To me, it really always feels like coming home, once arrive at the coast. Curiously enough, I´ve never been home at the sea but that might just be the reason: the sea is far far away from home and all its stress, sorrows and little problems in daily life. Being close to the sea means taking a deep breath and relaxing from all of this. It´s just about laying in the sun, reading a great book and enjoying the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.
Relaxation-mode turned on, we walked through the gates to Essaouira´s old Medina, where life once again seemed like a thousand years before our time. The main street offered this typical colorful mix of old people wearing their djellabas, chickens screeching in their cages and donkey carts rattling as they were trying to make their way through the crowd. We got a room at the first hotel we found on main street and continued to observe the scene from our balcony while the prayer calls started echoing from the mosques around. After 10 days in Morocco this really isn´t news to anyone but it never seizes to fascinate the european traveler.
After a quick nap, we started wandering around the ancient streets, had some Couscous for dinner and once again got lost. In the middle of all of it, we encountered a group of locals that were just beginning to involve in a religious ceremony and followed the invitation. What first started in the dark alleys of the ancient Medina, ended inside a spacious backyard, where a lot of people were dancing around a group of musicians that were making a lot of noise with their rattles and guitars. What first seemed very colorful, turned out to be kind of awkward in the end, though. The women, wrapped in colorful shawls, were dancing themselves into trance and started to burn themselves with fire, not noticing the pain, apparently. Super interesting indeed, but until today we have no idea what all this was about, except an old lady of the group telling us, that it was a religious ceremony to scare away evil ghosts and to heal sick bodies off their diseases. Well, let´s hope for the best!
Still overwhelmed by the events of the night before, we only got up with the second prayer call on the following day. Still on relaxation-mode, we took our time having breakfast in a little cafe and wandering along the streets towards the little fortress and the endless beach outside the Medina. It must be its natural circumstances, that have kept Essaouira from large numbers of tourists so far. Although there is a certain improvement in infrastructure and hotels, the city might never become a famous beach-town just as Agadir. The wind´s just a little too harsh, the waves a bit too high and the air a bit too foggy to make it attractive to the regular tourist. For people, who are seeking for a place to rest and for those who want to experience the real Morocco, it will always be perfect, though. See for yourself, if you happen to be in the area – and don´t forget to enjoy a lovely Nutella Crépe while visiting the markets!
After two days, we left Essaouira with a local night bus to Casablanca, our last destination on our journey through Morocco. More on that, I´ll tell you in my upcoming posts, so stay tuned!