At 8:30 sharp, a CTM bus took off from Marrakech heading to Essaouira, a small city by the Atlantic. We were going to spend the last day of the year by a massive body of water… The ride was smooth as Morocco has a very decent transportation network and infrastructure. It was also scenic, the country is very rich geologically speaking, all I saw was green fields extending endlessly, sheep herds and farmers markets smartly located by the highway for the tourists to shop from the traditional products; spices, soaps, leather made items…etc.
Every city in Morocco has an “old medina”, the old town confined within its fortress wall. Once you are off at the bus station, the town seems chaotic and dirty, a 5 minutes taxi ride will get you to a charming castle; all blue and white. The first thing you’ll see outside the gates is the fishing port.
All blue boats, fishermen knitting their nets, large hooks and floats… The queue ends with a fish market flooded with seagulls trying to steal all the goods. The fishermen had a smart tactic though, they distracted them with heaps of fish heads and tails, intestines, shrimp shells and everything that would smell of fish but with a very low content.
Inside the castle, there is a corner where you can buy your fish from different stalls and have them cook it for you, a sort of a touristy fish market restaurant that is a tad over priced compared to the actual market prices in the port. The cooks and fishermen are friendly, they asked me if I would take a picture with them as a souvenir.
On the other side of the fish stalls, there is a cafe called Taros, a tall building in white that gives you an awesome outdoor view of the atlantic. The perfect spot to enjoy the sun with a Casablanca beer, they’d offer some olives on the side as well.
In the afternoon, we took a long walk in the tiny “droubs” (small pathways) of the castle. The scene was right out of a fairytale or one of Aladdin’s movies. The mix of hand craft workshops, old tattooed ladies sitting on the side smoking weed, and les”sahariens” men with their large round headwear and colourful wide costume and the yellow walls feels like you’ve travelled in time. It’s endearing how one of the Saharans asked me to give him a print of a photograph I took of him, then immediately took it back once he figured out he needs to give me a fixed address. It was a moment worth of thousand words…
Off of the tiny “droubs” there are several stairways up the castle wall, we had a walk up there by the ocean side, then decided to stay for a while to contemplate in life and what’s beyond. Think of what the past year meant and filling my heart with hopes for another year to come. I’ve always believed that the best is yet to come…
2 thoughts on “Essaouira…A little gem in Morocco”
Wow….the colours and contrast is taking me there…
Have you got chance to connect with the people? Fishermen are all locals?
Yes all locals, I had decent conversations with them, the cooks at the stalls, the sahariens…I am egyptian, but we end up speaking french mostly anyway as I don’t get moroccan dialect.