Just realised it's been ten days since I last wrote anything which is pretty lazy of me....it's been slightly madcap here though. I spent four days in total in Chefchaouen which was just the rest I needed after Spain. Then nine hours on a bus to Casa (surely one of the world's ugliest cities) where I was to meet my sister Pippa. Pip flew in directly from Melbourne for her first overseas adventure - what a culture shock!! It was wonderful to see her; much as I enjoy travelling by myself, sometimes its just good to have someone to chat with. We stayed one night in Casablanca and then jumped on a bus for Essaouria the next morning.
Now many people had great things to say about Essaouira though you always have to take such recommendations with a grain of salt; often one's view of a place can be coloured by a stay in a particularly great hotel or the discovery of an amazing beach or pakr to chill out in. But in this case, all the praise was justified. Essa is a beach town on the southern coast, laid-back, friendly and full of interesting little market souks and cute cafes. We stayed at a place called the Cave, somewhere between hostel and crashing on a friends couch. It's an apartment building owned by a Londoner, the bottom floor of which has all manner of bizarre hobbit rooms filled with beds. There was a random assortment of Brits, Americans, Aussies and New Zealanders (apparently its only the westerners who seem to travel here) staying there and it had a wonderful atmosphere. Particularly great was the roof terrace where we whiled away a number of hours, reading and generally lazing. Sadly, on our third day there Pip was struck down with a nasty bout of food poisoning from which she is onlmy just recovered. Luckily, the Cave was home to a DVD player and a huge number of DVDs so I convalesced in sympathy as Pip lay comotose for 12 hours! She survived to tell the tale though and hopefully, Iùll remain immune thanks to my relatively cast iron stomach.
Once Pip recovered we spent lots of time exploring the beautiful beach (replete with numerous camel herders vying for custom amongst the more gullible tourists), shopping up a storm in the medina and making a few Moroccan friends, one of whom has invited us back to stay for the Gnaoua music festival later in the month. We're thinking about it....!
We then moved on to Agadir, a bizarre place. The original town was destroyed in an earthquake in 1960 so there's virtually no old buildings. Suffice to say it was pretty boring so we spent the entire day laying on recliners at the admittedly very nice beach. Despite the presence of an umbrella, Pip and I are both looking a little pink today and feeling a little bit sore! The sun down here is pretty unforgiving. We decided to give Agadir the flick pretty quickly and have now foun ourselves in the very pretty Taroudant, Morocco's original capital. We plan to swim a bit in the pool, walk around the souks and prepare for the cultural onslaught of Marrakech, where we head tomorrow....30 degrees every day, tourists as far as the eye can see. It'll probably take a bit of acclimatisation after our laid-back past week!
Til next time....