On the coast of Morocco is a city that I struggled to pronounciate: Essaouira. Essa-where? Pronounced Ess-ah-where-ah. Oh Right. Essaouira. This Berber name translates to “The Wall“, and that is exactly what you will find; a hill walls fortifying the city. But this place is more than The Wall, it is a quaint coastal town, with welcoming breezes off the ocean. Essaouira is a charming one.
I took a day-trip to Essaouira from Marrakech. It is only a quick 2 hour bus ride. And with arabic music playing over the radio and the landscapes changing from grasssy plains, to desert dunes, to rocky hills – It is a pleasant way to travel. And at 70 Dh ($8.75) it is an affordable way as well.
Essaouira is small enough that you can meander pleasantly without the need of a map or fear of getting lost. So I set off for my day and I entered at Bab Marrakech (A Gate). I walked straight knowing that I wanted to make my way across to the ocean, and towards the Ramparts. I wanted to climb the fortified city walls and see the city encompassed by its walls.
As any Moroccan Medina, the laneways were skinny and winding, and the people smiling. I was hungry after my bud ride so I stopped at the first hole in the wall I could find and ordered myself a Moroccan Pancake with honey. I have a sweet tooth – what can I say? As per usual, my communication style was a blend of pointing and charades. This always makes me smile, and the locals appear amused by my attempts.
Making it to the ocean, the lower parts of the walls were lined with fishermen gutting their catch of the day and seagulls swooping down to snatch up the goods. A strong smell of fish guts and bird poop accosted my nostrils in a highly effective yet extremely unwelcome manner. I choked and sputtered, shoved my pashmina over my mouth and nose and continued on my way. Orange stands stood next to these fishermen, and the sweet smell of Oranges had no chance of overpowering the other wretched smells at play.
I finally made it onto the ramparts. And what a view it provided. Little peep holes making picture perfect frames of the walled city behind them. Cannons lining the entire ramparts pointing sea-ward. Looking below to the harbour you see men working on nets, the active fish market, and boats bobbing in the waves, bumping into each other, being held on by the small rope attaching them to the shore.
The Ramparts are filled with the blue boats and they rest on green-blue waters.
And the adorable peep hole – well it beckoned me. I climbed on it, got cozy, and asked a passing couple to take my photo. I think I found a new favourite spot.
It is no longer Essa-Where? Its Essaouira!