After the busy-ness of Marrakech, we said our goodbye’s to Oussama and the staff at Riad Argan, retrieved our car from the parking lot outside the Marrakech Medina, and started driving to Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. We passed through several towns and closer to Essaouira, we came across lots of Argan Trees; apparently, this area of Morocco has the ideal climate for Argan trees. The nuts from the Argan tree are harvested by a lot of coops in this area, and the 2 outer shells of the Argan nut are cracked/removed. The nuts are then processed in different ways to produce oil for consumption, for cosmetic use etc. Apparently, goats also love the Argan nuts and climb the Argan trees to eat the nuts. On this road, I got stopped twice by the police; once for a routine check of papers, and once for overtaking another vehicle when there was a solid while line dividing the 2 lanes. This time, the cop wanted a fine of 400 Dhirams or approx. $40. I did my usual pleading of ignorant tourist, spending money to help Moroccan economy and people etc; and the fine came down to $15. I kept going, and the policeman let us go with a smile 🙂 . I am successful sometimes 🙂
Some pics below on our journey
We arrived in Essaouira, and headed to the port area, parked and walked to the old port.
Essaouira is an exceptional example of an ancient 1st century establishment, with a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European (Portuguese) military architecture in a North African context. Since its foundation, it has played a major role over the centuries as an international trading seaport, linking Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa with Europe and the rest of the world. The town is also an example of a multicultural center as proven by the coexistence, since its foundation, of diverse ethnic groups, such as the Amazighs (Berbers), Arabs, Africans, and Europeans as well as multi-confessional (Muslim, Christian and Jewish) religions that have lived in peace and harmony for thousands of years.
Fish lunch ready, complete with salad and Harissa, the Moroccan hot sauce. Harissa recipes vary between regions, but a standard version includes a blend of hot chili peppers (which are often smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Tomatoes and rose petals are also common ingredients.
It was time to find our hotel, so called and got directions. We were told to park at Bab Marrakech, and then ask for directions to Riad Daimant Blanc. The offline GPS did indeed get us to the Bab (old Medina gate) safely. Parked, and got a guy with a cart to take our luggage and guide us to the Riad.
After freshening up in our Riad, we went back into the Medina. This Medina was a lot better laid out compared to Fes, Meknes and Marrakech Medina’s. This one had straight streets at right angles to each other; no meandering and so easy to find one’s way around. It was also much smaller, so that helped no doubt. Must be the European influence
We went to look for a nice place for seafood dinner, and found a good one in the Medina. Then hit the sack. That night (pre-dawn next morning), got woken up by the early morning Adhan (call for prayer) from the nearby mosque. It was quite loud, but they don’t last long. This one, however, went on and on; the whole morning prayer was broadcast over the loudspeakers, and we had unknowingly left the window slightly open, and so did not get much sleep. The thought came to us that maybe Ramadhan had started but that was not the case. Somehow this mosque decided that if they were not sleeping, neither should anyone else ☹
Safi, El Jadida and Casablanca nextThis entry was posted in Africa, Morocco, Morocco May 2017