Tucked beneath the raw peaks of the Rif Mountains in Northern Morocco, you’ll find the pretty sapphire city of Chefchaouen.
Founded in 1471 by a Moorish warlord who was exiled from Spain, Chefchaouen was built as a stronghold in the fight against the Portuguese. Famous for its achingly beautiful blue-washed buildings, Chefchaouen is an essential stop on any visit to the Rif region. Seemingly every keyhole, stone wall and doorway is painted in striking shades of azure, cerulean, cobalt, turquoise, periwinkle or powder blue. Largely shut off from the world for over 400 years, Chefchaouen is a photographer’s dream! Painting the walls blue likely happened during the 15th century, shortly after the city was founded.
But why so blue? Well, …
Nestled inside the breathtaking hills of County Clare, you’ll find Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory, the most remote chocolate factory in the world! Or at least I did, and quite by accident…
Making my way from Galway to Tralee, the landscape stunned. Broadly speaking, County Clare can be separated into two geographical regions. The south is comprised of gentle rolling countryside which courses alongside the River Shannon while the north is a rugged, limestoney land marked by vertiginous coastal cliffs. Wonderfulness.
As I cut across the county northwest to southeast, I couldn’t help but notice the crooked little sign jutting out from the side of the road: ‘Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory’. Intrigued, I hit the blinker on my little red rental …
Incredible stretches of coastline gently indented with small coves and seascapes and dotted with fairytale castles, County Waterford stuns. Making my way around this glorious green gem in my modest rental car, I spent days exploring the Copper Coast’s unspoiled beaches and unusual geology.
Waterford City, the capital of County Waterford, was my starting point for this drive. Founded by the Vikings in 914, Waterford City is a handsome cathedral city set on the estuary of the River Suir and, by the 18th century, it was southeast Ireland’s main port, as well as a center for glassmaking. Sights worth exploring within Waterford City are Reginald’s Tower, Christ Church Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace and of course the Waterford Crystal Factory.
Shadows of a thousand years fell across the Transylvanian landscape as my horse-drawn carriage rounded the bend of the twisting, tree-lined road that had been carved with exacting precision through these Carpathian Mountains. Swooping bats came out to dance, signaling nighttime was near. As the October winds whipped my hair in all directions, I brushed it back with my fingers, allowing a first glance of the home of the most chilling tale of the nineteenth century. “I don’t believe in ghosts,” I whispered to myself. “I don’t, I don’t.” Except I do. 🌚
Welcome to Bran Castle.
57: Number of rooms in Bran Castle — not including a secret passageway that leads to its watchtower.
$135,000,000: Amount in U.S. dollars