Chefchaouen, the blue maze town in Morocco / by Jessica Lee


 I spent most of my time in Chefchaouen, Morocco, being lost.

Of course, being lost is not the worst thing that could possibly happen while travelling, as my friend Myra pointed out to me. Food poisoning and being robbed are definitely worse.


Chefchaouen, to me, is a blue maze, disguised as a town. I am usually lost in a new city/town, but the structure of Chefchaouen really threw me off and amplified my state of "lostness". I took a walk after arriving at my hostel the first night and tried to find the bus station for travel the next day, based on the street signs and asking locals. No such luck. I never found the bus station, so I wandered the town.


After wandering for a while, I was ready to go back to the hotel and settle in for a nice cup of hot tea.

It was an hour of walking around the same corridor five times in the dark before I would admit to myself that I was lost. I asked a local for help and tried to follow their directions. I was still lost after another 10 minutes.


I asked another local for help. I showed them my map and to the giant X (my hotel) marked on it.

The problem with Chefchaouen is that there aren't many street signs on the streets, so most of the time, you don't actually know which street you're on.

The kind stranger whom I asked for help offered to walk me to my hotel and so I followed him. Unfortunately, it was the wrong hotel.

Back to square one.

What was frustrating was the fact that I remembered initially walking by the same street when I first found my hotel. I knew I was close by, but just out of reach.


I asked another local for help, while showing my map and the older woman (who did not speak English) walked me to another hotel. Again, it was not the right hotel.

It's a funny story now that I tell it, with locals bringing me to all different sorts of hotels and hostels, but at the time, I was close to panic. Where was this mysterious corridor to my hotel and why couldn't I find it?


Finally, of course, third time's the charm and I asked a store keeper for directions, and one of his workers, a teenage boy, led me down a path. On the way, he said hi to one of his friends, and they chatted in Arabic. I could only hope that they weren't plotting to lead me to some alleyway and rob me.

Thankfully, this time, it was the right hotel (hidden in some corridor, of course), and I didn't come to any harm. I went to bed slightly hungry. I was afraid if I stepped out again for a snack, I wouldn't be able to find my way back again- not an ideal way to live, but there was no way I was going to go through an hour of trying to find my way back again!

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