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MOROCCO


Location - North Africa; Capital - Rabat; Population - 32 million; Currency - Morocco Dirham MORE MOROCCO

Some of the Spanish peñones, or military rock fortresses, are a couple of hours drive from Melilla near the Moroccan resort of Al-Hoceima - October 2011. I revisited Al-Hoceima and environs in December 2013 to complete my stakeout of the Spanish territories.

 

mornoteThe Moroccan Dirham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor655A view of Al-Hoceima from the the hill above the bus station

 

mor499A portrait of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI - Al-Hoceima

 

 

mor657Hotel Villa Florido on Place du Rif - Al-Hoceima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor660The gardens of the Espace Miramar, a restaurant overlooking Plage Quemado - Al-Hoceima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor658Plage Quemado is the town's main beach - Al-Hoceima

 

mor662What I presume are fishing boats set out for their catch - Al-Hoceima

 

mor663The steep walls surrounding Plage Quemado - Al-Hoceima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

penon23Three islands are clearly visible from the Moroccan resort of Al-Hoceima. But they're not Moroccan, they're Spanish. On the left is Peñón de Alhucemas, in the middle Isla de Mar and on the right Isla de Tierra.

 

mor513A short taxi ride to the Moroccan beach Plage Asfiha provides a good look at the islands. The main one is Peñon de Alhucemas.

 

 

mor516At its longest point, Peñon de Alhucemas measures 220 metres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor520The military fortress is crammed with buildings, including a church, houses and helicopter landing area - Peñon de Alhucemas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor526Spanish military personnel exit the helicopter, next to the church. And yes, Peñon de Alhucemas is off-limits to visitors.

 

mor512The Spanish military helicopter circles Peñon de Alhucemas

 

mor511Walking along the Moroccan beach Plage Asfiha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor510A few hundred metres from the military fortress are the uninhabited Spanish islands of Isla de Tierra and Isla del Mar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor506Isla de Tierra is so close to the Moroccan coast - weird! The islands are a legacy of Spain's influence in Morocco, which extended down to Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara).

 

mor509'No entry. Grounds of the Spanish Ministry of Defence' - a sign in Spanish, French and Arabic on the uninhabited island of Isla de Tierra

 

mor670Heading west of Al-Hoceima is the small coastl town, Torres de Alcala

 

mor676The area has a beautiful rugged coastline. The hilltop ruins in the foreground are Spanish miltary watchtowers - Torres de Alcala

 

mor686But again the reason for my visit was to track down another Spanish military fortress, this one being Penon de Velez de la Gomera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

penon80A slightly bored Moroccan soldier looks across the waters to Penon de Velez de la Gomera.
He looked surprised when I appeared, walking down the rough hillside tracks, and asked me why I was there. After saying I wanted to see the penon he let me carry on down to the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

penon33It takes about an hour's walk from Torres de Alcala to reach the Spanish military fortress of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, a magnificent structure linked to the Moroccan mainland by a narrow stretch of sand

 

penon31The tiny fishing village of Bades lies opposite the penon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor688The beach at Bades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

penon69The most bizarre international border I've come across! The thin blue rope just after the fishing boats marks the border between Morocco and Spain. Until 1934 it was an island but a storm washed up rocks and sand, creating the weirdest frontier... As I walked towards it soldiers from both Morocco and Spain began shouting at me - Penon de Velez de la Gomera

 

 

mor541Several hours by bus from Al-Hoceima, along winding roads, is the lovely hillside town of Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor531From a distance it seems only a few of the buildings are painted blue.
When walking around the medina it feels like there's no other colour - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor549The previous photos were taken from here, the Spanish Mosque, situated on a hilltop above town - Chefchaouen

 

mor545Goats are herded along the trail to the Spanish Mosque - Chefchaouen

 

mor599The Rif Mountains surround the Spanish Mosque - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor553Ras el-Maa Falls are on the way to the mosque, but somehow I don't think this is them.
Doh! Missed them.. Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor551A Moroccan woman heads home - Chefchaouen

 

mor555At the outskirts of town - Chefchaouen

 

mor557Blue and white buildings abound in Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor559Beautiful decoration, typical of houses in Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor563Father and daughter wander through Chefchaouen's medina

 

mor565There's plenty of lanes and alleyways in which to lose yourself, though the medina is sufficiently compact that you'll get your bearings soon enough - Chefchaouen

 

 

mor570An entrance to a medina street - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor569An elderly couple walk past a medina clothing shop - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor574A painting just off the central Plaza Uta el-Hammam - Chefchaouen

 

mor575The heart of Chefchaouen is Plaza Uta el-Hammam

 

mor576On the edge of the plaza is the Grand Mosque - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor583The 15th century Grand Mosque - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor584The plaza is very touristy but a great place to relax in the evening - Chefchaouen

 

mor611Dine alfresco and sip mint tea, fruit juice or coffee - Chefchaouen

 

mor581Also on Plaza Uta el-Hammam is the Kasbah - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor582The walled fortress of the Kasbah - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor579Local men take a rest at the entrance to the Kasbah - Chefchaouen

 

mor589The Kasbah has a small garden and museum - Chefchaouen

 

mor588Climb the stairs to the top of the Kasbah tower - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor600The Kasbah tower lookout - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor597Get a good view of the mosque and the Rif Mountains from the Kasbah - Chefchaouen

 

mor624There's a café-restaurant just off Plaza Uta el-Hammam which has a roof terrace - Chefchaouen

 

mor608A great place for a drink providing you can hide from a scorching sun - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor605Plaza Uta el-Hammam, with the Kasbah on the left and the Grand Mosque further back - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor607The Rif Mountains from the roof terrace - Chefchaouen

 

mor602Thatching looks a pretty precarious job to me - Chefchaouen

 

mor601Buildings on the slopes of Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor617In the narrow lanes a moped and/or donkey are useful modes of transprt - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor625Are these natural dyes? Outside a shop in the medina - Chefchaouen

 

mor621Chefchaouen, also known as Chaouen, translates to 'Look at the Peaks'

 

mor614Blue became the town's prevalent colour in the 1930s - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor619A very colourful and welcoming entrance - Chefchaouen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mor622And so is this one. Keeping up with the Jones's in Chefchaouen

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2016 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.tourism-in-morocco.com

www.muchmorocco.com - Morocco tourist board

www.oncf.ma - Moroccan train timetables, fares, info etc

www.ctm.ma - download timetable under Telechargement - 'Horaires & Tarifs CTM'

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
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