Spring is invigorating, radiant, and colorful. As a result, every spring, I choose a sunny, windy destination to enjoy a wonderful atmosphere. When I think of bright, vibrant colors like sky blue, rose red, white, and desert yellow, Morocco in northwest Africa is the first country that comes to mind.
The blues of Chefchaouen
I used to think that a city painted in a single color would be boring, but I was proven wrong the moment I arrived in Chefchaouen. Chefchaouen was founded in the 15th century and is located 250 kilometers north of Rabat. With no famous architecture or majestic nature, it is simply a small, beautiful blue city filled with lovely, sky-blue souvenir shops and restaurants serving colorful dishes infused with charming flavors. The spring atmosphere in Chefchaouen is very pleasant; the sky is blue and clear, the sun is like honey spreading everywhere, and endless breezes caress your skin. When I arrived in Chefchaouen, it felt as if I was lost in a maze of blue houses, alleys, and zigzagging streets ranging from sky blue to periwinkle, and sapphire to navy blue… Chefchaouen, in my opinion, is quite small. A brisk walker could probably cover the entire city in a single day. Having said that, after staying for a few days, I still hadn’t explored all the nooks and crannies, taken in all the romantic corners, or eaten all the delicious foods on offer. Visiting Chefchaouen and simply walking through its blue maze is an unforgettable experience.
The red hues of Marrakech
Perhaps it’s because spring is around the corner, but the overflowing reds and pinks, from the cathedral to the walls of residential houses, streets, and alleys, reminds me of peach blossoms, red firecrackers, and old Tet memories. Marrakech is Morocco’s fourth largest city, after Casablanca, Fes, and Tangier. It was the country’s capital until the 13th century and is now an important commercial and art center. In Marrakech, everyone can find happiness and learn new things. Leather goods, handicrafts, spices, silks, wool, and carpets can be found in markets filled with sounds, lights, and scents. Meanwhile, those who love art and architecture will be captivated by Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle, the Bahia Palace, the Ben Youssef Islamic Academy, the Dar Si Said Museum, the Saadian Mausoleum, and the Museum of Marrakesh. With its vibrant scenes of daily life, the medina (the walled old town) will be a never-ending source of inspiration for photographers. Going to Marrakesh means getting lost because neither my physical map nor my phone’s GPS worked in the old medina. Every alley connects to the next, creating a maze-like pattern. Even if you get lost, each alley reveals something new and exciting about Marrakesh. Allowing myself to get lost in unexpected corners and not stick to a schedule was also enjoyable. Marrakesh can be perplexing at first due to its crowded and chaotic ambiance, but the longer I stayed, the more it felt like a mysterious world where the deeper you go, the more difficult it is to get out.
The romantic white of Essaouira
In contrast to the crowded, bustling atmospheres of Marrakesh and Chefchaouen, when I arrived in Essaouira, saw the sea, and inhaled the cold fresh sea air, I felt relaxed and joyful. Essaouira was the world’s first sardine port. In the early 16th century, Portuguese invaders built a fort here, which eventually fell to local resistance. Essaouira has long served as a link between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. It’s now just a small fishing port with a few dozen main roads. The medina isn’t overcrowded, and there are few nooks and crannies to get lost in. Every road leads to the central square. Essaouira’s most iconic image is that of a white city surrounded by pale pink walls lying by the blue sea. Its houses are mostly white, with a few blue and yellow accents that are visually appealing and refreshing. Every morning in Essaouira, I went to the market and the fishing port, watched people buy and sell vegetables, meat, and freshly caught fish, heard them talking and laughing, and inhaled many scents that blended together in the salty seaside atmosphere. In Essaouira, golden sunlight filtered through small alleys, skylights, and door frames, reflecting off intricately carved wooden doors to create a magical and appealing glow. That light, along with the scent of spices, cups of mint tea, and the old houses bearing the marks of time, will remain with me for the rest of my life.