Morocco Trip – Essaouira

The final destination of our Moroccan adventure was the lovely coastal city of Essaouira. We left the Atlas Mountains early in the morning after our one (very cold) night in the (well-hidden) Ait Souka guesthouse & headed back to Marrakech where we took the CTM bus all the way West to the coast.

Essaouira, which is still referred to in some places by it’s Portuguese name ‘Mogador’, was the exact opposite of Marrakech. Whilst Marrakech was busy, polluted & a hunting ground for the locals to exploit unwary tourists, Essaouira was calm, had lovely clean sea air & the markets were genuinely lovely to walk around. Whereas we didn’t buy anything from the pushy, rude shopkeepers in Marrakech, we came away with all sorts of things from their counterparts in Essaouira; tea (& a teapot!), spices, jewelery (after a lengthy haggling session where I walked out at least twice & eventually paid less than a 1/3rd of the asking price) & even a tajine (which just about fitted in my hand luggage). Ironically this wasn’t the shop we bought drums from.

Much cleaner than Marrakech as well!

However whilst Essaouira was a lovely place to walk around, it didn’t boast much else to do – in Marrakech we were spoiled for choice with museums, galleries, gardens & palaces, but Essaouira only has the one museum, albeit a very nice one. We stayed two nights & by the morning of the third day some of the shopkeepers were beginning to recognise us as we walked by!

One thing Essaouira had plenty of though, was fish. Neither of us eat meat but we do eat fish, so after 4 nights in Marrakech & the Atlas with not a single piece of fish to be found & living off of vegetable tajine & vegetable cous-cous every night, the abundance of wonderfully fresh fish was very welcome. In the main square there are a number of open-air grills, each with a huge display of fish from the harbor less than 250m around the corner. You take a tray, pile whatever fish you want onto it, pay for how much it weighs & a few minutes later it comes back from the grill. Even though the locals here were much friendlier than in Marrakech, a lot of these photos were still hipshots.

My hipshot technique still needs work…

But sometimes they come out okay.

All of the woodwork (doors, windowframes, etc.) is a beautiful blue, something to do with a blue dye they used to extract from crustaceans that lived on the rocks off the shore.

The expired Velvia came out red in the shadows again.

And the classic Essaouira shot, as seen in the Lonely Planet guidebook…

Lovely to walk around in the evening as well, though as with Marrakech everywhere closed pretty early.

The cat wouldn’t move out of the frame, so I included it. There were cats everywhere in Essaouira.

One final pot of tea :)

After our two nights in Essaouira we headed back to Marrakech for one last night, but any photos from then will be in the Marrakech post.

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