Öckerö gymnasium

No Blues or All Blues?

42 tired teens stood lined up on main deck at exactly 07:55. Yawning, they all awaited the moment the captain would allow the bell to be rung and the flags to be set. The bell rung and the flags… were not raised.

Both the Swedish and Moroccan flags were already set as they had gotten stuck because of the hard winds the previous day. With one less step to complete, the morning line up passed quicker. Information about the day was given: all students on deck at 08:55, the bus leaves at 09:00.

Expectant murmurs floated around the large group as they made their way toward the bus where they were met by an excited tour guide. The bus drove through the city and the modern sterile-white buildings quickly disappeared. Hills stretched out and became mountains reaching for the low clouds in the distance. Small houses were scattered around fields across the landscape that, at times, had a desert-like look. Cacti, some half dead covered in an ash grey colour, were dotted everywhere. There was even a small rainforest with bright flowers within a fenced off area. The environment changed and evergreens started to appear, climbing up the sides of the steep hills. However, as the environment changed, so did the weather. Suddenly rain was smattering against the roof of the bus and streams of water were rushing down the windows. It was one of those times where, while you were glad you didn’t get wet, you wouldn’t mind standing in the pouring rain, just to feel it, enjoy it, live it, breathe it, love it. Although, it was nice to not have to walk around completely drenched the whole day…

After a two-hour long bus ride, made even more tedious by a passionate and highly insistent tour guide talking over the bus speaker system for nearly the entire time, blue houses begun appearing. They drove up a hill and there, nested in the mountains, was the famous blue city, Chefchouen.

Being able to stretch their legs and rest their ears proved most appreciated. Following the tour guide, they made their way into the Medina. Buildings, looking to have been built as an interconnected maze, reached out in all directions. Dead ends were as common as the range of blue and white shades everything was painted in. Making their way through the Medina there were shops and stalls every few meters. Tacky tourist souvenirs, such as magnets and dream catchers, wove itself in with beautiful ceramics, painted in bright colours, asking to be bought, and painted canvases of the scenes around. Stray cats, and a few dogs, walked freely around the place: on the roads, in the alleys, and on the roofs. Although, it shouldn’t be surprising, this is as much their home as anyone else who lives there.

Walking deeper into the Medina they got closer to the mountain at the edge of town and the waterfall that is the reason for the location of the blue city. The mountain towered over the town; rocks looking as if they could start rolling down the edge at any time. A cobblestoned bridge stood over the river and a few meters further down was a traditional laundromat. The tour guide continued and at last! They had reached the restaurant where they would be having lunch, and hopefully connected to the Wi-Fi… (it, disappointingly, didn’t work out well. It was very slow and probably highly overloaded by the number of teenagers trying to use it… (but to be fair, who isn’t overwhelmed by the amount teens that live onboard Gunilla?)).

The meal, that surprisingly, was three courses, consisted of a salad, couscous, and a fruit salad for dessert. The first salad was a mix of tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and onion in a dressing. When the main course came in, they placed a massive plate with a couscous base, nearly overflowing with cooked vegetables, such as carrots, potato, and zucchini, as well as chicken. Both the starter and the main course were served with a delicious bread that I sadly never caught the name of.

When everyone had eaten, they had free time to explore the Medina on their own, well in groups of five. A big group entered a store with strong smelling soaps. Small, colourful cubes were stacked on plates all around the room. There was a staircase leading to a top floor, and as they trekked up it, a wall of near overwhelming scents hit their senses. The first thing that caught their attention were preprepared kits of three or four soaps, wrapped in bright paper, along with a scrub, hung from every open area. The whole ceiling and every space with no shelves were covered in them. Around the edges were shelves with stacks of round, square, rectangular, and oddly shaped soaps. There were also shelves with small bottles of numerous hair products, such as hair oil, at the back. All while the kits hung like a canopy above.

As everyone dispersed, free to do whatever they wished, the only condition (except for the legality factor) was to stick together and be back by the bus at 15:55. Some found ceramics and tacky but endearing magnets, others found peanut M&Ms for seven Dirhams.

All students were once again onboard the bus, praying to every god they did or did not believe in that the tour guide would stay quiet the whole ride… he did, in fact, not stay silent the whole time. But, to everyone’s relief, it was better than the ride there. Soon the modern, sterile buildings started to appear again, and they caught sight of the ship, happy to be home again.



Öckerö seglande gymnasieskola
Björnhuvudsvägen 45
475 31 Öckerö

Telefon: 031-97 62 00
e-post: kommun@ockero.se