We have discovered that while renting a car is great fun, sleeping in one… Not so much. Specifically, sleeping in one down a dark lane in Marrakech, populated by police, packs of wild dogs and mosquitoes. Being woken up by Ellen banging on the car roof where she was sleeping, shouting about the circle of dogs surrounding us isn’t the nicest thing at 3am, and neither is lying in the dirt on the side of the road because you might throw up, really regretting you didn’t take a travel sickness tablet, while being attacked by mosquitoes and being photographed by Shannon.
Thankfully morning did come, and after inhaling chocolate crepes and fried eggs at a café to recover we’re left with a hilarious memory. We dropped our car back with the rental company (and didn’t lose our deposit) and got the train to Fes, passing through Casablanca and Rabat in a beautiful red sunset. On the train we met our ‘Moroccan sister,’ swapped English phrases for our names in Arabic and shared our lunches. We collapsed into a hotel in Fes, and left for Chefchaouen in the morning (after thankfully remembering we’d left our passports in the hotel).
Arriving in Chefchaouen was like a sigh of relief; the mountains and shaded alleyways make it noticeably cooler than the South, and we were able to climb the steep blue steps to our riad without passing out.
After immediately having cold showers and relishing the fact we had a fridge, we sat with our host on the terrace overlooking the town, and had deep conversations about religion and politics, ending in – as all good conversations should – a plan to start a revolution.
In our riad we also had access to the kitchen, so we headed into the alleys in search of dinner. We found dirt cheap fruit and veg, pasta and pastries, and spent the evening cooking in the tiny kitchen before eating our triumphant, tagine-free meal on the roof.
In the morning we made egg and soldiers and mint tea, half of which we spilled on the table while seeing how high we could pour it. We hopped in a taxi and headed to the Cascades d’Akchour, Chefchaouen’s waterfall. After the taxi drop-off point it’s a two hour climb, so instead we scrambled down a tiny side path and found our own little waterfall, with no other people and no long trek. We spent the day there, swimming and jumping off rocks in the shade of olive trees and pink rhododendrons.
In the evening we headed back into town and did some haggling for jewellery and jumpers, then cooked up another dinner with more market goods. We ate on the terrace with two Germans staying in our riad, and Midel, our host, listened to Estelle and Eminem and talked about ISIS.
We’re now on route to Barcelona; Ellen’s heading back to Glasgow and we have a couple of weeks in Spain. We’ll be heading into the Pyrenees for camping in our hammocks, but we’ll miss the excitement of Morocco.