Top on my list of things to do in Morocco was a day-trip to Essaouira, a coastal town about two hours away from Marrakesh. From my research it was a must-see and I figured a quick visit to the sea would be a great change of scenery.
We rose early to make our Supratour Bus just as the clouds were gathering over Marrakesh, turning darker by the minute. They were intense and clearly weren’t there for show. Oh, no. The bottom was about to fall out and we couldn’t be more relieved to be driving away in the opposite direction from where they were coming.
Our ride to Essauoira on the Supratour bus was quite comfortable, despite the assigned seat debacle that had both locals and tourists confused. Nonetheless, the gray clouds were thinning as we distanced ourselves from our home base and the scenery was beautiful while we were awake. It was one of those bus rides where our tiredness would overcome our every intention to keep our eyes open and observe the surroundings or catch up on some reading. Every once in a while we would catch a glimpse of the desert, what appeared to be whole towns under construction or a pair of trees where goats stood on high limbs, like oranges waiting to be picked, as a small gatherings of tourists waited their turn for photos.
As we approached Essaouira, the Atlantic Ocean grew larger and larger until we could see the sprawling sandy beach and the waves breaking on the shore. Essaouira is a beautiful coastal town, with white-washed buildings and blue painted doors and shudders. The city was strikingly different to Marrakesh. I would call it the cool, laid-back younger sibling. Just chill. As I guess you would expect any coastal city to be.
We took to their medina first, noticing the breathing room to explore without the near death experiences from passing mopeds and the constant vying for our attention from vendors. For once, we were able to browse the goods without having to put up with the hustle. After we made our way over to the marina, where the aroma of fish took over our senses.
We found the true chaos, but it wasn’t directed towards us. They couldn’t even be bothered with David and me. The fishermen fresh off their morning trip to sea were busy trying to sell their catch to the locals for their dinners.
It was exciting to watch the craziness ensue, but we grew hungry. Fast. But before seeking out lunch, we took a slight detour to the Portuguese Ramparts to get those coveted coastal views of the city.
For lunch, we followed the guides and headed straight for the seafood stalls, where you pick out your fish that was just caught and they grill it up for you on the spot. Man did we eat well! We had a lobster, sea bass and shrimp. I grabbed a fresh pressed orange-grapefruit juice and life was good. In those moments between the delicious bites and the beautiful ocean view, we had just about everything we needed.