Essaouira

Last night we packed up our bathing suits, sunblock and flip-flops to go to the beach in Essaouira. Little did we know that we should have packed warm sweaters, woolen socks and space heaters instead. This is what happens when you don’t do your research before going somewhere and just assume it’s going to be “beach weather,” just because it’s on the coast.

We kept hearing about how peaceful and laid back Essaouira was, so we decided to take a trip to take a break from the chaos of Marrakesh for a couple of days. It’s only two and a half hours from Marrakesh and the multitude of transportation options makes it a pretty easy trip.

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I’m assuming it says ‘Stop’…

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On the way we passed a lot of vineyards and olive orchards, small villages and farm houses. As we were getting closer to the coast, we entered the argan forest. And of course, how can one go to the argan forest and not see the goats, sitting on a tree and stop by the argan oil coop. We made it to Essaouira by lunchtime. The weather was very foggy and damp, and there was a definite chill in the air. Not San Francisco weather just yet, but more of a Santa Barbara on a foggy, cold day.

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Since I didn’t pack any warm clothes, I had to wear my rash guard, because it was the only piece of clothing that had long sleeves. So I just walked around town wearing my rash guard. Just like that, walking around in almost a wetsuit. That’s how I roll… High humidity didn’t make it any more pleasant. The sheets in our riad were so damp that it felt like they weren’t dried properly (they were) and the clothes by the morning time gotten just as damp, so getting dressed was just about as pleasant as taking a bath in a bucket filled with cold slimy frogs. We had long conversations with the riad owners that night and they said that this was a “good weather.” October is a nice month, we were told. The rest of the year the winds blow really hard.

I don’t think we will be moving to Essaouira any time soon.

Cold, dampy weather aside, Essaouira is a charming little town. It has long been popular with hippies, artists, travelers and such.

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Orson Welles filmed his Othello here in 1952 and Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Winston Churchill all came to hang out here at some point. The medina is very old and quite charming, and it’s UNESCO World Heritage site. Fishing is quite big here and well and ‘thuya’ wood-carving. The kitesurfing and windsurfing are also popular (or so we were told).

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And of course, cats are everywhere, looking as photogenic as it gets…

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