In the Rif mountains

In Tangier I left my bicycle behind and took a bus to Chefchaouen.

This village is painted blue and exploring its Medina is not unlike walking through an empty swimming pool. This traditional blue seems to have to do wtih the former Jewish population who favoured this colour as a sign of God’s presence in the sky above. Some people say the blue colour repels mosquitos. That may be so, but it certainly attracts a lot of tourists.

Blue street

Blue street

Together with some people I met, I walk up the Spanish mosque across a scenic bridge that spans a river spilling out of the mountain and from here we watch the women washing carpets in the running water. At the top I enjoy the view while some people buy hash and others hunt for goats.

One day I do the walk to the waterfall. In one of the old Mercedeses which serve as so called Grand Taxis. We agreed on 300 dirhams return for the five of us. On the way up we lost the track several times ending up jumping over stones and wriggling through bushes. The waterfall would be nice if it wasn’t for the locals who make a lot of noise and leave piles of rubbish…

waterfall

Waterfall Chefchaouen

Another day I do the walk to God’s bridge. After taking a taxi to Arkouch, we split up in two groups. While we walk we see kif or marihuana fields at the side of the road. After that we meet the others who somehow completely failed to find the valley in which the waterfalls are situated. It’s a comfort to me to see other people getting lost. We cross God’s Bridge, a natural structure, and decide to descend on the other side to the river below. This proves a hazardous excercise and after several hairy passages, it seems clear that climbing back to the top is out of the question. The last bit, however, is dangerous and involves free style rock climbing. Some five metres above the swirling waters I lose the grip on the rock with my useless sandals and cling with my hands to the rock for dear life, helped by a hand from my French neighbour who steadies me in my perilous position by which he may have very well saved my life. After taking a few deep breaths I find the footholds again and pumped with adrenaline I reach the other side. My knees grazed, but nothing more serious.

On my last day in Chefchaouen I ventured in the mountains that overlook the town and followed a jeep track that seemed to go up in an endless number of switchbacks. An Englishman I met before had explained to me how to get on a path to the top from the jeep track, but at the high passI couldn’t find the right track and after pottering around some goat paths I decided to return. But not before I had enjoyed the deep silence among the looming pine trees.

Gravity defying rock

Gravity defying rock

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