مرحبا, everyone. For those of you not fluent in Arabic like us, that’s hello. In Arabic.
I’m kidding, let’s move on. bean+nash spent last weekend sipping Moroccan tea and bartering for low-priced goodies and we loved every minute of it. We explored Chefchaouen and Assilah, both in northern Morocco. We conveniently forgot about the language barrier; while we both speak Spanish and English (English TBD), most Moroccans do not. Spanish is spoken here and there, but Arabic is the dominant language. We gave it our best shot. And by that I mean we did a lot of smiling, nodding, and gesturing. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend.
Our first full day started with a tour of the blue city, also known as Chefchaouen (I spell that differently every time I type it and have yet to actually say it correctly). We had this awesome Moroccan guide who spoke more languages than he had teeth (guy was dope). Apparently the city is blue because it keeps the bugs away (…unsure, but it sounds good so we’ll stick with it.) The city is beautiful, millions of shades of blue and winding alleys and decorative doors. Practically every corner is a photo opp, which is why we returned with about 2000 photos of alleys and doors.
After seeing a view of the entire city sprawled on the hillside (see above), we stopped for lunch in a plaza. Lunch was a great salad (no atún aka tuna), stewed chicken and spicy rice, followed by fruit. After that we wandered around the streets for awhile and practiced our bartering. The first try was a complete joke, with us timidly suggesting a price that was way too low and the vendors responding with a price that was probably still too high (we bought it anyway). As the afternoon went on we got better and actually came away with some great finds. Caroline got a rug/throw/blanket for her room (she has yet to decide what to use it for), and everyone got Moroccan oil for their hair, kohl eyeliner, and various rings and bracelets. Really awesome, authentic pieces! WOO.
Fun story: We were told that there was an artisan market to be explored in Chefchaouen and we were determined to sniff it out. Who doesn’t love a good artisan market? We asked a local where it was and he kindly proceeded to lead us to what we thought was the market. After walking with him for about 20 seconds, he led us to a room that appeared to be full of men. Without saying a word to one another, the four of us sprinted out of there as fast as our feet could move. We’re not sure what was in that market, but we wanted no part of it. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, we’re smart, we swear.
Taken 3 in theaters this summer.
Our second day began with camel rides, which were fairly terrifying, and a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean from the shores of Tangiers (^^see very first pic). After that we visited Assilah, a beach town that was super blue like Chefchaouen but also very white. For all those who HAVEN’T been to Assilah (only the hottest travel destination of 2013, god), picture a tasteful combination of Santorini and Chefchaouen. We were only there for a short while but what little time we had was spent perfecting our bartering, drinking more tea, and checking out an adorable bakery that sold THE BEST cookies to have with the aforementioned crack tea. The Moroccan cookie is perfectly sweet, subtly flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth flaky, and the ideal complement to tea. Or coffee. Or water. Or air. If you’re not a tea and cookies person, go to Morocco, then we’ll talk.
We left Morocco thoroughly exhausted and very satisfied. While we love Sevilla, it’s always nice to get away for a weekend. Up next for Gabby is a weekend in Extremadura where she will be hiking 10 miles. LOL. Caroline’s weekend destination is TBD (#abroad #carpediem #spontaneity).
PS. We’ve got some awesome new music for you. Morning Bear is a band lead by an awesome guy who we met here in Sevsev. He plays “orchestral Indie Folk characterized by highly dynamic compositions.” Check it out if you know what’s good for you.
-C and G