Hitchhiking in Morocco
Sounds exciting – and somehow a little bit dangerous. But why? Just because we dont know anybody who did it? Or maybe it´s the media picturing only the bad news about this diverse country? Joh should be carefull not to come back with two camels instead of his little blond travel compagnion (or a nice new carpet for the living room!?).
We cant know anything before we experience it ourselves!
So we use the time (waiting for the wind to change direction) and discover the area around us. Eagerly we wake up early the next morning and hitchhike to Chefchaouen. Many people had told us about the “Blue City” in the Moroccan Mountains. Five kilometers to the boarder are not much for our hiking boots. We are excited and our legs say thank you for being used properly. Our last post told about changing the countries already. Once passed the walls our mood rises quickly as we hike along the road. The first car stops. A friendly old man in relaxed looking Djellaba coat gives us a lift to the next town. In small “bureaux de change” we pick up Dirham for some Euros before we hold our sign and thumbs up on the street. Not even standing there for two minutes, another kind old man stopps his car the middle of the road and a very funny drive beginns. After our trys of communicating in English, Spanish and French, he suddenly talks German to us. Mohamed used to live in Düsseldorf for six years and was employed by Mercedes. After every sentence he cracks up laughing no matter if he tells us of his whife and him being a “children machine” or about his everydaylife. Mohamed worked hard his whole life and is retired now. So he does what pensioners do: “Schlafen, Essen, SPAZIEREN” 😀 Half an hour later he has to drop us of because he needs to manage some stuff. Motivated and with big smiles on our faces we stand on the road again. A good time to eat our sandwiches which Merli had prepared.
I only took two bites and the next car stood next to us. Wait a minute, this car looks familiar! It´s Mohamed 😀 accompanied by his best fried who is also a retiree and likes to go “Spazieren”. As if the first part of the drive wasn´t funny enough, now two laughing, german speaking grandpas chatter about the trips they go on together.
We finally have to say goodbye and a couple minutes later a young guy named Youssef picks us up. The harbour of “Tanger Med” is the place where he works for a shipping company from Hamburg. He doesn´t speak much German, but his English is pretty good. We are happy for every word we can exchange in English and every meter somebody takes us with.
So far, hitchhiking is a lot of fun and very easy compared to Spain! Youssef drives us to a busstation where he offers to organize a “Taxi collectivo” for us. Formerly we wanted to go on hitchhiking but he got us a very cheap Taxi (3,50 each for more than an hour drive to Chefchaouen) and the ride was quite an adventure 😉
“I´m really scared! Why does he have to outpace all the cars ahead of us? What a horror trip!”, Merli whispers while squeesing my arm. Sitting in the small car, squished together with four people in the back and three in the front, the cap driver speeds like a wild hornet, following the serpentine routes around the Moroccan Mountains. A felt eternity later we arrived in Chefchaouen. The adrenalin level in our blood enabled us to get away from the call of other taxis, merchants and tourguides – going straight up to the “Medina”, the inner city.
What a lovely, tiny, old town. Many cute, little streets lead up and down the mountain and everywhere bargainers set up their little stands where they trade goods of the most beautifull colours.
It is true, the whole city is blue! An undescribeable athmosphere fills the spaces between the beautifully coloured houses. Each is painted in a different shade of blues.
At night it gets kind of confusing. One could think it is easy to get lost in those small walkways, but you´ll always end up at a big market place, if you just walk down the next street – theoretically. Ok.. we get lost a few times..maybe many times..but we always find something we didnt see before 😀
Why the colour “blue”?
There are several theories about it. Some say it is supposed to keep insects away. Others believe in the history of the “blue” symbolising sky and heaven which remind to lead a spiritual life. Jews and muslims, escaping to this place back in the second world war, are said to have brought the colour into town.
We spend two days in the blue “Smurf land” drinking a lot of Moroccan mint tea, talking with natives, breathing fresh mountain air and enjoying the sunshine 🙂 It is off-season so there are very few tourists beside us. We have got empty streets on one hand but many cloth dealers trying to lure us inside their shops, as if we were the last customers ever, on the other hand.
Having survived the taxi ride adventure we better put our thumbs up on the street again. After a short while two young physics professors pull over and take us all the way to Tetuan. As soon as we get out of the car, a bus arrives, which happens to go exactly our way – to the border of Ceuta. Getting a ticket for seven Dirham, which equals about 70 cents and is rediculously cheap for a 50km busride, we experience a third way of getting around in Morocco. The bus is crowded and many interesting people get on and off during the ride.
Our busride ends in the last town before the border.
There is a huge market where you can get everything, except something usefull XD Calling it a fleemarket with many food stands could describe it roughly. One guy sells us some very tasty arnis bread. Just a few steps to walk, until we reach the border. There is a lot going on we dont understand and it´s a strange feeling again. An hour later we arrive back on the “Common Sense”.
Tired and overwhelmed by all the impressions we fall asleep immediately – dreaming of the next adventure.