#FMTM: The Blue City, Mendils and Almond Cookies

Hello Guys !

It’s that time of the month again when you join me on a journey to discover another Moroccan city. In the previous #FMTM posts, I talked about The Capital -where I live- and we went a little south to discover beautiful beaches surrounding Agadir, for this month’s post we’ll head north for a very Blue post. I know I said that these posts are going to go up once a month but Uni is starting back for me in 2 weeks and I’ll be a very busy potato so I’ll try to post these whenever I can, but since they take me the most time to write (read: the whole damn day) I think they’ll be even more spaced out than that, the most important thing is that I’m not stopping.

FOLLOW ME THROUGH MOROCCO (1)

Random Fact: During our weddings the bride changes outfits at least 5 times through the night, and the wedding usually goes from 9pm to 5am  the next day.

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You guys know I was MIA last weekend (maybe not?). Scheduled blog posts went up but other than that I was nowhere to be seen. Know why? Because I was away in my favorite city in the whole country, and not just because of the color -which helps a lot- but there’s just something about being perched up in the mountains that’s peaceful and calming and I just love the vibe going on there. That trip was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ll tell you all about it in this post, which will make it a little different from the previous ones.

What we did and where we went

If you’ve been following me from the beginning, you know that I’m a medstudent and I talked a couple of times about an international exchange program that we can do to go anywhere in the world for a month for an internship as well as for tourism as many times as we want and it’s considerably cheaper than the conventional way. So, this august we had a lot of people coming over from all around the world (Serbia, Croatia,  Lithuania, Taiwan, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, Italy etc…) and since I’m part of the welcoming committee we had to program a bunch of activities for the month and last week-end we took them to Chefchaouen and let me tell you, that bunch of people is the best and most fun group I’ve been a part of in my life. Everyone is easy-going, open minded, spontaneous and ready for some fun.

I’m getting off track sorry haha. As I was saying, it was a 5 hour journey from Rabat by mini-bus and we arrived to our hostel (A Riad) around sunset and went directly to the roof which by the way I wanted to live in because the view from there is breathtaking.

Then we changed and went down to Outa-hemmam -which is the city center- to have some dinner. One thing that really amazed me there, is how cheap the food is, I had 2 dinners and 2 lunches for around 180MAD (=16EU =18$), so afterwards we had a night walk around the city , it was buzzing with life and energy, there was a painter, a guy playing his guitar and entertaining a small crowd, it was a mesmerizing sort of vibe, I loved it. Afterwards, we went back to the roof (duuh!) and stayed there until 4am.

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The next day, we woke up at 8am and headed for Akchour which was one of most beautiful places I’ve been to in my life. Even the journey there had some breathtaking landscapes, I just kept gaping from the window like a little kid in front of a toy store.

But you’re wondering what this place is, right? It’s a paradise on earth, around an hour away from Chefchaouen, it has waterfalls and little ponds with clear and VERY cold water and an amazing hiking scenery. Though, I must admit, it is a very tiring and physical hike, because there is no real trail to follow, you just hike through rocks and water and everything in between. I think our walk was around 20km back and forth so if you ever think of going there gear up and hydrate plenty, you’ll need it. Once we arrived to a site where we couldn’t walk anymore because water was ahead of, some of us stopped and swam while I went with a group of friends on swim/hike meaning we swam to the other side of the little pool and explored even more which was the best idea because we found an awesome diving site. And OH MY GOD! I’ve never swam in water as cold as that one, you can’t even begin to imagine how it was. Absolutely refreshing. And amazing. And just plain magical.

On Sunday, I woke up with monster sourness in my limbs buy hey, who cares? I had fun and it wasn’t over yet. We went for a walk around the Blue City to buy souvenirs and obviously take pictures because EVERYTHING there is a prime picture background, I’m not even joking. I’m in love with this little town, I swear it hasn’t even been a week and I’m already in withdrawal #Sendhelp. Though, if you want to venture in its narrow streets you either get a guide or a heck of a good sense of orientation, because it is a maze filled with little shops and houses.

My friends and I took so many hilarious and amazing pictures and just kept running around town being silly children until it was time to go so we didn’t get to see everything but we were very happy and that’s what matters. Here’s one of me where I played model for a friend of mine who loves taking pictures:

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Places we didn’t get to visit 

For this part, I had a fellow Moroccan who follows my blog help me, it’s his city after all, so thank you Ilias for all the information you kindly shared with me!

  • Ras El Ma 

Which literally translates to “the head of the water” and it’s a water source at the very top of  Chefchaouen, collecting water coming from the moutain top. While I got to visit last time I went I don’t remember it very well so this is a must-go for me next time I go.

  • Al Kasbah

This too is on Outa-Hemmam so it’s impossible to miss and now that I’m looking into it, I kind of regret not visiting. It is a classic Kasbah though considerably smaller than the ones you’d find around Morocco because the city is tiny (No shit Sherlock!). Inside, it holds a former prison, a beautiful garden, and a museum.

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While we’re still up north, I’ll show you something that’s pretty exclusive to northern women whom we call “Jbala”. It’s the Mendil that they wrap around their waists, especially old women and in small towns and villages. The original ones, that are most commun are like you can see on the picture on the left or simply striped in white and red, they’re typically handmade of wool or more rarely of cotton. The ones on the second picture I purchased for myself and my grandma. The one that’s laid down I’m used as a bed end and the other more traditional looking one is for her because she loves wearing them. Back in the day, the stripe colors had a purpose, they allowed people to know what tribes women belonged to.

3This part is pretty much here just to make your mouths water *evil laugh*. Almonds are an abondant thing here in Morocco so everything is an excuse to use them. I won’t complain I adore almost all of our Almond cookies (which is almost ALL Moroccan cookies). There’s an infinity of shapes and varieties so you can never get tired of them.

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“Who are the famous Moroccan celebrities? Singers, actors, writers, etc! “   – Naz @ Read Diverse Books.

Music Industry:

  • Saad LamjarredSinger. This one is huge all over the world, which is pretty rare for Moroccan artists localy based.
  • French MontanaRapper. Yep, he’s Moroccan, born and raised.
  • RedOneProducer. He was born and raised in Morocco too, though he immigrated to Sweden at 19 and then off to the US he went.

Film Industry:

  • Laila MarrakchiFilmmaker. She made some pretty known movies and has won several awards.
  • Nabil AyouchFilmmaker. This one’s pretty controversial because his movies are often about taboos in our society.
  • Gad El MalehComedian. Oh man! This guy is a Moroccan Jew, born in Morocco but spent most his life in France. He’s so hilarious, he never fails to bring me to tears.

Sports:

  • Nawal MoutawakelHurdler. She’s one of the best athletes Morocco has ever known. 1984 Olympic champion and former Sports and Youth Minister.
  •  Hicham El GuerroujMiddle Distance Runner. He won two Gold medals in 2004 Athens Olympics.
  • Nezha BidouaneHurdler. 1997 and 2001 World Champion as well as 2000 Olympic champion.

Literature:

  • Fatima MernissiSociologist and Feminist. She wrote a lot about equality and the role of women in our society.
  • Tahar Ben JellounWriter, poet and painter. He’s one of the biggest, if not THE biggest writer in Morocco and I loved every work of his I read. He writes in French.
  • Malika OufkirWriter. This one writes mostly about her life as she was tightly linked to the royal family.
  • Abdellah TaïaWriter. This one is also very controversial in Morocco because he’s one of the few openly gay men. And that, is a topic for another day.
  • Driss ChraïbiWriter. He wrote mostly about the colonialism that was in Morocco in the first half of the 20th century.

 

“Would you say there is a very big rich/poor divide, or is everyone generally well-off. So what I’m asking is, is wealth concentrated in one place? Is it easy to become rich?” Fatima @ Noteable Pad.

Well, THIS is an interesting question because yes there is a pretty big gap between the poor and the rich as we even have remote places that not even roads get too but as we say here “No one is hungry” meaning that even the poorest people find a way to feed themselves, with some help or without it. And I don’t think wealth is concentrated in once place, because even small towns have their wealthy “known” people but I’ll say that millionaires and the like are agglomerated in big cities like Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech and Fes. Lastly, I wouldn’t say that becoming rich is easy because you have to be built a certain way and have a certain mindset to make it BUT it’s not impossible either, there are a lot of success stories of people who started with nothing and now make more money in a month than I would in my whole life.

These questions were a lot of fun to answer and if any of you have more, I’ll be happy to tackle them in the next post.

And I wanted to ask, if any of my Moroccan readers want me to showcase their city and would like to help with the post just send me an email and I would be happy to do it.


That’s it until next time.

Did you ever visit Morocco ? If so, what cities ? And what was your favorite part of your holiday here ?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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29 thoughts on “#FMTM: The Blue City, Mendils and Almond Cookies

  1. What a great post! I’m so glad you had such a great time, and those pictures are gorgeous (especially the one when you’re in it, let’s be honest. I love the whole picture :)) I always feel so much more informed of everything in your country thanks to these posts, and you know me, I love travelling, so… this is LOVE.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!! 😀 that exchange program you’re a part of seems reallly FUN! You got to get to know people from all over the world and introduce them to your country, sooo amazing! ❤ that market with blue surrounding seems so wonderful, I'll probably be happy strolling around there! Though from the pictures, it seems like it's pretty hot up there? (I could be making things up though hahaha) and the waterfalls look a lot like waterfalls in my country! We actually have many like that and I have spent a lot of my holiday visiting them. I mostly only take pictures though 😛 oh and what's with changing clothes 5 times??? We probably have different types of wedding gowns, but I could NOT imagine changing kebaya (our traditional wedding attire) 5 times! It's too much work hahaha but you guys literally party all night long! Most weddings here take time around 9am – 2pm or 7 – 11 pm :') I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this post with us, Fadwa! I really loved seeing a piece of your world through the photos, and I can only imagine how fun and exciting all of it was! I also really appreciate the history lesson you’ve given us – especially what you said about Mendils.

    Also I find it amazing that brides change outfits 5+ times! Are these all very different garments or similar?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome 😊 I’m really glad you like it ! And I really love sharing my world with you all, oh yes it really was !
      Okay so I’ll try explaining how the outfit changes go 😂 We have the standard caftans that everyone wears but the ones for the bride have more ornaments and then we have some outfits specific to some parts of the country. So if the bride is wearing 5 outfits, she would wear 2 caftans, then one outfit for where she is originally from and another one for where her husband is from and then a classic white dress at last. I hope that wasn’t too confusing !

      Like

  4. I love this! I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco (funnily enough it was a book that made me want to go haha) and your photos are just feeding my desire more and more! So glad you had fun!

    *bookmarks post in “Morocco Travel References” folder*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AAAH! I am so happy whenever you do this feature, whether it is regular or not doesn’t even matter, it’s just so interesting to learn new things!
    As always, the food portion got me hungry, but it was also so interesting to see other people’s questions answered. I only know Gad El Maleh, but I think that’s because I lived in France for a bit and quite like movies from there. Great post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. This place looks magical, and I’m so glad you had such a great time visiting it! I just can’t wrap my head around how gorgeous everything is. And I’m especially loving the details you add about clothing and food. (I’m kind of obsessed with almonds, so of course I now want ALL THE ALMOND TREATS.)

    Seriously, I can’t get enough of these posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to write them! =)

    Liked by 1 person

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