Whilst we were in Morocco, Mum and I made a day trip to Essaouira, a fishing town on the Atlantic Coast, about 175km from Marrakesh.
Unlike Marrakesh, where the overriding colours are reds and browns, the first impression we had in Essaouira was of the whitewashed buildings and blue paintwork.
Wandering the streets of Essaouira was more relaxing than in Marrakesh. Although there were many shops catering to the tourists, the owners were, on the whole, far less pushy, giving you the opportunity to browse a little more. By and large, though, we saw the same selections of goods – carpets, slippers, spices. The fish market, in the centre of the town was a haven for local cats and seagulls.
Like Marrakesh, it is easy to lose yourself in the maze of little alleyways, once you leave the main thoroughfare. At many points, the sound of the sea was tantalizingly close on the other side of the city walls, but it was impossible to find an exit point. Eventually, those we were able to climb up on to the walls, where there was a fantastic view of both the outer streets of the city, and the waves crashing below us.
Lunch was a delicious selection of freshly caught and grilled fish, eaten outdoors with the accompaniment of a trio of Moroccan musicians who seemed to only have one (rather dismal) piece in their repertoire. Afterwards we wandered along the harbour, to see the rows of traditional blue boats being prepared for their next fishing trip, and a boatyard where large fishing boats were being built.