I arrived to Essaouira (walled city, in arabic ), city located in the south of Atlantic coast of Morocco and epitome of wind, surf and sardines. But there are many others unexpected things that I want to share with you.
1. No lights, no traffic: There are no traffic lights at Essaouira and, more amazingly, with more than 600.000 inhabitants, there are no traffic troubles. That fact surprise me more because, as part of his french heritage, there is a lot of roundabouts (rond points in french)! Anyway, pay a loooot of attention in every cross, check left/check right, because drivers are not very respectful with transit law.
2. Cat city: ok, ok…Morocco’s cities, all of them, have a lot of cats in every street, window, stair, port or restaurant. So, that’s supposed to be a commun scene after 10 days in this african country. But Essaouira can be named as the cat capital (so far from the second one in my ranking: Fez). So, or you became a cat lover and enjoy seeing cats while you are eating and also enjoy taking pictures of cute scenes of two tiny cats playing together or just sleeping in any corner, OR you better go to another city or even to another country. Because in Morocco, cats are the kings.
3. Sand city: Essaouira, capital of surf and kitesurf, yes! Essaouira, windy city., for sure! The Athlantic ocean define the city landscape and the city character. But no one talk you about the sand that come with it! And, trust me, since you arrive to Essaouira (also known as Mogador), there is always sand in your pockets and sand in your shoes. So, pay attention if you walk in the beach or if you take some typical camel trip.
4. More than sardines: I love sardines because I love fish and those use to be cheaper and tasty. But in Mogador I was amazed by others shapes, colours and flavors. In my bad arabic mixed with their poor english or french, I couldn’t discover every name, but there are sardo, dorado, white tuna, eels, calamaris, gamas, lobsters and many others delicious and not always “beautiful” fishes and sea food to enjoy. They arrive every day to Essaouira harbor or at the Fish Market. Go there and buy, then go to any tiny Berbere Coffee (general name) and make grilled or fried for you. That’s the Essaouira tradition, even for locals.
5. Bikes please! Yes! As a “flat” city, the Essaouira streets are perfect to rent a bike and discover not only the tiny streets and lanes of the Medina, but to plan a tour to near beaches as Sidi Kaouki (25 kms). Good rental bikes (and squad) are at the Café de l’Esprit, in the Medina. Talk with Mohammed and also enjoy a breakfast, tea mint, sit down and read some books or share your skills with table games. Where? Touahen street. Medina. Ramadán 2019 opening hours: 9 to 18:30.
6. Argan for ever: Is here, in Essaouira, where occidental argan fever began not many years ago, but the Moroccan people always used as a nutritional / cook oil. Then start the, maybe most known use, wich is cosmetic argan. So, briefly, there are 2 kinds of argans: one for eat and cook as olive oil. They also do an amazing mix with argan oil, almonds and honey called Amlou, wich is so tasty that you cannot stop eating….but is so good and natural, that you eat garbages like Nutella, you better eat amlou forever!!
The second argan use is cosmetic and is an oil for dry skin and hair. There are also perfumed with jazmin, lavender, aloe vera, orange, lemmon and several essences. Whatever you choose, please prefer the places where you see the signal of “cooperative“. Anyway, i highly recommend you all kind of products that become from Argan. Because is healthy and because is a work made by woman so we can support them. Live the argan! Viva el argán!
7. Scarves and eye drops: because of the wind, an always non invited guest in Essaouira, and because of the weather (think about San Francisco, California, Chilean coast or Britain coast when you package for This region of Morocco), those 2 elements are fundamental. Really!
8. Two cities, two experiences: you choose and/or you mix. You can see, live and experience a dirty and ‘real, “daily’ Essaouira: is poor, not clean, not for cat lovers, not made for “fast travelers”, it smell of garbage’s fish, lamb’s heat, blood and others natural scenes…Or you can booked at a superbe riad in the Medina, with or without ocean view, maybe with an amazing pool in a terrace, drink your red wine or your Aperol while the birds in the blue sky finish your own postal card. Is up to you to choose or to mix. Morocco always push you over your limits. Now is Ramadan 2019 and i know what I’m talking about it. So mix, choose, be amazed by landscapes and people; and then, be upset and want to go away, hating all…became very normal feelings in Morocco and most in Essaouira. As I said, is up to you to choose. Every day is a new opportunity. You are in travel, not in trouble!