Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Well, we're already here.....


One of these days, those are going to be my famous last words.

I have found myself a great travel companion who just also happens to be one of my bestest friends in the whole while world.  I am LUCKY! Seriously, the right travel buddy can make a trip and the wrong one can break it.  When we travel we usually have some sort of a loose plan and then just go with the flow.

And until now that has paid off, well mostly.  There have only been a few instances where our favourite travel catch phrase, "well, we're already here..." has gotten us into any sort of real or perceived danger.

Ooooo, I feel a story coming on
...
Chefchaouen, Morocco
If you've never been there, I would highly recommend it.  It's beautiful, peaceful and close to nature.  Also, if you're interested in a little herbal refreshment, and I'm not just talking mint tea, this is the area you'd like to be in. 

Chefchaouen is also not very far from the bridge of God - a rock formation that forms a bridge between two peaks - and some very pretty waterfalls.  Our hostel arranged a cab ride for us with three Slovenian tourists who were also looking forward to a little h
iking.


Side bar: don't be fooled when they tell you that the cab seats 5 passengers.  That's a half lie.  It's a sedan.  So while we did all manage to squeeze ourselves in, it was HOT and uncomfortable.  "Hi, nice to meet you, I'm Andrea.  Sorry, is that your lap I'm sitting on?"  Or maybe they just meant 5 small people and not 3 people over six feet tall plus two more average height folk?  We survived, and after all, it's all part of the adventure, isn't it?

The cab driver let us off at the beginning of the trail and agreed to meet us again at X o'clock.  Great! Then we found a guide to take us to the waterfall and the Bridge of God.  Thank goodness for those Spanish lessons!

And we're off! Hiking the Moroccan countryside.  It's beautiful, the weather is perfect and we're enjoying the company of our new Slovenian friends.  About an hour and a have in we arrive at a waterfall.  This is a regular stop for tourists and they have picnic tables set up and a little hut where you can purchase refreshments.  We hop into the water and splash around in the waterfall for a while before Roc, one of our new Slovenian friends, says that the guide just informed him that there's another waterfall that's even BIGGER and BETTER than this one about another hour away.  Who doesn't want to see bigger and better?  So, my trusty travel buddy and I swap glances and say, "well, we're already here".  And with that, off we were on an unexpected adventure. 

Ok, so maybe something got lost in translation somewhere, because our nice leisurely hike was now teetering on the side of mountaineering.  The paths had mostly disappeared and we were now crossing streams with water higher than our knees, jumping over rocks and gripping to the rides of boulders.  It was fun and exciting, of course, but it was also really tough and we didn't make it through without a few bumps and bruises. 

Roughly an hour and a half later, we were there.  We could hear the roar of the
waterfall.  We just had to climb, yes climb, over one last set of giant slippery rocks and we would be there.  And then we could feel the mist from the water that was falling from a hundred meters above.


So we did what any girls would do and got right “ef”  in there!
1- Waterfalls are cold
2- They hurt, like a lot.  How do they make it look so sexy and effortless in Sports Illustrated and on the covers of romance novels? Maybe we should've just picked a smaller waterfall.  Silly city girls. 

We were the only non-locals there. It's always a special treat to be taken away from the touristy spots.  And we were enjoying the sight and sounds of the waterfall and the glimmers of sunlight peeking through the trees. It was perfect.  Well, until our guide started shouting "yalla, yalla" and that meant it was time to head back.  And you guessed it, we had to go back the way we came.  Um, exhausting.

So at this point we've done about 6 hours of some pretty aggressive hiking when our guide points in the direction of the Bridge of God.  That's about another hour STEEP hike up the side of the mountain.  Well, if that's all and we're already here...


It's just up the mountain
and around the corner.
And in a flash off we went, through the river, around the shed and up and up and up the mountain.  I couldn't help but want to ask the dreaded travel question: Are we there yet?
We were tired, thirsty and hot. But just when you're at the part where you don't think you can go no more, you turn the corner and you can see the bridge and it charges you with new found strength and determination.  Just one final surge and you're there and you can barely believe that you've made it.  All the while, your guide looks like he just went for a walk to the corner store to grab some milk.  Way to rub it in there buddy!




But again, we were blessed to have the view all to ourselves.  When does that ever happen twice in the same day? Crazy!

And just as you get a hold of your breath and the throbbing stops in your legs you realize that you still have to get back down (you can insert your own expletives here).  But we were reassured that the way down was easier through the marijuana fields and that's the way we were headed.  Easier, yes but still not easy.  There were still some pretty steep steps down and with tired feet jamming into the front of my hiking shoes and weary knees, the trip down definitely had its own challenges. 

After 8 hours of hiking we had made it to the end of our journey.  We were tired, sweaty, covered in dirt and sore all over, but we had done it and it was great!  

Now, where's our cabby?