My Morocco trip pt. 1 // Essaouira
This post has taken me quite a while to put together, I had so many photos to go through and a lot of experiences and impressions to write down, but I am finally ready to share the first part of my Morroco trip with you guys. My little sister and I were invited on a press trip by The Moroccan National Tourist Office (along with 8 other bloggers) to experience beautiful Morocco on tightly scheduled trip last month. We were in Morocco less than 4 days, but still managed to experience both the coastal city of Essaouira and the famous city of Marrakech. It was such an intense trip because we not only had to experience two new cities in 3 days (we spent the last day traveling), but also because we experienced the whole thing with 8 complete strangers – it was absolutely amazing though! I had the best time and couldn’t have asked for better travel companions or a better guide – our guide Mohamed was so incredibly kind, caring and funny, he definitely helped make the trip as unforgettable as it was!
We started our trip by flying from Copenhagen to Marrakech where we were met by Mohamed and our driver who took us on a 3 hour drive to Essaouira, a city by the coast, where we would spend the next day. While we were all incredibly tired after a very early flight and while another 3 hours in a bus did not seem optimal, then it was actually the perfect way for us to really experience Morocco and see it all instead of just seeing what it is like in the larger cities. I loved getting that extra insight, haha even though I might have nodded off once or twice ;) Morocco is a country in great growth and while it is in many ways a modern country, then there is still a lot of poverty and a more old-fashioned way of life. It is for example still very common to use donkeys and horses as means of transportation and a lot of work is still done by hand without any use of technical aids. The contrasts were fascinating, you could see a young man on the street dressed in traditional robes with a donkey loaded with goods standing right next to a young man fashionably dressed in modern brands with his new iphone in hand. I love experiencing and learning about new countries and cultures, especially when it is as fascinating, colorful and full of contrast as Morocco.
How photogenic is this place?! I have to be completely honest, my image of Morocco before actually going there mostly came from bloggers and their perfect colorful instagram photos, so I was first a bit surprised to find that even though there is a lot of beautiful places in Morocco, then most of the places we went were a lot more plain, beige and dirty than expected. That is, until you enter some of those quite plain looking buildings and find some of the most beautiful and colorful places I have ever been! I mean the Moroccan craftsmanship is absolutely exquisite and next to none, I don’t believe that I have ever seen such attention to detail. I had a hard time hearing what our guide was telling us about this as there was a lot of streetnoise, but from what I were able to hear it is important in Moroccan culture to be modest and not show off your wealth, which is why you really cannot judge a book (or a building) by its cover in Morocco! We entered some very plain looking buildings only to find the most exquisite stores or restaurants, it was exciting to never really know what to expect and then to be so pleasantly surprised by some of the most gorgeous restaurants with the most amazing courtyards I have ever seen or the most colorful stores filled with antique treasures! I am dying to go back and explore more of this enchanting country, it is nothing like anywhere I have ever been before and I understand why people keep coming back for more!
It was obviously not all plain and beige from the outside though, while many of the beautiful places are modestly hidden behind walls, the medinas in both Essaouria and Marrakech were full of colors from the gorgeous produce, herbs, spices, handmade ceramics, paintings, clothing and the beautifully vibrant doors that are often painted in bright blue or green colors. Haha I don’t believe that I have ever photographed so many doors before!
I brought home some absolute treasures of colorful hand painted ceramics, traditionally handmade silver jewelry, spices, Moroccan tea and argan oil that I cannot wait to show you guys! We didn’t have much time to shop so I didn’t even get my hands on half the stuff I had planned to bring home, but that just means I will have to go back again soon right?! ;)
A little sneak peak at some of jewelry my sister and I bought in Essaouira, I will try to find the name of the shop for you. The people working there was just the sweetest, the prices were beyond fair and the profit went to a good cause – as I recall it was so help the physically and mentally disabled in the local community. I will reach out to our guide and get the name, it is definitely worth a visit if you go to Essaouira.
..and please excuse my chipped nail polish, we were out discovering all day and I was just too tired to fix it at night when we had a little time off at the hotels. Hah I will sadly never be that perfectly put together kind of woman, but I have come to terms with that ;)
There were so many kats and kittens everywhere we went, My little sister and Anthony (and myself) where on a constant journey to “catch’em all” or well to pet them all – I think we managed to get through quite a fair amount ;) It was heartbreaking to see the condition some of the cats were in though, like the little kittens in the photos above, I wish we could have done more for them. There were a lot of fat, fluffy and healthy cats as well though and you cannot judge people who are having a hard time providing for themselves that they do not have the means to take care of stray cats as well + we did see a lot of kindhearted people in the medina providing water and food for the neighborhood cats. If you know of an organization that helps cats (and other animals for that sake) in Morocco then please let me know, I would love to support it.
A couple of snapshots of the beautiful beach, harbor and seafood of Eassaouira. The beach was amazing and apparently great for surfing if you are into that – I have an out of control fear of sharks so I kindly refused the offer, but we saw a lot of surfers catching some quite impressive waves.
The restaurant where we had lunch the first day – Taros Café – it had an amazing (very photogenic) decor and delicious food. Their deck is absolutely perfect for watching the sun go down over the water.
This was all for now, but I will be back with part two next week! In the meantime please ask away if you have any questions about Morocco and our trip or if you want some tips and recommendations :)