Essaouira, a prehistoric walled city anchored on the Atlantic coast, has played a major role in Morccon history. Siezed by the Portuguese who temporarily renamed the town Mogador, Essaouira was modernized by French engineers, played a major part in the first Franco-Moroccan War, served as Morocco's main port with Europe for quite some time and gave shelter to many a hippy and flower child looking for the inspiration of Jimmy Hendrix's song "Castles Made of Sand."
Famed for it's woodcraft, harbour and relentless wind. It's relaxed atmosphere, friendly locals and deep orange sunset provided the perfect place for my wife and I to relax our legs after hiking Jebel Toubkal and prepare for our trip into the Sahara.
Eassouria, a large and modernised city, is best known for it's old medina and walled city. Dating back to the 18th century it's a great place to walk around at a leisurely place drinking the ubiquitous mint tea, shop for leather goods, watch the swallows fly and take a break from couscous and tajin with a plate of locally caught fish. Small cobblestoned lanes lead from Kasbahs to butchers, bustling marketplaces to secluded corners and battlments to hippy hangouts.
Tto get a feel for the town's lifeblood, look no further than the harbour. Just a couple hundred metres south of the town's wall tourists and locals dodge aggressive dive bombing seagulls. Every morning the fishermen bring in the day's catch to be sold to local vendours and the occasional tourist with access to a stove. Anything that is left behind or even neglected for a few seconds gets scooped up by the ever watchful seagulls.
The fleet of boats is immense. Every boat has been doused in the same blue and abandoned by ten in the morning.
Chaotic in the port but calm just outside.
The Atlantic ocean not only provides sustenance to the stomach, but also the soul. Kite boarding is a major attraction in Essaouira as the wind never stops. Ever. We walked along the beach with the wind at our backs to watch the kiteboarders. When we turned around we had to abandon the beach as the sand that nipped at our calves now pummeled our faces. On the water, beginner's and experts shared the waters and I was confused as to whether the beginners were falling under the experts or the experts were jumping over the beginners. I have no idea how there wasn't an accident every minute with the amount of riders criss crossing each others paths. It still looked like a lot of fun and we both hoped to jump in the water to give kiteboarding a try, but with only 3 days left in Morocco we chose to see the Sahara next...