Chefchaouen, The Blue City
You don't need a lot of reasons to visit Chefchaouen, the picturesque blue city in the Rif mountains of Northern Morocco. If your favorite color is blue and you love cats, these reasons are good enough.
The Tipsy Gypsies had big plans for Chefchaouen. There are plenty of hikes and sightseeing here, but sometimes life gives you the worst food poisoning and your plans, well, need to slightly adjust. We tried our best to see the most we could and not to vomit in public. So even though we were sick while we stayed in Chefchaouen for 3 days, we truly can tell you that this place is magical and it has a lot to offer. Hopefully the pictures will show the beauty of this city and you will want to visit.
Cats play an important role in making this blue city even more cute. Cats always seem to live by their own rules no matter where and in Chef they rule the streets. This city probably has the most dense population of cats that we have seen so far in Morocco.
It seems that these furry pets are treated very well here.
It's dinner time. Locals love to feeds the cats. You will see as many as 10 or more cats lined up perfectly in the evenings in font of houses for food.
Why is the city blue?
We did research and asked around, but nobody actually knows the answer. There are few rumors that might satisfy your curiosity.
1st rumor is that apparently the blue color is supposed to repel mosquitos because blue walls are reminiscent of fresh moving water.
2nd rumor has it that the blue paint was introduced by the Jewish community that lived here during the 1930s to symbolize the sky and heaven.
We are guessing none of these are true and it has to do something with the cats.
Food & Accommodations
Well, all we can say is that the coffee was safe. All jokes aside, the cuisine here is typical to Morocco fused with Spanish/European food. There is even an Italian restaurant that has decent pasta and pizza.
We stayed in a beautiful hotel Ras El Maa owned by a lovely couple that took care of us while we were sick. We couldn't recommend this place more.
For some reason we couldn't help ourselves and we kept comparing Fez to Marrakesh while we stayed there. In many ways these two cities are so similar that it is hard to tell the difference. Sometimes you visit a place you're just crazy about and you totally connect. Fez felt like a redundancy of Marrakesh, but without the flair of Marrakesh.
What can you expect when you visit Fez? There is more of the same shopping with rugs, leather goods and spices. Tagine is the typical dish on every menu and you will see a similar city layout and architecture minus the big square. We came up with few things that we found different from Marrakesh.
3 Great unique things about Fez :
1. The Tanneries in Fez are worth visiting. The men who work here have to deal with incredibly harsh conditions. The constant heat of the African sun combined with the repugnant smell of pigeon poop used in the process of making leather, is what they have to deal with everyday. Pigeon poop is used to strip the hide of the hair, which leaves the leather "bleached" and soft.
The Tipsy Gypsies Tip: When you visit the tanneries remember to bring a fresh bundle of mint to help you deal with the smell.
2. Garbanzo bean sandwich was our favorite street food in Fez. Spicy garbanzo beans with fresh lime, drenched in olive oil on a crunchy french roll. It is a must try!
3. Shopping seems a bit less intense than in Marrakesh. The vendors are still trying to make money but they seem as obtrusive about it.