This post is part of a series called Morocco May 2017
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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

Loaded up

Waiting for school to let out

Old and new, side by side, in harmony

Tree (Argan) climbing goats

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.

They still build boats the traditional way here in the old port

Cars, boats, fishnets, and people share the road

Lunchtime?

Which one is mine?

There was a big fish market here, with lots of people buying fish fresh off the boat; getting it cleaned and ready for cooking

Busy fish market

All manner of seafood and fish

What kind of fish is this?

Fish gutted, cleaned and prep’d ready for cooking

Somebody loves the Fish Market

Hungry for grilled fish at the local eatery at the old port

Sardines getting prep’d for the grill

and grilled over charcoal

Shrimps getting readied for the grill

School’s over

Serene, with the Citadel in the back

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.

Fish and more fish

Fixing the Hummer under the watchful eye of the cat

Fresh off the Boat, the fish were still bouncing

Medina from the Citadel

Tourists at the Citadel, with the old Medina in the back

Restaurant, fine dining

Essaouira Beach

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.

Bab Marrakech entrance into the old Medina

View from our room; this Riad was quite modern and nice, with great views of the ocean and the old Medina

This close-by mosque turned out to be a problem for us

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

Old Medina

The main drag in the Medina

Busy medina as locals come out to enjoy the evening air

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 next

This entry was posted in Africa, Morocco, Morocco May 2017

8 thoughts on “Essaouira

  • Mohammed Jinnah June 29, 2017 at 11:32 am Reply

    fantastic as usual.Love them.Keep them coming.

  • Hameeda Somani June 29, 2017 at 10:31 pm Reply

    Great blog Ali. Very vivid description. Looks like it was an adventure. Loved the pics.

  • Nazneen Adatia June 29, 2017 at 11:56 pm Reply

    Good Morning, I love all the pictures and especially the write up.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Naz.

  • Mahedi Meghani June 29, 2017 at 11:57 pm Reply

    Thank you Ali for these travelogs of your adventurous travels – thoroughly informative, intriguing and at times entertaining! Please keep sending them.

    Regards,

    Mahedi

  • nasir June 30, 2017 at 2:32 am Reply

    FIsh looks better and fresher than RedLobster…
    After looking at all the fresh fish … i feel like going to Miami for fresh fish or Zanzibar

  • Zubeda June 30, 2017 at 10:02 pm Reply

    What incredible pictures….I certainly praise you for your talent in taking such vivid shots.
    Thank you…Zubeda

  • Salma July 4, 2017 at 4:26 am Reply

    Excellent pictures and captions…I still can’t believe the picture of goats in trees !!

  • Stefani August 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm Reply

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information. I care for such information a lot. I was seeking this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

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