Thursday's Child: Essaouira's port

Thursday, November 28, 2013
Last week I wrote about visiting the markets in Essaouira, Morocco. In addition to being a great market town, it's also a fascinating port, and we enjoyed every minute that we spent by the water.

We visited in March, 2007, and March is generally too cool to swim in this Atlantic coastal town. Unless you're under the age of thirteen, in which case there's no bad time to go swimming. The girls eagerly ran in and out of the water, while Andrew and I shivered in our windbreakers. We had the beach completely to ourselves.

Essaouira is also a working harbour, and the next day we walked down to watch the fishermen in action. We enjoyed seeing the boats, large and small, coming inshore with the catch of the day. The best place to take in the action of the harbour - and to look back over the town - was from the ramparts just outside the medina.


A small entrance fee and a bit of a climb took us there. We could have spent the day on these photogenic ramparts, taking in the beautiful views and watching the waves crash against the rocks below. Essaouira is known for its wind, and there was no shortage of that the day we visited. One of the girls' favourite memories of the trip was engaging in a seagull-feeding contest with a couple of French tourists. (You had to be there.)





As with so many cities, Essaouira's history is complicated. First established as Migdol in the seventh century BCE by the Phoenicians, it was subsequently ruled by the Carthaginians, the Portuguese (who called it Mogador), and finally the Moroccans. It was under Moroccan rule in the eighteenth century that the city walls were commissioned, and that the city was named Essaouira, meaning "beautifully designed". If you've watched Orson Welles' Othello, you've seen the ramparts and its cannons in the opening scenes.


A series of stalls at the base of the ramparts featured vendors selling, among other things, wooden recorders and seashells. In short, there was everything needed to make a young person's day complete.







13 comments:

Gloria Baker said...

really beautiful I love the sea!!! and all these shells!!xo

Valerie Gamine said...

Another new-to-me location I'd love to visit! What's not to love about wind, waves and history! :)

kumars kitchen said...

a lovely trip....all those pictures are so beautiful...we just loved the sea gulls and sea shells....makes us remember our home town....love reading your posts on travels...they are always interesting :-)

Belinda said...

A seagull contest....that last photo is wonderful!

Share my Garden said...

Aah, those lovely girls playing their recorders! I also have two daughters, grown up now, but always a joy.

bakewithjill.com said...

This looks like a fantastic day, and the recorders are so fun!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

looks beautiful hope to visit Morocco one day

Daniela Grimburg said...

Looks like you had a great time and lots of fun.
Love the beautiful pictures, especially the one where the girls are playing their flutes!

Patty Price said...

Love your adventures Beth-now you have me thinking of another one!!! Sweet photos ;)

Barbara said...

Very interesting, Beth. Excellent photos and it's always fun to go along on your trips.
Such a cute photo of the girls!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Great pictures! Definitely need to go there someday. Such a pretty place.

grace said...

you've traveled to some amazing places, beth! great photos of both the scenery and the kiddos. :)

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a wonderul post but what I like most about it is the fun picture of your two lovely daughters playing flute at the beach - what a rare sight!
Have a great Thursday!

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