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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Essaouira, the beautifully designed

Now that I've started, I can't stop dreaming about the medina of old Mogador now known as Essaouira, 'the beautifully designed'. It's one of those enchanting towns where everything about it is bewitching. Close your eyes. Now, imagine a whitewashed walled town trimmed with sky blue. Its stone buildings are entered through arches that lead to tranquil courtyards with trickling fountains, balconies above, and stairs that take you to a secret terrace from where you can gaze at the eternally blue sky. Picture a bustling main pedestrian 'street' with stalls selling aromatic herbs and spices alongside lingerie stores displaying mannequins clad in bras and headscarves. In the back streets are labyrinthine narrow alleys and charming squares lined with Aladdin cave-like shops strewn with colorful striped kilims, Oriental lamps, prettily painted tables, silver Moroccan tea pots, delicate coloured glasses, and beautiful trays and boxes handcrafted from Essaouira's famous polished thuya wood. On one side of the town waves crash against its walls and you can walk along the ramparts to see the sea and Mogador island. On the other side of the town's terracotta walls are the shadows of swaying palm trees and art galleries selling the vibrant naive art of Essaouira's many talented artists. There's a busy little harbour of blue boats, fishermen repairing their nets, scrawny cats scrutinizing their catch of the day, and stalls serving up fried sardines. Nearby is Essaouira's beautiful creamy sand beach, windsurfers taking advantage of the wild trade winds, kids playing soccer on the sand, and camels offering up their humps for rides. Ah, Essaouira.


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Oh yay! I love finding kindred spirits!

JHill said...

I can hear the waves and smell the sardines! great descriptions!

globetrotter said...

This left me wanting more...
Great blog!