We woke up on the 1st of January 2019 to the sound of seagulls (much like the sound of strangled cats) in our little room in Essaouria. After one last game of backgammon on the terrace, we headed out to find our first coffee of the year. Having wandered past a little bakery a few times during the previous days, I convinced Luke that trying out a number of local pastries would be a great idea, which we promptly did. We settled in the sun with our coffees at the edge of a square and tried a number of the different shaped biscuits, pastries and other Moroccan ‘delights’. I soon discovered that they were either all nutty (I don’t do nuts) or rose water-y (I’m not a fan of eating soap), so Luke finished them off.
Our bus was heading back to Marrakech just before 1, so we picked up a road snack, en route to the bus stop, of falafel and chicken wraps (guess who’s was who’s). Apparently, it’s ‘illegal’ to have your bag under the seat on the bus, so we had the pleasure of paying 5Dh (45p) of stowing it below. We arrived back in Marrakech little after 4 and headed to our Riad which was the first place we had stayed during our whole trip that actually had a pin on Google Maps so we thought we were in for luxury. Without much trouble we found our Riad and checked in, and paid 3.50 EUR each in cleaning charges (this is the price you pay for a pin on Google Maps…).
Having not yet spent buckets of time in Marrakech there were a number of things I wanted to see before heading home the following day. The first were the famous tanneries which we found after navigating our way through the maze of the medina. I don’t quite know what I expected but I can’t say that seeing the piles of fur, the animal skins and the heavy meat smell in the air was my No. 1 Moroccan experience. If you wanted to pay for a guide you got given some fresh mint to take the smell away, but of course we didn’t want a guide so I stuck my nose in my scarf instead. After swiftly leaving the tanneries, we wandered through the souks and looked at a number of pillows, rugs and lanterns we would have loved to have bought, for our non-existent house. I loved exploring the winding streets and open squares in the early evening light. We found a little roof top to watch the sunset from over the busy square below and played a few rounds of cards and shared a pile of couscous.
The next morning, we packed up, headed out into the Medina and wandered to a crumbling palace. When we reached the palace, we found that it would cost about £14 to get in, and with £25 in local currency to cover food and our taxi to the airport we gave it a miss… although you could poke your head round and see the entire thing without paying, I was more than happy with that so we wandered on to a nearby Mosque instead.
I’d mentioned to Luke a number of times that I wanted to try this hot bread/potato wrap thing we’d seen been cooked in food stands throughout our trip, so when we stumbled across them again, I popped into a cafe to grab one. I managed to knock a number of bread rolls on the floor and drop half of the wrap in the process but with 24p spent I was more than happy to have tried it and I would recommend it (although I’m none the wiser as to what it’s called). We found a spot to sit in the sun and have some coffee and cards before having one last mound of couscous on a rooftop before catching a taxi to the airport.