Helen goes to Morocco Day 6 – Chefchaouen & Fez

Today was an exploring and driving day. We started off with a walking tour of Chefchaouen which saw us walk from our hotel at the top of the hill and meander through the streets down through to the roundabout at the where the old catholic church was where we met Ibby & our bus to start the drive to Fez which would be about 4hrs in total.

With our little band of walkers we left our hotel at the top of the hill with our local guide and meandered down through the town, stopping here and there to listen to stories of the city, to look at interesting building details and to learn bits of the history of Chefchaouen. It was quite interesting seeing the city in the morning light compared to the late afternoon light that we had explored it in yesterday. The cats were a lot more active this morning and it was a little bit fun to try to capture photos of them as they basked in the morning sun.

Our tour of Chefchaouen lasted about 1hr 40mins or so and when we got down to the roundabout at the bottom of Boulevard Hassan II, we waited for Ibby & the bus to arrive and then we all quickly jumped in the bus in a reverse stop, drop and roll manoeuvre to not hold up the traffic behind us too much.

We then drove up out of town a little way to a patch of road where we were able to look back on Chefchaouen from the opposite side compared to the view from our hotel.

It was then time to drive again, this drive again was through quite a few areas of changing vegetation and geology. There was one section in particular, where I reckon if you switched the side of the road we were driving on and the signs etc, you could almost have thought you were in Australia. I hope from the clips I’ve strung together below, you might be able to get some of this feeling.

We stopped roughly halfway between Chefchaouen and Fez for a lunch stop. This was a hotel that also quite sizeable restaurant area for travellers attached. One thing that was sad to see here and in many other places on our travels was the sheer amount of water in plastic bottles. Yes, it provides a safe clean water for consumption, but the sheer amount of plastic was crazy. We had all brought water filters with us to use to reduce our plastic use throughout the trip, but we saw many other travellers who weren’t. Further the water security for locals is another concern.

After leaving our lunch spot, we started to drive through more and more grain & fodder cropping fields on rolling hills. It was quite interesting to see these crops grown on large rolling hills, not at all like the wide flat broad acre fields at home. We also started to drive through more and more olive orchids which were quite soothing to drive past with the olive grey leaves dancing and shimmering in the sun and breeze.

Barrage Sidi Chahed is a large dam that was built in the late 90s and wow what a sight it was to see. The colours on the hills, the colours in the water and the wide variety of activities happening round and on the dam. I would loved to have gone on a walk around the banks of the dam.

After a short break here to take in the marvellous view it was back in the bus for a short (50 minute) drive into Fez.

We stopped along the way and Brahim picked up some pomegranates for us to share. They were quite a different fruit to the poms we get at home, this was much a more tart taste and as you can see in the photo quite paler flesh. Still, I would eat it again.

After we checked into our hotel in Fez (Hotel Batha), Mum & I were quick to go out for a walk through the Medina and have a bit of explore. We were not ones to rest!

We had a good meander through the Medina and discovered that the in game map in Pokemon Go, was much better to use to navigate the Medina than Google Maps was! Pokemon Go uses Open Street Maps as the base for most of its in game mapping. One of the most interesting places we stopped at was a mincing shop. It was a man with 5 or 6 industrial size mincers that we watched people bring nuts etc to him to grind. We watched one lady who brought various bags of nuts and sugar to him which he then ground together and gave back to her, which she would then use to bake a lot of sweets. It was very, very, very, very interesting. I also stopped at one sweets shop to buy myself a birthday “cake” of sorts and you will get to see the photo tomorrow.

We came back to the hotel for a freshen up before dinner and then after dinner, we went out again, taking a small band of merry travellers to go back up to the Blue Gate (Bab Bou Jeloud) to see it at night. Oh it was nice to see at night 😀 and to see the differing hustle and bustle of the medina at night compared to the afternoon.

Tomorrow brings a day of exploring Fez.

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