Goodbye 2010 - a great year of travel!
morocco - part I: marrakesh - colorful vibrant fun

morocco - part II: essaouira


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Our last day in Morocco we hired a private car and driver to take us to Essaouira, a coastal town in Morocco. One of the most picturesque towns we have visited. 

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Just to put things in perspective, we paid the same amount for a driver to drive us three hours to Essaouira and back, as we pay for a taxi from the Brussels airport to our apartment.  And that included the five hours he sat and waited for us!

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 We enjoyed all the sights along the way.  Since we had a driver, we could not pull over as often as I would have liked so many of the photos were taken while driving. 

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There was heavy rain the day before and they warned us that parts of the road might be flooded.

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Below, we had to drive though a foot of water.  But I was thinking it was probably easier for us in a car then the two men with the donkey cart!




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If you look in the far distance, you can see snow on the Atlas Mountains.

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This shot picked up some unusual tones from the tinted window. 


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We saw one of the most fascinating sights ever!

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Those are some BIG birds in the trees....

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Wait - look a little closer...

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They are goats!  Are they real?  Yes and no.  Yes, they are real goats in the trees, but the men place them up there when cars go by to obtain tips.

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However, the goats really do climb the argon trees to eat the fruit, which is similar to an olive.  Farmers actually follow the herds of goats as they move from tree to tree because the fruit of the tree has a nut inside, which the goats can't digest, so they spit it up or excrete it, which the farmers then collect.  The nut contains 1-3 kernels, which can be ground to make argon oil used in cooking and cosmetics.

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They say you have to go off the main road to see them, but it really is a very common sight.  They do look pretty happy in the tree.

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We had a few sprinkles along the way, but we arrived to gorgeous blue skies, which made the blue boats look even bluer.


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Essaouira was stunning.  Our first stop was along the pier where all the fishing boats were docked.  Due to heavy rain the day before, many of them were not able to go out.

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This is usually a very active fishing port, but today was a day for relaxing.

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Essaouira was established in 1506 as a Portuguese settlement.  Modern Essaouira was built between 1760 and 1770. 

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And I thought my art-room was cluttered!  Looks like today was washday?  Where's Waldo?

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We had read about the outdoor restaurants where you select your own seafood and they grill it for you. 

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So we headed there for lunch.  The chef is showing us the inside of the gills so we can see how fresh the fish is.  


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Squid, sardines, shrimp, sea bass and others.  All of it was amazing. 

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Well worth the three hour drive to get there!


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D particularly enjoyed the grilled sardines - one of his very favorite fish.

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And a beautiful fresh salad.

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Cool coke bottle.

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After our scrumptious lunch, we strolled through the medina (old town) which, is a Unesco World Heritage Site.  It has a hippy influence and in the days, was frequently visited by the likes of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.


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It had a very different feel from Marrakesh – much grittier.  You probably have also noticed how "blue" it is - from the boats to the buildings to the sky where, Marrakesh was "red/orange".

Cards Jan 2011 18
I was fascinated with the picturesque paint-peeling doors.  To see several more photos of doors, visit my blog ma vie trouvee.

A wall encircled the town with several gates leading into the main streets.



There was a souk here as well, but not as big as Marrakesh.  The town also had some very non-tourist areas we wandered into.

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I was very curious with the live chicken stalls.  Aren't they colorful?  Aren't they scary?

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A and I both had our boots polished as we were very dirty from walking around in the mud when we got out of the car to see the goats.  He did a really nice job so we paid him twice what we had negotiated {1.00 usd}.

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They had an old Jewish quarter called the Mellah.  Moroccan Jewish were encouraged to settle in Essaouria and handle the trade with the Europeans. It was a very lucrative lifestyle.  The area has since deteriorated.

Jewish qtr

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A perfect visit to Essaouira!


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I really loved goats on the tree!!!! how funny. Also, the cat picture in front of the fort was just smart. Good to see Dave and Allison again. Grilled fish looks just yummy....

essaouira morocco

Nice pictures!Thanks for sharing with us.


I love your blog and always take a very slow scroll through your photos and commentary! I really enjoyed your Morocco photos!

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