Saturday, 20 April 2013

Morocco Part 1

I was extremely fortunate last week to escape the miserable weather of England to the beautiful city of Marrakech with my family and one of my closest friends, Freddie. I don't think I have ever felt so smug whilst I was soaking up the rays knowing what the weather was like back at home.

As soon as we arrived at the villa after bumbling down a dusty, bumpy track for 20 minutes, we were greeted with a pot of delicious fresh mint, sweet tea which definitely hit the spot. 

The glasses the tea are served in are so beautiful, but I figured if I brought some back home they probably wouldn't look as much the part in England!

One of my favourite things about going on holiday is the sunshine flickering through the trees at about 6 o'clock: it's still warm, your skin is beautifully sunkissed and you have a little bit longer to relax before a soothing shower and a G&T outside. Just divine!

After a day in the sunshine, making up for the lack of sun that we haven't seen for ages, we decided to visit the fishing town of Essaouria. We finally arrived after about a two and a half hour drive from just outside Marrakech and boy was it worth it. We knew that the fresh sea breeze, and the beautiful bright blue stained doors would be a vastly different environment from when we would venture into Marrakech later on in the week, so we very much took advantage of it.

The boats were gently rocking in the port whilst seagulls flew above, lingering for the perfect opportunity to snatch at some of what the fishermen were regularly bringing in. The larger boats were squeezing together with just enough space for someone to jump on land with a sack of fresh fish, still squirming.

We walked through the fish stalls where we planned to have lunch later. Each was bright blue and matched the spotless sky. The people working on the stalls were trying to win the attention of those who walked by, poking each of their fish and grinning when it still flapped on the table, proud of the fact that their fish was the freshest. Each stall would grill the fish, there and then in front of you and serve it up on blinding white benches with bread and salad. As a fish fanatic, this was a dream!

The blue truly represented what a colourful and happy little town this was.

Although difficult to differentiate between the stall, we finally chose the one we would later have lunch at: number 16, as they were the only ones who weren't too pushy- they let their fish do the talking!

So whilst pondering over what we would devour that afternoon, we walked through the town.

The stunning spectrum of colours and smells was amazing.

This must have literally been half a cow! Not very appetising when surrounded by swarming flies...

Potions, powders and lotions to heal all sorts of bodily problems..

We made our way back through the artsy stalls and along the blue-bordered walls to find our favourite number 16 stall.

In the end, we chose a dozen sardines, john dory and a big chunky seabass all grilled beautifully. The soft texture of the fish, with the crisp grilled skin and a small squeeze of lemon was perfect. The food perfectly matched the surroundings. 

Our sardines...

After a day of getting lost in the winding streets, we found a cafe which sold my favourite mint tea, before heading back to the villa. 

I would definitely recommend visiting Essaouria. Although it may be a bit of a trek, I promise you it's worth it. Especially if you've been staying in Marrakech it is so refreshing to smell some fresh (although quite fishy perhaps) air and feel the breeze on your face. 
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