Essaouira (الصويرة) is a small fishing port town in Morocco that is largely untouched by tourists… mostly because of its characteristic wind and overcast skies—exactly what you fantasize about in the midst of winter. Oh, it isn’t? I’m going to continue as if it is. Some of these photos do look like they’re taken in a dry, hot, sunny place that happens to be simultaneously overcast and gloomy, but don’t let Photoshop fool you. I played around with extreme editing settings just to spice things up a bit.
Not much happened in this small little town, so this will be mostly be a photoessay.
Other than the seafood, the most surprising thing about this town is that a UNESCO site is tucked neatly away somewhere! I say hidden because it’s too easy to stumble right into it without discerning that it was labeled a special part of the city: the Medina.
There were some parts that were decidedly European… like this cafe below. It was weird and felt like I was stepping in and out of two countries. Essaouira has been in and out of many European hands, though, because it’s so close to the Spanish and Portuguese borders, just across the little gulf.
I also kept feeling throughout the visit that this was quite a large town for such a small population—where were the people?! Was I in a zombie apocalypse movie and the only people who remain are ones directly related to the tourist industry?
Oh, and the fort. Don’t forget the fort otherwise you’ll be done with this town in half a day! As you walk around the town, you’ll notice many cannons lining random streets. If you follow them, you’ll find yourself in the fort, which overlooks the sea and part of the harbor.
In addition to the typical corridors lined with vendors, you can walk through a looming archway onto the fishing dock itself! I probably don’t have to mention it, but in case you didn’t suspect, it smells like fish here. Remember when I said it was a zombie apocalypse because no one was in the city? Wrong, they’re just all down by the port. Down by the sea, as Helena Bonham Carter would sing wistfully. Here, it’s bustling with all kinds of fishing activity. There are people holding fish, people looking at fish, people transporting fish, people displaying fish, people talking about fish—you get the gist.
After touring and smelling the delicious dying breaths of all these fish, we decided to go and have some at the nearby restaurants sitting right outside the port exit. Knowing that these were probably overpriced, we did it anyways. Sometimes, it’s just too exhausting to try and find local places—and even there, sometimes you get ripped off. It’s just the way Morocco is.
I do know, however, that if you walk inland a bit while stalking a local here and there, you may be able to find the one tucked in the Medina. But don’t just stalk a local because 50% of the time, that would turn out badly. I said nothing. Here, instead of the scarce plates lined up for us near the port, they had heaping piles of seafood and only for 1/3 of the price! I would have photos if I hadn’t died from delight. And photos of highly-populated local areas are a little iffy to navigate since Moroccans tend not to like their photos taken. Unlike the tourist-geared seafood restaurant, these came loaded with a lot of side dishes as well! Man, we tourists are missing out in Morocco! If you make a Moroccan friend that you trust, have them show you around because the local experience is so different than the tourist one.
Have you ever been somewhere that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it’d be? Where?
Welcome to this week’s Travel Tuesday linkup with A Compass Rose!
For this week’s Travel Tuesday, I’ve chosen to highlight Marianne of Californienne and post Nantes, Following the Green Line! As a hazard-prone traveler, especially when operation of vehicles are involved, I’m all about those cities you can explore by foot. It’s a better way to gain knowledge of a city’s layout and just to get to know the city itself! Also, anything that makes me feel like I’m on a scavenger hunt or on to solve the next greatest mystery is a plus!
Also, I’m here to announce next week’s Travel Tuesday theme: Local legends | The urban myths and stories you have come upon while traveling, in your expat, life, or ones from your hometown.
Ready to link up? Let’s get to it!
Here’s how it works:
1. Share a post about travel! From roadtrips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
3. Linkup goes live! Every Tuesday at 8 am GMT.
4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!</
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