Around Chefchaouen





The rain got into everything, seeping into our bones after having done so to our boots and clothes, wearing plastic bags on our feet, trying to stay warm in hotels without heating, dark, damp rooms facing onto open-to-the-sky courtyards.


There’s snow in the air, the indigo blue washed walls of the medina is like being in a wave, but it’s Antarctic, every second man sells hashish or so he says and it must be true, that everyone smokes it, all the cafes outdoor settings, as if it was forever summer, like the people are

insulated from the cold, most likely from the hashish, even elderly shopkeepers show me their pipes.





When the rain clears, after five days in Chefchaouen, a week in Tangier, the sun appears on the twin goat horn mountains beyond the Chaouen, grey rock, green pine wedged into the rugged slopes. Wandering between the two, climbs steeply to 1800 metres, the pass covered in snowfalls, splattered across the understorey of tall pines. The view is into a green valley of tiny villages of the Rif Mountains, to the north the Mediterranean almost visible through the haze.


Six hours on a muddy track gets us to Azilane where Abdel invites us into his gite, blue-wash walls, white tipped rock mountains through the window, his dogs the only thing breaking the silence of the starlit night. There’s a a hot stove to sit around, Abdel with his pipe, smiles, eyes twinkling, brings tea and French toast, one of his 8 children calls, he floats off again in his jellaba.





Wandering around the back of the mountains to Afeska, savage dogs come at us, we get disorientated on a wet track, a gully scramble before going over a ridge and descending into a steep valley of red rock cliff faces, birds soaring in the uplift, terrestrial Barbary apes scurry across rocks and are gone. The kif terraces recently harvested, the town of Ouaslaf emanating a constant beat as if machinery, but it is people beating large drums with sticks, compressing kif in what is said to be the region of the highest production in the world.





We come out the other end, toes hammered on the downhill loose rocks, temporarlily lost in potato fields, the sun shining again, snow clouds lifting, getting a ride from Ackchour back to Chefchaouen, around the foot of the Jebel el-Kelai, the low sun shining, the moon out, it’s peaceful, like the people,

procession-like in Plaza El Utal Hamman, beside the kasbah, strolling as if in a thousand years nothing has changed, thawed out from last weeks rain, people emerged from their caves, an North African lilt humming across the airwaves.









~ by Drifting, Rambling on November 30, 2008.

One Response to “Around Chefchaouen”

  1. Beautiful Tim… and the photos,takes me right back there.

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