Chefchaouen to Plage Azla

Last night we had a lot of rain and a kickass lightening storm.  It was loud and shook the building!  One of the rooms on the top floor received quite a soaking, saturating the rugs but luckily no damage to anything else in the room. The breakfast room was a bit flooded and the staff was busy sweeping out the water. We found a dry seat and when I went to get coffee there was Yvette!

We were going to start a bit later than usual because of the rain and Nory had laid out a good plan.  It was supposed to be an “optional tour” day to the city of Tetouan and lunch by the Mediterranean Sea or a free day in Chefchaouen.   We had a leisurely morning and then drove northwest through the beautiful Rif mountains, clouds hanging low, spilling into the valleys and covering the mountain tops. It was really quite beautiful, the angry looking clouds adding drama to the scene.

Drama in the sky

Drama in the sky

Foreboding

Olive Trees against the dark sky

Finally the Mediterranean Sea came into view, what a change. Bright white condos under construction next to the blue of the sea and the dark sky, a white house perched on a cliff, the color contrasts were beautiful.   Dropping down we stopped at the Plage Azla beach area with the bright blue fishing boats adding a splash of color to the sand along the beach, it was an eyeful. We walked the beach where the fisherman were busy mending their nets, a never-ending chore and then we ate  lunch at a seaside restaurant next to the beach.  Platters of fresh fish were served family style.  Other then the calamari and sardines I didn’t recognize any of the varieties of fish but it was all delicious, sorry no photo I was too busy eating.

The Mediterranean Sea

Condos under construction

High above the sea

Home perched high above the sea

Place Alzla fishing boats

Place Azla fishing boats

Rainbow in the valley

Rainbow in the valley near Akchour

Back in Chefchaouen with free time, we were on our own for dinner;  I was ready to just skip dinner, not feeling at all hungry after that huge lunch but then Nory recommended a little restaurant owned by a chef he knew who had lived in Tokyo for 20 years then moved back home to open his own restaurant.   Well, that sounded too intriguing to miss and I figured I could just have a bowl of soup. About 5 of us decided to go and the rest of the group skipped dinner all together and oh my what they missed.

We met Nory in the evening and he led the way to the restaurant; we never would have found it on our own. A long story made short it was a fabulous meal and the owner was a delight as was his staff. We let him decide the meal and the dishes just kept coming. We were the only non-Asians in the restaurant so it must get very high marks in the Japanese tour books. It was such a fun evening and yes . . . I tried everything and was stuffed by the end of the evening.

Appetizer of goat cheese and another sharp cheese, delish!

Appetizer of fresh goat cheese and another sharp cheese, delish!

Saïd prepared the cheese appetizer served with olives, of course; seafood or fave bean soup, white fish with garlic, white fish with an incredibly flavorful tomato sauce, slow cooked beef, kebabs with olives, a pastilla and for dessert yogurt with bee pollen, sesame seeds and homemade blackberry jam OMG!  But wait . . . then he brought butter cookies, herb tea and then dates.  It was such an incredible meal, every bite was flavorful and unique, I loved every single morsel and tried every dish . . . remember, I wasn’t even hungry but after one bite I couldn’t help myself it was that amazing.  The meal was 720 Dirhams – about $14 each.

A sampling of dishes

A sampling of dishes

Saïd came up and checked on us throughout the meal even though his restaurant was crazy busy.  He was the perfect host and is an amazing chef, not to mention really funny, he kept us in stitches as did his staff.  If you are ever in Chefchaouen you have to eat here!  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Saïd, the delightful chef

Saïd, the delightful chef

We did manage to find our way home and collapsed into bed in a food coma.  This was one of the best meals of the trip, so glad I didn’t miss it.

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