Sunday Special – Chefchaouen, Morocco


A – B – SEE! Our alphabet tour continues to Chefchaouen in northern Morocco. My sister, some friends, and I have chatted about going Morocco, perhaps next year, and Chefchaouen is on the list!!

Nicknamed “The Blue City” as many of the buildings are painted in various hues of blue, it is set against the backdrop of the Rif Mountains and is located not far from Tangiers. This popular tourist locale seems to be perfect for wandering. Visit the Medina to take in the streets, shop for local handicrafts and goods in the souk, and stop at a nearby cafe to people watch. Continue to feel the pulse of the town in its main square Plaza Uta el-Hamman and fill your belly with a visit to one of its many restaurants. Need a break and want to be pampered? Then a visit to a hammam (steam house) to unwind. To get your heart pumping there are some beautiful hikes and the landscape looks amazing. Rif Mountain hiking trails that are both beginner and advanced are available. Make sure you are properly prepared.  It looks like a charming town and I can’t wait until I wander there!

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A street in Chefchaouen – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned By Yaleyla (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Shops in Chefchaouen, Morocco – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By YoTuT from United States (Chefchaouen, Morocco) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Zanzibar, Tanzania


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Zanzibar beach – Photo credit: Public Domain

I am a member of several online travel groups. I like to use them for travel tips and inspiration. It was in one of these groups where I learned about Zanzibar, Tanzania. This archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, a mere 25 – 50km/15 – 30mi off the Tanzanian coast. Historically the island grew spices which continues on today and retains its moniker of the ‘Spice Islands’. It was also a location ideal for traders to make contact for commerce with those living on the Swahili coast. Centuries later the islands fell under Portuguese, Arab, and then British rule. It was in the mid-20th century that Zanzibar sought independence and merged a union with Tanzania, today remaining an semi-autonomous region.

The islands consist of many small ones and two larger ones, Unguja (a.k.a. Zanzibar) and Pemba Islands with its capital of Zanzibar City located on the former. Zanzibar City is considered the heart of Zanzibar and has much to offer. It is divided into two – the modern Ng’ambo and the historic Stone Town.  An interesting tidbit about Stone town is that musician, singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury was born there.

Want to check out Zanzibar? Well this is what I found about its activities and sights:

  • Historic Stone Town is good for wandering its storied streets, seeing quaint shops and visiting cafes. Time spent at Forodhani Market is a must.
  • There are amazing beaches with stunning sunsets
  • Snorkeling and diving at Mnemba Atoll for a fun adventure
  • Visit Prison Island for a somber trip to the Slave Museum and to see giant turtles at the turtle sanctuary
  • Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to get back to nature and see some monkeys
  • Take a spice tour to learn more about this important trade

These are just a handful of sights and activities that await you in Zanzibar. I can say these islands have moved high up on my bucket list, that is for certain! 

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Market in Zanzibar’s Stone Town – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Alex Petrenko [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Red Colobus monkeys in Zanzibar’s Jozani Forest – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Taken and owned By Olivier Lejade from France (P8200036.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – VICTORIA FALLS


Found along the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls provides a stunning border for Zambia and Zimbabwe. The stunning wall of water that plummets from its ledge spans over 1,700 m/5600 ft. There are six gorges that feed water into the Zambezi. Nearby towns of Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe offer excursions to see the incredible falls.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons: Public Domain

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – STAR WARS SET IN TUNISIA


In a living room far, far away…  Okay, not that far – just a different apartment, I was watching the Long Way Down mini-series where Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor stop in Tunisia and visit the still standing set used in several of the Star Wars movies. They visited the home planet of Luke Skywalker – Tatooine. I learned something new that night – I can go to Tatooine!! How cool is that?

Tunisia, located in north Africa, lies along the Mediterrean Sea. South of Italy and Malta, this age-old country is bathed in history. Ancient times of empires past to recent histories combined with desert sands, bustling cities and splendid beaches gives a traveler much to experience.  The Saharan backdrop certainly made it an ideal place for the fictional planet of Tatooine. Inspiration for the name even came from the Tunisian city of Tatouine.

Hotel Sidi Driss – used at Luke Skywalker’s home in Star Wars IV

The Star Wars movies that were filmed here were mainly in the southern areas of the country. Matmata is home to the Lars Homestead (Luke’s home). Tunisia’s fortified granaries (ksours) was the location of Anakin’s home. For some more info about the set locations, check out this article I found here.

Now I wonder if my sister (who is also a Star Wars fan) would want to go with me…

Photo credit:  Wikimedia CommonsLiftarn