0328. A Beautiful Mountaintop City (Mor 161--new)

Ouazzane Travel Blog

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After Arbaoua, I am sandwiched between two rather sucky towns that I’ve already parkbenched: Souk el Arba and Ksar el Kebir.  I decide to zip back on down to Souk el Arba and go on to somewhere else from there.  So I do, and within minutes I’m on my way to Ouezzane. 

Ouezzane is a bold type city heading towards Chefchaouan, one of my last bold type undiscovered cities in the north—so I am pretty excited about it… And it definitely doesn’t disappoint.  From a distance, I can see this white, crowded city snuggled up against a forest on top of a mountain ridge, and I know it’s going to be a fun place to explore…

I get off the taxi and head up the Main Street—well, it’s just about the ONLY street that cuts through the heart of Ouezzane, making it very, very crowded.

  Soon I find a cheap, but clean and beautifully decorated hotel—it looks liked it is really catering to tourist, even though it doesn’t seem like there are any tourists in Ouezzane. 

I quickly head out to explore the city before dusk.  I enter a gate into the old medina which is built along the steep hillside and zigzagged my way up the alleys through a mix of colors and architecture.  Ouezzane seems a bit confused as to what kind of medina it wants to be—sometimes it’s an earthy yellow of central Morocco, sometimes it’s the white and blue of the north and the coast—but it all seems to contribute to Ouezzane’s chaotic charm…

And then, suddenly, the city stops and the forest begins… but fortunately, there’s a lovely clearing first where I can get some great clips of the city.

   A gang of boys coming down from the hilltop where apparently they were playing soccer stop to listen.  I ask them who chases the ball when it goes down the hill… they say they’re REAL careful about that! 

So we watch the sun set over a magnificent view of the city and surrounding hills…

Afterwards, I head back to explore the town a bit more… Down the hill there is a small modern district where I find a juice bar with my favourite yoghurt and fruit dish… I head back up to the old medina where I ditch my guitar at my hotel and struggle my way through Main Street that is getting more and more crowded by the minute. 

Finally I reach the edge of town where I take a break…

On my way back, I try to find an alternate alley up on the hillside—but pretty much all the alleys are just vertical—going up and down the hillside towards Main Street… No problem… it’s a pleasant, jolly crowd…

Next day, there’s a dry, hot wind blowing in through my window.

  It’s one of Morocco’s infamous “Easterlies”—desert sandstorms.  I got used to these down in Agadir, but wouldn’t expect to experience one up here in the forested mountains.  No trouble, I’m determined to complete my exploration of Ouezzane anyways.  I head out towards the west side of town where you climb up another ridge to where a finger of the the city follows the mountaintop for a mile or so… I get bathed in dust and my eyes are burning—but hey, everyone else seems to be putting up with it… I find another cool labyrinth of alleyways and mountain paths connecting the neighbourhoods as I search for an alternate way back into town.

Back in town, Wednesday market is well underway.  In fact, the entire city of Ouezzane has been turned into one massive marketplace… It seems that every street is clogged with vendors and shoppers as folks from the entire mountain region come to shop…

After soaking in the market experience for a while, I set on my way… 


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photo by: n8-hunter