Our Mountain Retreat 


Whoever sang “take another little piece of my heart now baby”….. had probably just been to Chefchaeoun.
As soon as we arrived in our mountain retreat we were all able to relax and look forward to the next two nights in this beautiful blue mountain paradise.

Staying at a gorgeous little 30 room hotel called Dar Echaouen, which means something in Arabic I’m sure, (but I don’t know what), we had a real treat and wonderful rest stop. Which we all desperately needed at this stage.

As dinner time approached I arrived at the front desk at the same time as Tinkerbell (that’s you Sue!) and encountered our host Abdu Nour, who very gratuitously offered to hold a traditional hat above Tinks head for a photo op so as not to ruffle the first blow dry in days. I knew instantly we had found another of those beautiful  Moroccan men. Seriously. His sense of humour and willingness to befriend us so easily was incredibly endearing.

We enjoyed an evening walk through the stunning blue city, nestled in a little crotch that feels like it is hugged by steep mountain slopes. The city is painted blue to keep away mosquitoes. I guess it works because I only saw cats. And one particularly belligerent rooster.

Walking through town was a typical Moroccan experience, filling our eyes with so much beauty you can’t imagine there is anything better around the next corner. (There always is though).

We dined at a lovely spot in the main square, up about 650 stairs (of course). On our way out, Mustapha grabbed me and called to Laura to take a photo. It was a great spot and Laura commented “Mustapha, you have a good eye for composition”. I replied “He has no idea what you just said” to which he chimed in and said “Yes, you said I have a good African position”. Click.

You can tell by the photo that I started to laugh. What you don’t know is that I was laughing so hard that by the time we got outside I was actually afraid I might never take another breath. Thankfully, I recovered to go on and enjoy many more laughs that night.

Having a free day to do as we pleased, many of our crowd went shopping or hiking. Some trotted back to the hotel a few times because it was that point in the trip where Imodium is more valued than the hash available in the back of some shops.

Laura and I stayed in all day, choosing to rest (cold, bad hamstring, tired, bad tummies). We enjoyed a very restful and peaceful day in that spot. It’s a dream hotel for someone like moi. I could “retire” and run that place in a heartbeat. Happily ever after.

Now let’s not forget that we have been on the road now for several days. We have a really wonderful group and we all get along swimmingly. But come on….poor Mustapha is saddled with 12 women. That does not come without its share of ……estrogen. And a hefty dose at that. You really have to admire a guy who can take that on, with graciousness and professionalism. Kudos to you my friend. My good and beautiful friend.

As it turned out, our stay was incredibly restful and incredibly memorable. We made some wonderful friends in Karim, Kamal and Abdu99. There is nothing like a really good laugh, a hijacked selfie or 20, some rose petals and an offer of marriage and adoption (from the same young man), to leave a giant warm spot in the middle of your chest.

Some of us had the pleasure of enjoying an evening together with our new friends. I think the best part was spending more time with Kerry, who luckily is joining us in the south. What a wonderful spirit she has. A fellow traveler and very spirited woman. The kangaroo dance was the highlight of a highlight filled night.

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