This is a monster post I’m afraid – you’ve been warned!
Dragging ourselves away from the pool at Riad Baoussala was almost impossible but we were excited to be heading into the city of Essaouira to spend the next couple of days exploring. Our taxi dropped us at the city walls and left us in the not so capable looking hands of an elderly man who must have been in his 90’s. He heaved our suitcases on to his luggage trolley and we began to negotiate the narrow, weaving back streets of Essaouira. After almost 1/2 hour of walking, I assumed we must be lost. I was mortified, that I, a seasoned traveller had fallen at the first hurdle and got ourselves into a potentially nightmare situation! I was just about to start panicking when our hotel appeared before us.
If money had been no issue, I would have definitely booked us into the Heure Bleue Palais but since our budget didn’t stretch to €200 per night we settled on the Fountaine Bleue instead which at €75 per night is much more affordable. It was a charming Riad right on the water’s edge and ideally located for exploring the city.
The next two days were spent exploring this beautiful windswept city. In summary –
We ate: fresh fish, Tagine and couscous – a lot. Chez Sam in the heart of the docks is worth a visit purely to watch all the fishing boats come in to the harbour at dusk. The walk to the restaurant is not for the fainthearted – be prepared to be greeted by piles of rotting fish and circling aggressive sea gulls.
We toasted: to a busy summer ahead on the roof terrace of the Taros Cafe whilst sipping caipirinhas and watching the sun go down.
We befriended: many a camel on our strolls along the windswept beach. If you do take a walk along the beach, stop off at cool, surfer hang out Ocean Vagabond for lunch.
We spent: too much on Moroccan knick knacks from the Souks. Don’t get too carried away. What looks fabulous hanging in the Souks isn’t necessarily going to work at home!
It is not known as the windy city for nothing! If you have an interest in wind based water sports, then Essaouira is a must. If like me, donning a wetsuit isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of restaurants, shops and souks to keep you occupied. I think we timed it perfectly by only spending two days in the city as we left feeling that we had thoroughly explored Essaouira and any longer might have felt too long. We headed back to Marrakech to catch our flight feeling completely rested and relaxed.
Photos by myself and Roland Bagnall