Mila is from Australia and had never been in the Atlantic. I also love the coast so it was decided we had to get to a beach while we were in Morocco. We booked a bus to go to the coastal city of Essaouira. Essaouria is a city with a lot of history, originally a Muslim port city that was major pirate hub, and then later being influenced with the rule and architecture of multiple European powers for trading. The city has become a beautiful mish mash or architecture that carries a lot of spirit. We were lucky to be there at the same time that the Gnaoua music festival was on. This massive free festival hosts artists from all over Africa and the Mediterranean. The city is overtaken with large performance venues throughout the old medina and along the beaches flanking old town.
We spent our day of arrival exploring the town on foot, grazing our way through the food stalls, and running and lounging on the beach. We freshened up from the salt and sun in our accommodation and headed into town for a night of live music ranging from dance/house, to pock/rock, to traditional Moroccan music performed in Arabic in full costume. The interesting thing about this festival was that it is much more of a family event than what we usually see in North America and Europe. There are young kids running around and substance and alcohol abuse is few and far between. The concerts were more of a group celebration and the crowds get involved dancing and singing and shouting along.
We made it home late, and sadly for me things took a turn for the worst. I was struck down by food poising to a degree I never knew possible. Sadly the suspect food was from one of the nicest restaurants we ate at the entire trip. Always eat off the street in my opinion. I was up all night and was incapacitated for the next day and a half. Sadly I had to leave the next morning from Marrakech for my connection in London and said goodbye to my darling Mila until our paths crossed again. The illness didn’t put a shadow over my trip or the memories however. Morocco is a place full of life, hospitality, and adventure. If you want a place that is more exotic and full of culture, Morocco is a good place to start because they cater to tourists but provide an authenticity that can often get lost.