We all meet up at 9am to visit a waterfall outside of Chaouen. I hadn’t heard or read anything about a waterfall before coming here, but I was fortunate to meet Najoua and Amin, who told me about its existence. I have to buy some running shoes because I only came with a pair of flats. I find a pair of knock off Nikes for 130mdh (12€, $17cad), sold to me by an old man on the street, who drives a hard bargain. We stop for a typical Moroccan breakfast, which is a fried egg doused in oil, with sides of cream cheese, home made fresh cheese, and a ton of bread to use for dipping. I am adjusting to the whole eating with my hands thing, I can’t lie. I’ve gotten better about always using my right, though.
We have no trouble finding a grand taxi, which drives us about an hour or so outside of Chefchaouen for 25dmh (2.50€, $3cad). I have been extremely confused about this whole situation. I thought the waterfall was a one hour walk from the city centre, but it’s actually a one hour drive, then another hour and a half of walking. It’s more of an excursion than I expected! Good thing I got my fancy new shoes.
Somewhere along the winding mountain road we run into a traffic jam. It has literally come to a stop for so long that people are now outside of their vehicles, partyin’. We end up getting out and walking the rest of the way, because it doesn’t look like this taxi is going anywhere any time soon. We meet tons of groups doing the same, but they’ve brought drums and dance moves. So well prepared!!
At the end of the paved road we begin our hike along the trail. We may have picked a bad day to come, as it’s a Sunday and the trail is absolutely flooded with people. It seems like it’s all Moroccan tourists though! Which is awesome. I don’t hear anyone speaking English, French or Spanish.
We walk and walk and walk.
Then walk some more.
It’s definitely been well over an hour. We keep asking people coming the opposite direction how far we are from the falls. They all tell us an hour. It doesn’t matter how close we get, we’ve still got another hour. I don’t see how this is possible! However, the hike is beautiful, and takes us up up up into the Riff Mountains. I can’t imagine how I would have fared in my black flats. Probably would have fallen down a cliff and died, honestly.
So much walking.
We stop for a tea.
Then we keep walking.
When finally, we’ve made it!
This epic waterfall, even more beautiful than I could have expected. Getting up close is a bit of a challenge, as we have to do some low key rock climbing through a muddy pathway, but it’s well worth it. It’s even possible to walk down behind the falls which I’m always a fan of.
I am wearing running shoes, some loose fitting pants, and a standard t-shirt, and I slip a few times along the way. I cannot IMAGINE how hard it must be for the women around me, wearing long dresses and some people in slippers. Literally so impressed. Mind blown.
After spending some time to take in our surroundings and enjoy the incredible falls, we realize we should start to head back if we plan to catch a taxi. By this point in the day, we’re all absolutely starving, so after a bit of walking we sit down by the river and share a tagine. Morocco is amazing. I’ve always said that once you can start to like, take for granted how beautiful everything is, you know you’ve really seen a place. You can allow yourself to stop being so amazed all the time. I’ve been here 3 days, and I am nothing short of amazed 100% of the time, obviously, but somehow enjoying a fire cooked meal down by the shore of a river already feels like a normal thing to do.
Back in Chaouen we take an hour to go home, shower, and relax for a bit, before meeting up again for dinner. Amin has a better idea, and instead of going straight to dinner asks a man on the street where we can find a beer. Of course, in Muslim countries it’s impossible to find beer at regular restaurants because it goes against their religion. It’s not like Canada or Spain where alcohol is basically part of the religion. Honestly, I was under the impression alcohol was illegal here. Wrong. Naive me. I knew you could still get it of course, but I thought it was like underground sketchy clubs. Wrong. So so wrong. The man that Amin approaches leads us to a fancy hotel where we can order either Heineken or Flag Speciale, the beer of Morocco. Of course, I must order the latter! In some ways it’s still a bit of an underground vibe, with men in suits smoking big cigars indoors and drinking whiskey on the rocks. Najoua and I are the only women around so we’re getting a lot of strange looks, but after a long hike like today, a nice cold beer is all I want. The Flag Speciale is light and easy to drink; nicer than a Heineken in my opinion.
We leave the hotel to find a restaurant that offers a “menu” (app, main, and dessert) for 50dhm (5€, $7cad). I try a Moroccan soup as my app, and again have tagine for my main. Though instead of chicken and vegetables like earlier today, I try kefta, which is similar, but better, to meatballs in tomato sauce with an egg.
By this point in the evening we are all exhausted and stuffed to the brim with food, so we go home and crash. Tomorrow, Cesc and I are heading to Fes, and decide to try and hitch hike our way there instead of paying for a bus or taxi.
Najoua and Amin were only going to spend on night in Chaouen, which turned into two, and now they’ve decided to call in sick to work and stay a third. THAT’S how beautiful this city is.