Morocco: Chefchaouen – The Blue City

Submitted by Winston Leslie on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Morocco sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures…

Our second trip has added to an incredible experience the group and I have had thus far. After classes on Friday, we packed our backpacks onto a bus and headed to the Chefchaouen, “The Blue City.” Upon arrival, I could see why it was called that – everything is blue. The walls, sidewalks, houses, objects vendors where selling, it didn’t matter, everything was blue. It was such a unique and stunning city that skillfully balanced the demands of tourists while maintaining its identity. Adding to its beauty is its location at the foot of the Rif Mountains. The name Chefchaouen translates to “look at the peaks”, and that is exactly what we did.

On Saturday, we set off on a 12-mile hike through the Rif Mountains. We crossed over streams, dodged monkeys and admired the beautiful landscape as we made our way to the Grand Cascade D’akchour, a beautiful natural waterfall depositing into a pool of crystal clear water. It was so gorgeous; I have never seen water that clear before. There, we sipped on mint tea and relaxed our legs before making our way back down, where a hot plate of Kefta Tagine was waiting for us. Tagine is a culinary staple of Morocco and has become my favorite food while I’m here. It is made in a cylindrical clay dish and can be composed of a wide variety of foods, all of which are eaten with bread, not utensils (my type of meal). This Tagine was made with meatballs, egg, tomato sauce, and other spices. After 12 miles of hiking, it was the perfect meal. While challenging, the hike made our group closer and helped us appreciate the natural beauty Morocco has to offer. It was such a fun experience and a nice break from the hectic nature of city life.

This week, we will be in Tangier only for a short amount of time before we head to Sevilla and Granada for four days. I’m excited to see what these Islamic-influenced Spanish cities have to offer!

Blue side street
Grand Cascade D’akchour
Rif Mountains