A few years ago we were trying to decide where to take a family vacation over Christmastime. We canvased a number of friends who tend to visit fun and interesting places and a few of them mentioned Morocco. I like Moroccan food (if you have met me you will know that I like pretty much any food) and it sounded a little exotic so we decided to go. We hired a driver and did a grand tour of the country, visiting Rabat, Fez, Marrakesh, and Essaouira. One of our favorite stops was the mountain city of Chefchaouen.
Chefchaouen, sometimes called just Chaouen, is a picturesque town in the northern part of the country best known for its many blue-painted houses. It also has a reputation for its touts offering locally-grown marijuana to tourists, though I didn't encounter any those salesmen. Maybe they took some time off over Christmas or maybe I wasn't their target demographic.
While the town caters to tourists, it had a laid-back feel while we were there and we saw many more locals than other tourists. The woman in the photo above was walking up the stairs when she decided to sit down and take a break. Almost everyone who walked up or down the stairs stopped to chat or at least exchange a few words with her.
We stayed at Casa Hassan in the center of the Medina (market area) and very much enjoyed it. It was rustic and full of character and the staff were extremely polite and helpful.
There is a great deal of information available on the internet about Chefchaouen, including Wikitravel and Tripadvisor. Trey Radcliff has some awesome photos of Chefchaouen on his Stuck in Customs web site.
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