Escape to Essaouria

Day 5
Essaouria, Morocco

Essaouria is said to be southern Morocco’s most popular seaside town — and it’s not hard to see why. After a 3-hour bus from Marrakech this morning, we arrived here to sunny skies, a steady breeze and a friendly and welcoming people who are still get acquainted to the recent influx of camera-totting tourists.

This town of about 70,000 (pronounced “eh-sa-why-rah”) is a working port on the Atlantic — the country’s third largest — so, not surprisingly, our first stop was the harbor, where fishermen prepared their rowboats and unloaded their daily catches while the ocean splashed over the city’s walls.

With the seafood no fresher anywhere in Morocco, we headed to the market. After picking out selections (Dorado, calamari and a huge crab), they were flavored simply with salt and thrown on the grill and served with a salad. Before:

And, after:

A walk along Essaouria’s ramparts and old city wall provided a panoramic view of the ocean and surrounding fortifications, whitewashed buildings and harbor.

The beach here, south of town, is quite wide. With the high winds (topping out at 46 mph), there are few sunbathers, but many locals playing pick-up game of soccer and offering tourists camel and horse rides to the former house Jimi Hendrix, who purportedly passed through Essaouria on the hippie trail in the late 60s.

Our last stop of the day was the relatively relaxed medina, a marked change from Marrakech’s aggressive vendors. We found a team of craftsmen who hand-carve original pieces from the thuya, a local and quite fragrant wood. Needless to say, after a bit of haggling (a must in Morocco I’ve learned), a beautiful hardwood bowl and tray were in my backpack for just about $30USD.

Escaping the buzz of Marrakech was welcome today. Tomorrow, we’ll be visiting the souqs to do some last minute shopping and then spending the remainder of the afternoon with Morocco’s trendiest sunbathers at the local outpost of Nikki Beach, a tony pool club.

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Comments

  1. Kathryn Bailey says:

    Marc! These entries and all the photos are amazing… Thanks for this Tuesday morning break. I’m going to keep checking back, so be safe and keep having fun and acquiring good stories to tell!

  2. Guys – Tom passed Marc’s blog on to me. Amazing stff you all are seeing. I’m jealous! Hope you’re having fun!

Trackbacks

  1. […] no regrets. It was most likely the best seafood I’ve had outside of New England (oh and this day in Morocco). We split an appetizer of butter fish with medjool dates. I had a seafood stew for my […]

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