Morocco Stories and Tips

A Short but Sweet Stay in Essaouira

kite flying in essaouira Photo, Morocco, Africa

The day that we left for Essaouira was the Feast of the Ram for the Muslims. This meant that there were no transportation going to Fez, which was our original destination. We had to change our plans and go to Essaouira instead.

We asked the Riad Zahana, our hostel, if they can arrange transportation for us to go to Essaouira on the day of the Feast. It was already eleven in the evening and we have yet to have confirmation if there was a van we can ride. It was not until the next day late in the morning that we have a van. We were informed that we can have the van the whole day, so despite it being late in the morning, we thought we could stay until around seven in Essaouira so it would be okay.

The van left Marrakesh at 11AM. It was a slow drive, which we assumed was due to an old driver. He was quite genial though so we didn't mind it much.

It was almost 2PM when we finally reached the coastal area. The houses started becoming white and blue instead of the usual red and brown color of clay.

The beach was a welcome sight, especially with the sky dotted with colorful kites carrying people. Essaouira, it seems, is quite famous for its strong winds which was perfect for kite surfing and windsurfing. The colorful sails and kites brought color to the horizon. But for most of us, the sound of the waves and the blue of the sea was a welcome sight after several days of the red City and the brown desert.

Our first stop was supposed to be lunch but all of us were just entranced by the beauty of Essaouira. It was reminiscent of a Greek Island, with many houses colored blue and white and made of stone. The waves crashed against the rock formations. The gulls flew in great numbers. It was the perfect backdrop for group pictures, so the camwhoring ensued. Our hungry stomachs forgotten.

The initial joy of seeing Essaouira was dampened by our driver who insisted that we leave at 4PM which would have given us only a couple hours in the city, including having our meal. Since we have already paid, he could just leave us in case we did not show up. We haggled for 6PM but he was adamant. We ended up bargaining for 4.30PM. Neither he nor we were happy with this set up. He did receive 1600 dirhams for his service so we felt it unfair that he had to dictate to us our time. We tried to set that aside for a while and decided to have our lunch.

Lunch was definitely welcome. Not only because we were already hungry but because it was our chance to break our daily staple of tajine and couscous with some other meal. Essaouira, since it was by the coast, is known for its fresh fish. And fresh fish was something everyone was looking forward to have.

I don't remember how much we had to pay. It was a little bit more expensive than our usual fare of tagine and couscous but it was quite worth it. We had a several kinds of fishes, some squid, lots of bread and fries and marrocain salad plus soft drinks. The meal was certainly good and welcome.

Our time was running out. It was a choice of seeing the town itself or the harbor. All of us decided to visit the harbor. The view was spectacular. Small blue boats were all over the place. Ships crowded each other as they were docked in the harbor. It was definitely a photographer's dream.

The wind was blowing strong and the drizzle was starting to come down. It seemed that our driver will be having his way after all.

There harbor was chaos, every thing seemed to be at random, but it looked quite beautiful that way. Anchors, nets, ropes and all sorts of things you find in boats were scattered all over the area.
Kittens and gulls were all over the place. Some of them feasting on fish heads. Some were just lazing around.

We would have wanted to stay longer but our time was almost up. There was no chance to see the rest of the town anymore. But from what we saw of Essaouira we definitely would have wanted to see more.

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