A few weeks into my stay in Morocco my classmates and I were allotted a Fall Break, allowing us to make plans to explore beyond our home base of Fez. I found myself traveling with seven other students to the beautiful town of Chefchaouen, where we would spend the weekend a short ways out of the city hiking in the Rif Mountains (we were joined by our new friend Alex, a young man we met in a local café who left his native country of Ireland to explore Morocco for a month.)
We reached our destination via a 4 hour bus ride through Moroccan countryside (sheep everywhere), a walk through the Chefchaouen medina (blue everywhere), and a winding and slightly terrifying Land Rover ride through the Rif Mountains (sheer cliff-faces, drop offs and a texting chauffeur everywhere).
We set out on Saturday morning with no expectations, and the hiking proved to be challenging and invigorating. Our first trek was 16 miles roundtrip, and many of the stretches required both a great deal of focus and a certain degree of ankle support, which our trusty Chacos struggled to provide. But our group maintained good spirits, and we channeled our inner mountain goats as we followed our sure-footed guide Abdel. The second day of hiking was much less strenuous, about 9 miles, but yielded equally beautiful scenery. I'll let the photos do the talking here.
Our residence was a wonderful home base after a long hike. We were lucky enough to have a small villa completely to ourselves where we could spend our evenings watching the vivid sunsets and conversing over the delicious meals prepared by the family who lived and worked at the lodging.
Before boarding the bus back to Fez we were able to explore Chefchaouen a bit further. The town is famous for its city streets, which are washed in various shades of light blue, making a visitor feel as though they are seeing the world through colored lenses. The afternoon slipped away easily within the twisting alleyways and back rooms of shops; the frequent hospitable offers of Moroccan mint tea enticing us to stay indefinitely.
It was wonderful to be able to see the variation and beauty that this country has to offer, and this experience has me itching to do a few more weekend adventures while I'm still here.