Heading to Morocco during wintertime in Europe was indeed one of the most brilliant holiday decisions I have ever made. However, selecting the cities to explore was not entirely my choice. Both my boyfie and I each had to pick one city to visit. I chose Marrakech while Joffrey, my other half, picked Essaouira. Frankly, I was absolutely clueless about his choice since I had never heard of this place prior to coming there. Joffrey, on the other hand, had previously been there. And apparently, he had a fantastic time reminiscing his trip. According to him, it was without a doubt more laid back compared to the very busy and commercial Marrakech. Still, it has a charming character he knew I would like.
And sure enough, I instantly fell in love with Essaouira by the time we have reached the medina, a typically walled city center, characterized with myriad narrow and labyrinth-like streets, found in North African cities. One like me can easily get lost if you’re not keen on remembering landmarks. Finding places can be a mighty challenge for people without a sense of direction. Luckily, I have a human GPS, my boyfriend, who normally navigates for the two of us.
After checking-in to our lovely Moroccan riad, a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard, which I absolutely adored, Joffrey took me to a small hole-in-the-wall canteen. I asked for the daily special while he had a vegetarian dish. For less than two bucks I was completely full. How I wish we had places like this in Manila which served quality food for ridiculously cheap prices. So after that filling meal, we had to walk off those calories. Strolling the medina felt like going back in time.
Everyone was more or less dressed in djellaba and leather babouche slippers. Being a fan of traditional clothing, I couldn’t help but to draw outfit inspiration from the people around me. Who knows, perhaps the feeling was mutual since I was dressed quite differently from everyone. In general, locals were innately friendly and sweet.
Drinking mint tea is quite significant to the Moroccan social life. It is oftentimes prepared in a ceremonial form, especially when prepared for a guest as a sign of hospitality. I had a chance to experience this when we visited Joffrey’s friend who obliged us for a delicious homemade version. And as far as food is concerned, tajine is the national dish which is named after the pot in which it is cooked. Moroccan food is quite tasty because of Morocco’s rich variety of spices. Also, most restaurants offer vegetarian options for people like my boyfriend who does not eat meat. And let's not forget those to-die-for Moroccan sweets. I am particularly addicted with the honey and almonds ones.
In retrospect, I am absolutely glad that we started our trip with Essaouira. It was a good bonding experience for me and Joffrey. We were able to enjoy each other's company while exploring a new place for me. And we took our time while we stayed there having long walks, sipping pots and pots of mint tea and trying various local food delicacies.
Since I took so many photos during this trip, I'm splitting this photo diary into two sets - ESSAOUIRAN ESCAPE IN NEUTRALS and ESSAOUIRAN ESCAPE IN COLORS.
Ok guys, lets have a trip down to memory lane...