We flew from Agadir to Casablanca and joined our group staying a large hotel.  We had a late lunch with the guide and got settled in our room.  We decided not to join the group for supper but found a small shop and bought a small piece of cheese and some bread.  The hotel had furnished us with fruit and a plate of pastries.  We enjoyed a quiet meal in our room.

We left the comforts of our grand hotel in Casablanca and took a 7-hour bus ride to Chefchaouen.  The scenery changed from urban to rural, from coastal to dry farms to mountains.  We stopped for lunch along the way.  No photos of the grilled lunch but the hanging meat at the entrance to the restaurant impressed us.

Chefchaouen is often called the “Blue City.”  It doesn’t take imagination to understand why.  The blue is prevalent throughout.  It represents “eternity” because as one looks from the buildings up to the sky, the color just goes on and on.  The city was founded in 1471.  In the 1940’s Jews moved here and started painting the houses blue.

As we entered the old part of the city, several of us tried on the traditional clothing of the area. There are steep, narrow cobbled streets lined with lovely rugs, pottery, jewelry, leather goods, etc.  The kesbah and octagonal minaret are interesting.

We are staying in a lovely “Riad” in the center of the city.  Riad refers to a guesthouse which had formerly been a home.  In fact, our Riad is two homes put together.  Our guide mentioned that  it is easy to make money from all the tourists that come by converting their homes into a Riad. There are actually fewer and fewer real residents in the old part of the city. They create a Riad from their home and then use the money to build a newer and better home outside the old city walls.

The day we arrived they were celebrating a festival of colors.  The central plaza was jammed with young people dancing to a Spanish band and powdered colors were thrown through the air.  It was quite a sight and sound.

Cats are important in Islam. They were loved by the prophet Mohamed and are admired for their cleanliness. Thus there are many roaming the streets.

One day we drove to a small home out in the country for a home-hosted meal.  Mohamed, the father, first demonstrated how to make Moroccan tea.  Put green tea in pot and add a bit of hot water.  Throw out this first water.  Add a little more hot water, set on stove to boil, and then add the mint and sage leaves and more hot water.

Some of the women helped Ihsaan, the wife, make bread and others helped Mohamed harvest some vegetables from the garden.  Several then helped cut vegetables to make a tagine.  We had a lovely meal of roasted eggplant, chicken, and vegetable tagine.  We asked a number of questions of the couple.  Too bad we cannot figure out how to add a video to our blog.  Some of the women sang and played games with the 3-year old girl – Hockey-pokey, The wheels on the bus, Old McDonald, etc!

In the evening back in town we had a meal on a balcony overlooking the kesbah square.  A beautiful sunset.

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