After the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, we decided we needed a break. We had planned to go to Agadir, but were warned off as it's apparently a bit of a tourist trap. Fortunately, we had befriended the owner of a hostel in Essaouira who happened to be going down on the same day we planned to, so gratefully accepted a lift and before we knew it we were driving through the beautiful Moroccan landscape (and may have slept through most of it...oops!)
Essaouira was the location for Slaver's Bay in Game of Thrones, however we got distracted by the beach and completely forgot to visit the actual area where it was filmed. Originally a fishing town, the salty sea air hits you the moment
you step outside. Very refreshing after the dust of Marrakech! Stalls
selling freshly caught fish line the port: you choose what you want,
take a seat and wait for it to be grilled up for you there and then.
Every day, we went for breakfast at the gorgeous Patisserie Driss, which sells a vast assortment of pastries and cakes. The breakfast menus were our weakness: freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee, croissants and pain au chocolat for around 25dh! Highly recommend this place - at the back of the main square, it's easy to find and delicious.
The days were spent sunbathing on the beach, in a perfect sunlounger area where the man managing them brought us olives, melon and banter throughout the day, and lazily watching the many kite surfers out on the water (Essaouira is renowned for its watersports - namely wind and kite surfing). We had heard that the beach at Essaouira would be too windy for sunbathing, but found it to be perfect when we went in mid June.
Evenings were given over to watching the sunset from a rooftop café, before drinking the wine we'd bought earlier from the single alcohol shop in the town (down an alley off the main street, closes at 7!) with new friends in the hostel. Yaya, who works at the hostel, serenades you with his amazing guitar playing, singing and hilarious anecdotes. As with Marrakech, the hostel really made our stay - it's called Atlantic Hostel, and the staff and atmosphere and brilliant!
Essaouira was beautiful and so much fun. In July, an international music festival takes place which I really regret not being around for - it's called the Gnaoua Festival, and looks amaaazing!
Before heading to Morocco, we had the odd person asking if it wasn't a bit dangerous for two young, western blondes to be going it alone. We had no problems, and so long as you use common sense then there's no reason why anyone should be put off in the slightest. I was quite worried about what to wear - be respectful, don't wear teeny tiny outfits, but at the same time don't worry tooo much. It's ultimately a case of what you feel comfortable in - there are tourists wearing everything from shorts to maxi skirts, and you'll probably get attention no matter what! Having said that, I'd recommend to cover up a bit more in the evenings in Marrakech.
Morocco is such a beautiful country, and we had the best time - so if anyone's debating whether or not to go...do it!!!
Labels: backpacking, beach, Essaouira, holiday, lifestyle, Morocco, travel