cheese, seasonal fruits, and olives from the market literaly on the side of the road. We’ve noticed he’s not moving too well, it turns out he’s hurt his back. But never fear, the ladies in the group have him covered. First up it’s voltaren gel and a sticky heat pack. They also give home some pain killers to take when he breaks his fast in the evening, during Ramadan he can’t even take pain meds during the day. We drive on to the ruins of Volubilis, Adil has decided that lying on the back seat of the bus night help his back, I’ve now been promoted to front seat with the driver. Sadly I don’t think my tour commentary is quite at the level of Adil. Once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, the remains make an undeniably impressive sight. Here a local guide showed us around, providing expert knowledge, and helping us imagine the bustling city that once was. From here we head to Chefchaouen, again as we travel the countryside changes, the temperature also drops noticeably from mid 30’s at Volubilis to low 20’s as we reach our stop.

Nestled high in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is famous for its buildings washed in bright shades of blue – this is undeniably one of the world’s prettiest cities. Our hotel is set high above the town with amazing views out over the valley below. After dinner another traveller, Chuck, and I head to the roof top to try our hand at a little star trail photography. Give this is my first time trying this I’m fairly impressed with the results.

The next morning after breakfast we set out to discover Chefchaouen beneath the blue during a tour of the medina with a local guide. We meandered the winding alleyways, cobbled plazas and unique doorways and find out what makes the city so alluring, there is a photo opportunity around every corner. After a while I have to put the camera away and just let my eyes take in this fascinating place. Our lunch stop sees us go to almost the bottom of the town, there head 5 flights up to a roof top terrace. The food was amazing, it just kept coming, bowl after bowl of fresh tasty dishes showcasing the best of local cuisine. We’re beginning to feel a little like mountain goats! We stop off for a tasting of goat’s cheese – there’s no shortage of goats in Chefchaouen and this soft, creamy goat’s cheese is some of Morocco’s best. It’s delicate flavours put cheese loves into a very chilled state.

With the afternoon free for us to explore we headed back to the hotel for a swim and some down time. The plan being to head into town later for dinner and some photo opportunities. But as with all plans some times they just don’t work. I decided that a quick dose of gastro was my plan, so at 4 in the afternoon I called it quit for the day. Luckily after a few visits to the big white bowl and about 16 hours sleep I’m feeling better and hopefully ready to tackle the rest of out adventure.

Today we head for Fes, lets see what the road shares with us today.