Essaouira, Morocco. Wanderings and wonderings.

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The main set location of Game of Thrones in Essaouira are around the Ramparts and Sqala du Port, which are both free to enter and walk around, and fans will notice that there was little in the way of CGI touch ups; Essaouira really does look like Astapor in real life, well minus the 'Unsullied'.

 

 

Like most of the cities we visited during a recent tour of Morocco, we had to leave the coach and our luggage outside the walls on our arrival at Essaouira and walk to our accommodation. The reason being that more often than not, the riad is down a side street that is too narrow for the coach to manoeuvre in and out of.

The coach had dropped us, and the aforementioned luggage, just outside the gate at the distant end of this road and, under grey and windy skies we walked the relatively short distance to where we would be staying.

As it is a seaside town, the labyrinth of side streets in Essaouira are relatively easy to navigate as you can use the sea as a landmark.

 

 

 

Recognize this building? You might if you were a Game of Thrones fan. Several scenes from the series were filmed in this town.

As an aside, this is the second time I have been at a GOT location. Several years ago I got to spend my birthday at a restaurant on the wharf of the harbour in Dubrovnik (used as Kings Landing in Seasons 1 & 2) where my wife had purchased her most expensive glass of wine ever!

 

 

 

The short time we were here the weather was grey and overcast, but perfect for sitting on the sea wall and looking out over the ocean and contemplating.

Essaouira is a port city and resort on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Its medina (old town) is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts called the Skala de la Kasbah, which were designed by European engineers. Strong “Alizée” trade winds make the city’s nearby crescent beach popular for surfing, as well as wind and kitesurfing.

 

 

 

Both my wife have these blue Samsonite suitcases which have been with us on most of our travels. They are not only sturdy but easy to spot on the conveyor belt at an airport.

BTW, why do people most of pick dark colours for their luggage? Is it to keep the suitcases from showing dirty marks? Those marks, like tattoos and scars, are signs of usage and distances travelled.

And then they all stand waiting for luggage that looks similar.

Top travel tip: Buy brightly coloured luggage. Forget tiny ribbons etc, you want a suitcase that is almost unique and stands out as it pops out of the chute. In addition to a luggage label, I have my name and a contact phone number written on my case, just in case the label gets lost. You can thank me later…

 

 

 

My favourite time in any foreign city. Early morning, when the tourists are asleep and it is only the locals and me that are out and about.

The rain during the night added to not only cleaning the streets but added to the ambience of the Medina.

 

 

 

Just me and a cleaning lady…and the whole of the street to myself. Except for the gulls which are numerous and can be a nuisance if you have food.

 

 

 

Once the tourists appear, the locals use this space in the arches under this bridge as shops that have a variety of goods on offer.

 

 

 

Reflections in the water…

 

 

 

 

This was the alley where our accommodation was. These side streets became a favourite of mine to photograph. The little cart contained our luggage that was being carried into the Riad.

 

 

 

So many different architectural styles caused a sensory overload.

However, it did keep me on my toes when it came to trying to find an angle or something unique to photograph.

Those who follow my Blog postings will know that I always try to make the images that I include tell a story from my perspective and not just a regurgitation of what every other tourist might capture.

 

 

 

More early morning meanderings…

 

 

 

This was the corner of the ally that led to where our Riad was. This fellow looked like an extra from Star Wars on his way to a location shoot.

No judgement as I bought a djellabah when I was in Casablanca on our final day in Morocco. It turns out that the hood is an important part of the garment, even if it is not utilized.

Did you know? Nearly all djellabas have a large loose hood, known as a kob. The hood is used for keeping the wearer warm or protecting their face from desert sun and wind. With fancier styles, the hood isn’t always utilized but is still important as a traditional decorative element.

 

 

 

The porter arrives to collect our suitcases to return them, and us, to the coach and our final drive back to Casablanca where our Moroccan experience will sadly conclude.

 

 

 

An actor on a bicycle headed to set or just someone on their way to work? Or heading home from a night shift?

 

 

 

There was a bakery next to our Riad and the aroma that exuded from there in the still morning air was enough to make me want to lay in a stock for our trip.

 

 

 

Certainly not a cat on a hot tin roof.

I watched as this cat made its way cautiously along this thin beam before clambering down and vanishing into one of the many alleyways that fed off the main street.

With a constantly growing street cat population and local people largely unwilling or unable to help, life as a street cat in Morocco can be a truly hellish existence. Uncontrolled breeding, hunger and fighting are daily realities, as are rampant disease, festering wounds and – too often – painful and untimely deaths.

Why are there so many? One explanation is that neutering isn’t a common practice here; there are some religious reasons against it, but it’s also just not a priority in terms of how money and time are spent. As a result, the numbers of kittens aren’t controlled—they just keep growing.

On the other hand, Morocco is a predominately Muslim country and the domestic cat is a revered animal in Islam. Admired for its cleanliness as well as being the favourite animal of the prophet Muhammad, the cat is considered “the quintessential pet” by Muslims.

 

 

 

The demeanour of this Gull seems to say it all! Wet, miserable and too early to beg for food from tourists, it encapsulated exactly what the wet and windy weather made us humans feel.

BTW: There is no such species as a seagull. There are different gull species but people associate them with the sea hence them being misnamed.

It was a pity that we had little time in this quaint town. Stopping to shop on the drive there took up what could have given our group extra hours and an afternoon better spent in exploration.

 

 

This was the company we utilized for our tour.

There were issues along the way, but nothing that could not be resolved on the spot. It did give value for money and if Morocco is a bucket list destination then the tour host, Linda, will give you that in spades.

As I have said many times before, if you go with no expectations then you cannot be disappointed. All my wife and I require is a comfortable bed, reasonable connectivity, hot water(most of the time) and a breakfast that sets us up for the day. On this trip, we almost had a full house of requirements. Those that were lacking, we accommodated and smiled. Making it all part of the overall experience and adventure.

 

 

 

Travel is the proud winner of this prestigious award from the digital British lifestyle magazine Luxlife. The award is in the category Best Travel & Experiences Blog 2024 – South Africa

 

 

 

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