Saturday 21st -22nd May - Essaouira
We left the campsite near Marrakesh about 9.00 and headed onto the motorway for the couple of hours travel to the campsite at Essaouria. It was again an interesting drive through rolling hillsides, past olive groves and small farms with the locals going about their daily tasks at one point seeing goats sitting in the trees on small platforms. Of course these are another sight that if you stop, they expect you to pay for the privilege of a photo. We stopped mid morning for coffee and pancakes and then made our final drive behind Steve and Hammid to the campsite. When we arrived at Essaouria we were glad to be following Steve because we would not have found it otherwise. We were directed to find a spot that suited us and we opted for the shade of the eucalyptus trees that were lined up in the middle of the grounds. Steve and Hammid was organising a late lunch for us so after getting set up we had time to sit and read or try our luck with the internet dongle. Some of us have had various success with the dongle and at first it didn't want to connect but lucky for me later in the day I was able to check our emails and update our blog.
Lunch was served on tables set up behind the campers and by this time Ray, Debbie and their dog Sidney had arrived so we all sat around had something to eat and talked.
The wind was quite strong so it wasn't the nicest weather to be sitting outside and some of us retired to the campers to get out of it. I ended up climbing up to my bed, putting on my earphones and listening to some music while I dozed peacefully for an hour at least.
I then was able to sit up late that night to finish my blog while Ewout slept peacefully and had no interruptions.
The next morning we organised to talk to our family via Skype and Ewout got a couple of odd jobs done to the van. About lunch time we had all decided to walk into the town as it was only about 3 kms away and a nice walk along the beach path. It was still a bit windy but quite warm and after a couple of kms we stopped for a drink at one of the restaurants that lined the beach. A nice spot, sitting under umbrellas with the sea view we could have sat there all day, but the old town was our goal so onward to see what there was to see.
Essaouria is a seaside walled town, with the large square, narrow streets and many small alleyways that lead to more small narrow streets. We weren't quite sure where we were going and were a bit confused by the map Steve had drawn for us but we were all a bit hungry and started to look for somewhere to eat. Una, Ian, Anna and
Clyde opted for a café that had pasta and pizza, but we were not in the mood for this so headed off towards the seafront where they have the fish cafes. Here they have the fish displayed out the front and they lure you in with tempting offers of barbequed fish, salad, bread and a drink for a good price. You can haggle a bit but its good value and we couldn't resist the lure of a feast of fresh seafood. So we settled on an assortment of fish, calamari, shrimp and sea urchins. Everything was delicious except the sea urchins, not sure we would bother with them again. Not much to them and they didn't taste very good either, still you have to try new things now an again.
We then walked further along the seafront, looking at the boats and watching the young boys jump off the slipway. After we had enough of the harbour we decided to make our way back to the souk when we again run into Anna and Clyde as well as Steve and Debbie having coffee at a Café in the square. We decided to stop, as we could use a drink so ordered coffee and made use of their "facilities".
After the coffee break we again took of by ourselves to wander the small streets, we made a few purchases and enjoyed being able to look at things without the constant harassing by the vendors that we have found elsewhere. When we had all finished our shopping and sightseeing we met again in the town square and met Steve, Hammid, Debbie and Ray again to walk to a restaurant where we were to have our farewell dinner.
The Hotel where we had dinner was lovely, beautifully decorated and atmospheric it was a fitting end to our wonderful Moroccan adventure.
So we said farewell to our trusty guides Hammid and Steve and wished them well with their future ventures. This was a trip we would not forget and I don't think they would either as it was the smallest group that Desert Detours had ever run.