the blue pearl (part one)

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chefchaouen, morocco - a little town nestled into the rif mountains - has got to be one of the very most special spots on earth. it is nicknamed “the blue pearl” - and it is definitely both azure and a treasure. almost every exterior wall and door (any many roads/alleys themselves!) in the medina of chaouen is painted some shade of blue - cobalt or cerulean or navy or turquoise or sapphire … and something about that density of colour makes this place just magical. buildings were first painted blue in the 15th century and the custom is believed to have started as a way to distinguish the city as having many jewish dwellers. blue symbolizes the sky, and by extension god and heaven - so it’s a reminder to live a spiritual life. apparently it was eventually discovered that the blue colour kept mosquitos away (it was thought the little bugs mistook the buildings for running water!), so blue continued!

chefchaouen was the city in morocco i was most excited to visit, and our experience there (despite soooo much rain) did not disappoint. it was a feast for the eyes and the camera lens. really just such, such a special spot on earth. 

our first thirty six hours in chaouen included pretty much non-stop rain. so, so much constant rain. we spent good chunks of time in cozy restaurants and many different rug shops, trying to stay dry (and pick out a rug to bring home!). we did brave the streets and alleys with our umbrellas enough to snap looooads of pictures (i couldn’t help myself!) and get a good sense for the little city. 

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^^ the view from the terrace of our guesthouse. foggy, pretty, blue town! ^^
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^^ can you see the streams of rainwater?! It was pouring when we arrived in chefchaouen after a bus ride from fes. but we were immediately enamored with the blue pearl and so excited to be there! ^^
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^^ the streets were pretty empty as we wandered around … just a few locals under umbrellas here and there! ^^
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^^ i guess these guys missed the blue memo?! ha! still so pretty in green under that orange tree! and i adore the colourful moroccan rugs hung on the blue walls! ^^
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^^ on our first night, ian got his face shaved at this tiny little barbershop hidden in chefchaouen’s blue alleys. we kind of have a random tradition of ian getting his hair cut and/or face shaved in foreign countries - it’s just a fun (and usually cheap!) experience. before the shave, ian’s beard was the longest it has been i think in his whole life! ^^
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^^ how splendidly perfect is this setup on the terrace of our guesthouse?! i was obsessed. ^^
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^^ eventually we did run into groups of tourists. it was quite amusing to watch them take photographs (i’m sure we are quite amusing to watch snapping pictures as well!) ^^IMG 9200 JPG IMG 9221 JPGIMG 9223 JPG
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^^ i loved seeing these bags of multi-colored paint dyes in the corner shops around town. ^^
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we woke up early on our second (and last) morning in chaouen because the weather forecast said - for the first time since our arrival! - less than 100% chance of rain. and we lucked out with a few dry hours!
so more very blue pictures coming next :)  

4 comments:

  1. Wow! What a magical looking place! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Is there significance to the sort of key-hole shapes outlined on doors, or the actual door itself? (There's a picture of Ian standing in front of one, where the house number is 1991) It's so unusual, but seems to be very common there.
    I think all the blue is magical, too. It is very much like the blues seen in some Jewish celebrations, such as Hannukah.

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  3. Enchanting. And I must know- where is your fabulous and cozy sweater with the tassels from?!

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    1. it was £3! i got it at a store here in the uk called primark.

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