With our hair knotted by the wind, and our bare calves a rash red from the loose sand whipping across the bay, we figured we had little to lose by stripping down and making a run for the chilly North Atlantic Ocean.
We’d decided on a whim to take a two day trip to Essaouira from Marrakech, before we had to head back to Fez for our flight home, and despite the fact we were still buzzing from our Sahara trip to Merzouga with Red Tours, I fell in love with Essaouira.
Brought up on the South Coast of England, I’ve always been an ocean girl. In a contested claim, my home town is the birthplace of windsurfing, and so whilst most visitors to Morocco’s coast head further South to Taghazout for shelter from the wind and great surf, the icy breeze and chilling saltwater made me feel right at home.
Essaouira is still hugely popular with kite-surfers, and the sport’s influence can clearly be seen in the casual Western attire worn by many in the town. Travelling through Morocco we had all been cautious to dress appropriately and respect the local customs, but walking along the expansive bay we saw plenty of locals splashing around in swimming costumes or chilling outside the beach bars in shorts & vests.
Still an active fishing town, a trip to Essaouira would be incomplete without a dally through the port. Here men can be seen hauling their loads, working as a community to bring their catch to the market or local restaurant stalls. Most strikingly is the bright blue decor of each of the boats moored in the port, a stark contrast to the murky green of the ocean beneath them.
I mentioned the local restaurant stalls, and stopping at one after walking through the port we were invited to pick any combination of fish we would like and had it grilled for us right there and then! In all honesty, I couldn’t tell you half of the species put on our plates that day, but from the smiles on our faces you can tell it tasted fresh!
Ultimately, Essaouira was the highlight of my Morocco trip. Friendly locals, freshly caught fish and an even fresher sea breeze left a huge grin permanently plastered between my windswept cheeks. And I also got my first ice cream cone of the year!
Oh and did I mention? The town is beautiful!
Do you have a favourite spot in Morocco? Let me know as I’m dying to visit again in 2015!
Lots of love,