After a hearty breakfast, we are off to Chefchaouen. We are lucky to find a parking spot just below the old Medina (city). We are on a mission to find the post office, for Eva’s weekly post-card (Frank’s grand-daughter). Children are on their way back home from school and many of them are keen to practise a bit of French or English, calling out to us: hello, how are you? welcome to Morocco! A young boy kindly becomes our guide for 10 minutes, leading us up some sets of steps and round the back of houses to the post office. Then we walk into the Medina, instantly fascinated by the beautiful woven garments that this town is famous for. The colour and the feel of the different cloths on the background of the blue walls is a feast for the senses.
We stop at various shops to try Djellaba, eventually settling for a couple handmade by the guy in the photo below.
Taking photos of people is not so easy. I wish we could capture some of the welcoming smiles that greet us everywhere, but there definitely is a reticence about wanting to be photographed which may well have a deeper cultural or religious reason. The Djellaba maker refuses to be photographed when we first meet him behind his loom, but once we have bought the Djellabas, he agrees to one, standing between us.
This is our first step in trying to understand the dress code from inside out, so to speak. They are soooo warm and comfortable, I’ll never want to get out of mine again
Interestingly, while people have looked at me a lot before (not in a bad way, just curious) the Djellaba seems to act as an invisibility cloak. People still notice us but in a different way. They come up and touch the material appreciatively, giving compliments as well as trying to lure us into their shop next: Nice Djellaba. Now you need some shoes to go with it, and a hat. Come into my shop. How much did you pay for these?
As we walk through town, up to the Ras-el-Ma (source of the water), to the wash house and back down through a maze of old houses and a mill, we get a number of such compliments. We pass by the market to pick up some lamb. Our snippets of Arabic are appreciated everywhere and everyone is so friendly!
When the sun goes down, it gets dark very quickly. We get caught out and end up driving quite a while through the dark before finding a quiet place to sleep, partially because of avoiding guys in cars who overtake and offer Kif. Finally we find a spot where we have a beautiful, star-lit, quiet night with no trouble at all.
For a serious of beautifully coloured photos, click here – all natural, no photoshop!
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