Thursday, March 27, 2014

essaouira is très tranquille

From Marrakesh we headed to the small beach town of Essaouirra. It's on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and famous for being a musical center during the 70s. Artists like Cat Stevens and Jimi Hendrix spent time there as well as Orson Wells, who has a much abused bust in one of the town squares.

It was surprising how much the drive to Essaouirra from Marrakesh looked like New Mexico - minus the goats in trees, which unfortunately, we didn't get pictures of.

There are some goats near a tree in the middle there.
Essaouira is supposedly the best Atlantic port close to the Mediterranean, so it has been fought over for many hundreds of year. As a result, there is a pretty impressive wall full of cannons that goes right up to the ocean's edge. Since this isn't the US, you can climb all over it and take some great pictures.

 We ended up spending quite a lot of time in Essaouira, a month or so. As a result we got to do a lot of exploring, and lucky for us, Essaouira actually had quite a lot to offer for a small town. We stayed in the old Medina inside the city walls, but right outside there was a very active port and next to that, there was an amazing beach that stretched for miles along the natural bay that gives the town its famous reputation. In the bay there is a little island that is now a national park, so you can't go to it. But on the island there are Phoenician ruins that are visible from the beach, and supposedly gave Jimi Hendrix the inspiration for his song, Castles Made of Sand. But since Jimi first visited Essaouira a few years after writing the song, we knew it was just tourist hype.

Part of the wall the circles the whole Medina.

The Medina's main drag.

The other direction of the Medina's main drag.
The major square in the Medina where a lot of restaurants are located.

One of the many tight streets the weave their way through the Medina.

The view from our hotel room.

They like to try and sell you art in Essaouira. The cat wasn't for sale.
A view back towards the Medina from the Port.

Essaouira's beautiful beach.
Camel rides, anyone?

A nice dinner on the beach boardwalk.

Dinner with a little entertainment.

The rocks just outside the walls the surround the Medina.

Phoenician ruins out in the water. Castle made of sand?

At first we weren't too enchanted with Moroccan cuisine, but Essaouira had some great food. Olives for days and some really good Charmwa made our time eating in Morocco quite enjoyable. We also ate a lot of pizza, which was everywhere in Essaouira for some reason, and they did pretty well (our favorite was the veggie pizza with potatoes and rice, since they consider rice a vegetable here).

Lots of olives in every color of the rainbow.

Nothing better than a Charmwa with fries.

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