27 January 2011

Bliss n Essaouira

Essaouira. Wow, have you ever seen so many vowels grouped together like that?

Ed and I caught a bus to Essaouira from Marrakech. We spent our first hour there following a local lady who escorted us to a number of riads and hotels. We were quite indecisive about where we wanted to stay; we wanted somewhere cheap, but also something near the beach. In the end, we settled for a lovely riad with a spectacular rooftop terrace overlooking the beach and the medina for 100 Durham ($12) each. One afternoon we lazed about on the rooftop to the sounds of some nearby drummers and a siren signalling the call to prayer. It was dreamy.

Our rooftop terrace
One of the first things I noticed about Essaouira is that it is tourist resort town mainly for French visitors. The lack of rich culture was more than made up for by the plethora of beautiful sea-side landscapes we visited.

The second thing I noticed was that everything was painted with the same distinct shade of royal blue; from doors and window-sills to people-drawn carts, boats and food-stands. This was in stark contrast to the warm tinges of red and orange that were prevalent in Marrakech.

Along the citadel
As large flocks of seagulls hovered above us, we walked along a citadel, occasionally resting on one of the many cannons that line its walls. We also stumbled through some rocks along the water's edge to find ourselves dangerously close to some killer waves crashing against gigantic rocks.

Huge waves crashing against the rocks
The harbour docks were home to a loud and bustling fish market where locals sold the freshest catches of the day, gathered only minutes ago from their blue boats. We decided we had to try some of this seafood at the strip of small outdoor restaurants a short walk away from the fish market. Our seafood platter comprising of grilled prawns, fish and calamari was exquisite, however, I just wish the fish had less bones in it!

The fish market
Of course, my time at Essaouira wouldn't be complete without a visit to one of its famed beaches. Camels and horses rested along the beach. It was warm enough for us to lay there and tan. This was something we'd never envisaged as we were only 3 hours away from the recently snowstorm-ravaged London. It became unpleasantly windy at times, which is why this town is popular for kite and wind surfers, and probably not Mary Poppins and her umbrella.

Walking along the beach


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