VISA RUN TO CEUTA
The best excuse to do a trip up North
When Europeans have to leave Morocco after 3 months, there's several options... The easy way: Take a flight to a European country. Or the more adventurous way: Go to Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in the north of Morocco, and make it back the same day. Of course we chose the latter. So far I had heard different stories about the Ceuta visa run, so nothing to do but put it to the test myself. Incha Allah!
Also the best excuse to do a trip up North.
In search of the Hispanic Moroccan culture... The more North we go the more Spanish influences we find... in the architecture, in the kitchen, and in the language... to my liking!
Where the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea, Spanish and Moroccan culture, and old and new beautifully blend into one beautiful picture.
Asilah: Free by the sea
The colourful murals in the Medina hinting at the ever present ocean make Asilah a very picturesque, pleasant city.
If you call Chefchaouen the blue city than Tetouan is certainly green ! (Or maybe it just seemed so because the Medina was closed and all doors were green). When the doors opened up a beautiful chaos of colours and arts and crafts was revealed. As it's easy getting lost in the streets of the Medina with its 7 'babs' or doors I was lucky meeting an older friendly guy speaking Spanish guiding me around and I was extra lucky he was understanding my special mix of French, Portuguese and Spanish.
The surrounding Rif mountains adding an enchanting look and feel to this authentic city. Even more enchanting is the place where I stayed: Hotel Africa. As if you're entering a story of 1001 Arabian Nights. It's not every day we get the chance to meet storytellers in real life...
Close, closer, Ceuta
Tetouan is only 45 minutes from the Spanish border. Taking a shared taxi for 17 DH I was ready for limboland.
Besides the mixed feelings because I felt like a privileged European, and having to say I was returning for my Moroccan boyfriend which I don't have, we had a good (visa) run!
Some tapas and cervezas later I was back on Moroccan territory the same day, ready to work my way back down to Taghazout...
And stay a little longer in Morocco. More msemen, more nos nos and more places to see...
Chefchaouen, The blues ain't nothing but a colour baby
Besides it being blue and beautiful this "Blue Pearl" or "The city of dreams" (when checking in on Instagram) didn't "blue" me away. The overload of tourists and the fact that I was freezing my ass off didn't help either I guess. Lucky I bought this denim dress in Ceuta to keep me warm (or not!) Oh well, at least it did match the walls.
Although I have to say the walk up to the Spanish mosque was worth the trip... A little like Legoland. And while I was there I could as well make the best of it and capture the different shades of blue...
A hidden gem to visit in the neighbourhood, only 35 kms from Chefchaouen, is Akchour where you can hike your way around crystal clear pools, waterfalls... Similar to Paradise Valley but more untouched and even more lush and green... and of course more blue!
Unfortunately I didn't make it there. Too much to see... too little time! But definitely a reason to come back!
After missing the bus to Fez, I decided to take the bus to Meknes instead. And it seems... Sometimes the wrong bus, or missing the bus and having to take another one because you missed it, can take you to the right destination. Welcomed in the middle of the night by a square similar to Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech, but a more friendly atmosphere I was curious what magic this beautiful city had to offer during the day.
Continuing my road to Essaouira and Sidi Kaouki, having visited 7 cities in 7 days, having traveled 1300 km by public transport, having slept in airports and busses and being dragged around all cities, I made it back!
Now... I think I need vacation from my vacation.
Text & Photos : Babette Debouver
Text & Photos: Babette Debouver