While southern Morocco has an African climate, the north is Mediterranean. In the spring red poppies begin their display in Morocco and move north with the warming weather. If you’ve visited Europe when they’re in bloom you know the flowers I mean and after seeing them where they begin I’ve always thought of them as Morocco’s annual gift to its northern neighbors.
After a stay in Fez with a friend we planned to move on to Chefchaouen, the famously blue-hued town in the Rif Mountains to the north. With public transport options scarce outside routes between cities, the best way to move through the countryside is often to hire a grand taxi, licensed to drive between towns and cities, as opposed to petit taxis that operate within single communities.
We set off on our drive and planned to stop along the way to see the Roman ruins at Volubilis where I’d been before on a late fall visit. But this springtime drive was a revelation, red poppies covering the rolling hills in every direction. At one point our driver unexpectedly slowed, pulled off the road, came to a stop on the shoulder and invited us to get out of the car. He didn’t want us to just see the poppies, but to have a full-on poppy experience. We followed him into the landscape as he picked us bouquets and took our pictures. And we took his.
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