Endless velvety green fields of wheat rippling in the breeze, flecked by shocking red poppies growing up as weeds, and scattered with patches of wildflowers the color of warm butter. Olive trees planted long ago in rows, now tall and gnarled, with tiny silver leaves. Carpets of spiky fava bean plants. Prickly pear cactus and agave planted as fences between fields. Rolling hills in brand new spring greens framed by the bluest sky I have ever seen. Distant hillsides filled with grazing black and white cows and fluffy grey sheep. Backyard trellises heavy with grapevines. Orange trees dense with white blossoms. Donkeys. Donkeys everywhere, carrying woven saddle baskets and burlap sacks full of who knows what.
After leaving our bags in our room- a damp, dark, cramped space with narrow twin beds (but in a building redeemed by its cute fireplaced living room), we finally set off just before sunset into the maze of stairs and alleyways of the town’s pedestrian streets. I was in photography heaven. Unending beautiful blueness. The stucco walls are all washed in chalky pastel shades of blue; periwinkle, robin’s egg, cobalt, powder, turquoise, cerulean. The doorways and stairs have been coated in so many layers of paint over the years that they look as if they are carved out of soft chalk.
During the day, we went hiking up into the hillsides above the town. It was a Sunday, so local families were up in the hillsides picnicking under olive trees. We passed goats and sheep climbing over rocks and munching on grass. I picked handfuls of yellow wildflowers and dug back into my camp counselor skills to weave a daisy crown.
Back in town, we made our way past the touristy shops and into the souq populated with locals to buy provisions for breakfast since we had a pre-dawn bus to Meknes, and would be leaving too early for our hotel breakfast. We bought juicy oranges, paper cones of sweetened nuts, fresh local goat cheese, and bread flecked with fennel seeds and shaped into rings.