The second book was The Slow Regard of Silent Things from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. I had devoured the first two books, but the wait for the third chronicle has been long and arduous.
I started reading in the morning while waiting for breakfast. The hotel’s decorative style is best described as eclectic, and the breakfast room epitomized it in its collection of African statues, expressionist paintings, and wall of clocks.
Breakfast included all you can eat Moroccan pancakes with a variety of homemade jams and local spreads. My favorite was amlou, a Southern Moroccan delicacy made by grinding roasted almonds and mixing it with honey and argan oil. I also loved the beautiful Moroccan plates, which brightened up the earthy tone of pretty much all the food we would eat here.
After breakfast we headed out to find the taxi station. There are two types of taxis in Morocco — the petit taxi that takes you around the city, and the grand taxi that takes you between cities. Since we are leaving town, we had to first walk out of the narrow streets to find a petit taxi in order to go to the grand taxi station.
This turned out to be somewhat of an ordeal. Half way through our 15 minute walk out to the main street, one person had to go back to the hotel to retrieve a backpack. Then after we finally made it out to the main street, another person had to go back to get a phone. Which would have been fine, except we had already hailed a taxi, and the driver did not want to wait. Then there was also this person who hailed down the taxi for us (not that we wanted him to) and expected a tip and even when we tipped him he wouldn’t let go of the car because he wanted more money. Although we had been warned of this by many travel blogs, it was still a frustrating experience. Thankfully we didn’t have to haggle too much at the station and shortly went on our merry way.
The two hour road trip seemed quick, the view was pleasant and we enjoyed an intense discussion on the pros and cons of imperialism. And then we arrived at our favorite city in Morocco — Chefchaoen. The name Chefchaoen comes from the Berber word for “two horns”, which supposedly describes the shape of the two mountain ranges the city sat between, but we didn’t really see it. We were wowed, though, by the beautiful shades of blue the city is known for, which is a stark contrast from all the earthy tones we’ve seen elsewhere.
The Riad Rifandalus had a gorgeous view from its rooftop, and Youssef, the owner, was nice enough to give us a quick guide through the city. When asked why the city is blue, Youssef said there were three popular theories: the blue paint repelled mosquitos, the Jewish settlers painted it blue, and the third — it was the home of the Smurfs 🙂
We headed towards the old mosque an hour before sundown so we can see this incredible view (I stole this photo from Larry who thinks it’s overprocessed and wants me to use this one instead, but I think it’s beautiful):
We did some shopping along the way back to the city, and hung out with this cool Berber shop owner who was definitely high on both life and something else. He told us that sitting in the store was pretty boring, so having a smoke makes things more fun 🙂
Unlike the busy and bustling streets of Tangier, the Blue City quiets down at night. The only sounds were our footsteps and that of a few occasional passersby.
Youssef joined us for dinner and shared more about Morrocan culture and his life. There’s nothing quite like having a local answering all your silly questions, like why do people hang bread above their doors? Apparently people leave their leftover bread above the doors so others who are hungry may take it if they want. Back at the hotel, he also treated us to Moroccan tea and some wonderful pastries he made. My personal favorite is the dumpling shaped one on the right, which I ended up buying a giant box of before heading home!
Out of the cities we visited in Morocco, Chefchaoen was definitely my favorite stop, both for its beauty and culture. The people seemed more genuine and content with life, and I would have loved to have stayed longer to enjoy its relaxing quietude.