Monday, March 18, 2013

Winter Break, part 2

I don't feel like writing much, but I will post some pictures of our trip. We drove up north, to Assilah, Tanger, and Chefchaouen.

Assilah is a small seaside town, originally a Portuguese port. The medina was small and almost entirely empty (it was Friday) except for Spanish tourists. It was really nice.

some statue

Every year there's a mural festival.

We then went to the Cave of Hercules, where the hero slept before performing one of his Labors. (Morocco's Atlas mountains are where, according to the myths, Atlas held up the sky.) The cave has a famous window looking over the sea, which apparently is shaped like Africa.

or something
Spain on the horizon?
Just a few miles past the cave we came to Tanger (Tangier, Tangiers, طنجة, Τιγγίς), one of the country's main ports. For a long time is was an international zone, frequented by the wealthiest Europeans and Americans and known for its lavish parties. Paul Bowles, Allen Ginsberg, and other important American writers spent time here.

We visited the American Legation, a building given to the new United States for their diplomatic presence and used until just a couple of decades ago. It now houses a museum.

From Tanger we drove south, into the Rif mountains and to the town of Chefchaouen. Chaouen is known for two things: its blue buildings, and hashish. In fact, most of Europe's cannabis comes from this mountain range. (I didn't actually get any offers.) But the town was beautiful. It was swarming with tourists, but still much friendlier than Tanger or Rabat.

The whole town is blue and purple.
Ras el-Ma', a spring just outside of town
inside the Casbah

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