Morocco has always beckoned. It’s exotic, warm, and full of contrasts. Deserts meet mountains, Islam meets Judaism, and life is sometimes on the edge. I will admit that part of the allure was avoiding a month of Pennsylvania winter weather and spending it somewhere warm. But Morocco proved to be so much more!
As I touched down in Casablanca, the movie of the same name was running through my head. But the Casablanca of Bogart and Bergman is no more alas. So after a day of walking the city and visiting its mega mosque, we headed north to the blue washed town of Chefchaouen in the foothills of the Rif Mountains. We checked in to the lovely Riad Darechchaouen where Abdul charmed us with his smiles and humor.
It was in a tiny restaurant in Chefchaouen that I had my first traditional tagine – a berber dish named for the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. We would try several versions of tagine over the coming weeks, but none will compare to that first experience.
While in the Rif Mountains we had a chance to meet Mohammed and his wife, who hosted us for a home grown and cooked meal on their farm. We picked the vegetables and herbs with Mohammed and learned how to make couscous, then feasted on the resulting meal.
After several days in Chefchaouen and the Rif, we were off to Tangier.
I should mention now that readers of my South Africa blog will note that my Morocco blog is much more abbreviated. Chalk it up to procrastination and bad time management. I have belatedly figured out it is much easier to recall and write when in the moment. Lesson learned.