A final farewell to Essaouira

I use my blog much as a diary. My grandma (Nannie) recently advised I keep a diary and I think this serves just the purpose, so you’ll have to forgive me for sharing a couple of final holiday updates, albeit a month behind schedule, as I want to preserve the final few memories somewhere safe. This is definitely a photo-based post!

After all the storms of the past few days, we weren’t surprised to wake up to a very soggy day and had sensibly made plans to be inside for the duration.

We were collected by a couple outside our hotel for a full day cooking course.

Unfortunately this did not go to plan.

We were dropped off at the mothers house, where she began asking us what we wanted to cook. After agreeing that a tagine would be good to learn, we asked if it would be possible to cook couscous with it. She was very quick to explain that couscous is very tricky to cook and we wouldn’t have time for it. Huh? I’ve definitely been cooking it wrong then! We then asked what our second course would be, as we’d been promised 2 courses in our phone calls. She looked bewildered and quite put out at this, but a phone call to her son confirmed that, yes, she would have to show these two english girls a dessert or two. At this point we were offered apples covered in cinnamon and baked. It didn’t sound too complicated so I explained that I cook quite a lot at home and would like something a little more challenging…more complicated. Misunderstanding my English (I do speak very fast) she assured me that, “no, it’s very, very easy”. Well of course, slice up apples and cover them in cinnamon, I quite agree! At our suggestion that this wasn’t quite right she offered oranges sliced up and covered in sugar…

Holly and I quickly agreed that this wasn’t the course for us, so managed to find excuses to leave. We did feel really guilty but felt like we were about to be really fobbed off by it all so I think it was right that we got away!

Instead, we turned to the rack and ruin of the Essaouira shoreline.

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Amongst the driftwood there were sandals, bottles, melons and….TURTLES!

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Which we later found being sold in the Souks. The sellers assured us they were sold as pets and not to be eaten, but unfortunately you really don’t know who you can trust to tell you the truth.

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With no plans made, we retraced our steps through the streets, hoping to grab a few bargains on our final day. As you can see, it wasn’t just bargains I was on the look-out for – how cute are all these blue doors around the place?

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The clothing retailers were very tough on their bargaining (FAR more so than in Marrakech) and explained that with the bad weather they had fewer tourists so couldn’t go as low on their deals. Their honesty didn’t make me any more likely to empty my pockets though as some of their starting prices were simply outrageous, and they were not playing ball. It was quite a surprise after Marrakech – I’d definitely recommend getting your fill of Moroccan treats while you’re there, rather than saving your pennies for Essaouira.

The foodies, however, were just so friendly.

We stopped to take a look at some fried treats beside the road. It was the donuts in particular that caught our eye, but they were also frying up some dough in a sort of sweet, honey (treacle) oil.

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With out intrigue getting the better of us, we questioned him on his wares. There was a little too much of a language barrier to get the full story, but we understood what he meant when he opened the little side door and beckoned us in to show us around. Too good an offer to resist, we scooted inside! (don’t worry, it was all very open, very safe…I’m sure…!)

So we had a little fry!
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…and then dutifully (and very happily) bought ourselves a little bag of treats too. Nom, nom, nom.

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Which we finished just in time for another downpour. Agh!

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So in we popped to a carpet seller. The owner seemed rather uninterested in us. I explained that I wasn’t really after a carpet but would have a look around. He casually began to drop a few on the floor around me. I found one I really liked (the grey one below) but he wanted something like £300 for it.

No way.

Well, of course now I’d shown interest he was off; explaining how the reason it was expensive was because the talented women did it. If I wanted a cheap one I could get one done by the blind old grandmas (!) which was about as unappealing an offer as it sounds. He then went on to explain how he goes to the village to get the rugs from the men, but he pays the women directly so that their husbands don’t steal their money. It all sounded very gallant, but once we were out the shop (empty handed) we both agreed that this was probably just another made-up story to trick us into spending more money than we should on carpets. See! Sneaky!

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Outside the shop, it was a little dryer but certainly no less windy. Not quite the beach holiday we had planned…!

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In fact the devastation was really quite shocking and highlights how unprepared the locals are for this type of weather. Proof that we’d been totally unlucky with the weather and this was not the norm for November.

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Just beyond the Medina we found the boat yard. I imagine it is quite stunning in sunnier weather, as the royal, bright blues would be really set-off against a bright backdrop. Unfortunately the grey didn’t quite do them justice…

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We kept our spirits high, not giving too much thought to the fishy smells as we tried to ignore the horrid pangs in our stomachs (having both caught a bug whilst out there). Then came the rain. It came like a wall, fast and heavy and we had to run ahead of it to avoid getting utterly drenched. I really had not expected anything like this from Morocco!!

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Mind you, the rain soon passed, and with it the grey clouds, leaving us with a little hope of bright blue poking through the whiter sky. We went exploring up the fortress, which gave beautiful views of the area. Again, with sun this would be a glorious trip, I’m sure. A little imagination is all you need for these photos!/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/464/21761627/files/2015/01/img_9159.jpg

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And then, of course, more rain came. We took ourselves back to the hotel for our final supper, knowing that having been so poorly and having a day on our feet we couldn’t manage much more.

Holly asked if she could have couscous with her tagine and even in a hotel as large as ours was, the response was, “well…you can have it tomorrow?”

That tricky, complicated couscous again. Never again shall I take the trusty couscous so casually again.

That’s all from Essaouira but do read my previous posts if you’ve enjoyed catching up on this one!

 

B xx

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