Chefchaouen (part 1)

Chefchaouen, the Blue City of the Rif Mountains, is every bit as magical as it is reputed to be.

First, look at the riad itself. It’s a rambling complex apparently formed by connecting three old houses. The hostess tells us it it 400 years old, and we believe it readily. Stone walls, stone floors in artful patterns.

Rooftop terrace
View from rooftop
Lounge area on roof
Cobblestone-and-tile floor in the main lobby. The tube in the upper right is a tree trunk, its roots under the 400-year-old floor.
Another view of the lobby from above. Can you see the ripples in the fountain, where the water is running?

We walk the streets around our riad as if in a dream. Every time I look up, or turn a corner, I see something new, even if I was just looking at the same street a minute ago. Vivid colors everywhere, grape vines or tree branches in unexpected corners, the trick of the sunlight reflecting off blue walls, the texture of the old walls where they are not painted, the flagstone-cobbled street, the gentle goodwill of the people—all combine to make each moment a rare experience of beauty,

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