In the previous episode, we spent the whole day in transport to get to Marrakech.
Part 1: Travel Diary
Today, we allow ourselves to sleep in. Who says oversleeping in the morning says… 9h lol. We are so used these last days to get up early that we can’t sleep until 10am either.
Aurélien admits to us that after 2 nights in bivouac in the desert, a good hot shower seems so luxurious to him.
I think that this is what many travelers find – especially after a winter trip to a country without heating – or a trip to the desert. While traveling, we really realize how lucky we are, and many things that seem “normal” to us aren’t in other countries.
Day 9 : Return to Essaouira
We take a cab to the CTM bus station (JB is super good at negotiating now and even the cabs in Marrakech can’t rip him off), only to discover that all the buses to Essaouira are full.
It doesn’t matter, it’s not just the CTM company in life. We take a cab back to the bus station to take the first local bus leaving for Essaouira. At the bus station, it’s impossible not to go through a rabble. In addition, each driver is specialized in one destination. The “agadir” feeder will therefore not compete with the one for “essaouira”.
As usual, we pay the cost of the checked luggage. He wanted to swindle us of a few dirhams but as we know the prices (5dh/baggage), we did not let ourselves make lol.
3 hours later, we are dropped off near our home (we rented an apartment in Essaouira for 2 months). Aurélien discovers our “palace”, an apartment with 3 bedrooms. Well, finally it’s so big that he decides to stay here instead of taking a hotel in the old city.
We show him the good addresses in the area, before the three of us head off to the local hammam.
JB told you about the traditional Moroccan hammam here. Basically, unlike the hammam in France, here you have to forget the “spa” side, it is rather a place where you come to wash yourself, or have it washed, from head to toe.
In the evening, we dine in an Asian restaurant where they serve a very good curry rice.
Day 10: December 31, 2018
The next day, we say to ourselves that a good massage would do us a lot of good, after 5 hours of camel and 15 hours of bus and cab cumulated these last days. I call my usual spa(Cocooning Spa) and they miraculously have a slot available for us.
It’s when my masseuse touches me that I realize how broken I am. Every gesture hurts me. But fortunately she is super talented and after an hour, I am no longer in pain and feel like I’m walking on a cloud.
We have lunch near the port, in a kind of open hut. We point out what we want to eat and the chef cooks for us. Once again, we have to negotiate as much as possible because they round up a little too quickly. We pay 600 dirhams (60€) for about twenty oysters, 6 sea urchins, three prawns, a huge sea bream, octopus, mussels, squid, … it’s not bad for three people. It’s good and super fresh.
This is only the 2nd time I taste sea urchins. The first time, I found the taste too sweet, a bit weird. But today, I don’t know if these sea urchins are particularly good, or because I’m used to them, I find the taste completely addictive.
Since it is December 31st, we will have to choose a place where we will have dinner tonight. After reading the descriptions of the restaurants in a local newspaper, we will reserve a restaurant with live music. The food isn’t great, but we are having a great time. The singers and musicians are of a very high standard. The only thing we find a pity is the location of our place, too close to the speakers.
It is obviously here that we celebrate the last moments of the year 2018, rich in adventures and emotions. 2018 will remain an unforgettable year for me, in large part thanks to my 12 incredible days in Egypt, the trip of a lifetime! And here we are celebrating the end of our roadtrip in Morocco, what an extraordinary year!
Day 11: January 1, 2019
We still manage to find a cab at 2am to get home. It’s gone again for a sleepy morning. We wake up anyway in time to have lunch at Le Chalet de la Plage.
Gastronomically speaking, I think we should have celebrated New Year’s Eve here. Not only would it have been cheaper (45€ instead of 60€), but the food would have been better and the atmosphere more cozy. In any case, the lunch was delicious! Aurélien is particularly happy because he mainly came to Essaouira to enjoy the seafood.
He has been here once before, a long time ago. Nevertheless, he remembers perfectly his small streets and it is rather him who brought us to see the mini-souk (of which we were unaware of the existence whereas it has been a month that we are here).
At 5:30 pm, we have to be at Palm Quad to listen to the safety instructions and to dress up as a “chic biker”. Yes, we leave for 1 hour of quad on the beaches of Essaouira! The pictures will be taken by our instructor so we just have to concentrate on the task: that is to follow his tracks to the centimeter.
I sincerely thought that driving would have been easier, especially since I have a motorcycle license. But the steering wheel is very sensitive and moves with every irregularity of the road/sand so it destabilizes me a bit. In addition, you have to press hard to adjust the speed => my thumb has worked a lot today, I have less pain when I play the piano seriously 😀
The instructor tried to make us climb a few mini-dunes, but given our level, he changed his mind quite quickly. So we ride mainly on the sand, flat and with few obstacles.
Since we don’t leave until 6pm, we are entitled to a beautiful sunset. The part of sand which we cross is far from the city so we are really in osmosis with nature, it’s MAGNIFICENT! Frankly, we liked too much our ride in quad, and thinks that we would have liked even more if we could make some during 2 hours, to go until the big dunes and to learn how to make some artistic figures 😀
While looking for a restaurant, we come across Kaméléon, a restaurant open for only 10 days. It looks like we are in someone’s kitchen. The chef looks at the ingredients and asks us if we want a little lemon or beet in our salad. The tajine of skate was a massacre! Frankly, it is a golden address! I advise you to come rather in the evening and sit on the ground floor, so you can chat with the chef (vegan specialist).
EDIT : we went back once since then, the chief was not there and it was much worse :-/
That’s how our extraordinary roadtrip in Morocco came to an end. Aurélien has to fly to Casablanca before returning home to Lille. Our landlord arranges for him a private cab that comes to pick him up at 6 am. As for us, we can still rest a few days before going back to work.
It’s incredible, we’re already in 2019! It’s already been 2 years and 7 months that we’ve been traveling ! In 2018, we have been in 11 countries (7 of them completely new for us) and we still love to travel.
Thanks again to Aurélien for sharing these good moments with us! Let’s do it again very, very soon!
Part 2: Practical Tips
- Cab Guéliz => CTM bus station in Marrakech: 20dirhams
- Cab bus station CTM => bus station in Marrakech: 20dirhams
- Bus Marrakech => Essaouira: 75dirhams/person
- Cab in Essouira: 7dh/course whatever the number of people during the day, 8dh/course whatever the number of people in the evening
- Ghita Hammam (traditional, local) in Essaouira: 12dh the entrance + 50dh for the scrub. It is necessary to bring your glove, underwear, black soap, normal soap, shampoo, towel and a large bag
- Seafood platter near the port in Essaouira: mixed platter from 200dh. Count approximately 10dh/oitre, 5dh/oursin. Negotiate well! Salads, drinks, mint tea … are normally included. They will ask you a small tip at the end “for the chef”
- The Chalet de la Plage : about 100dh/plat. It is here that you can eat seafood, very clean and chic. They propose a menu at 450dh/person for the new year’s eve
- Massage at Cocooning Spa: between 300 and 350dh/hour
- Palm Quad: 300dh/hour/quad for one person. Photos taken by the monitor included and transferred to USB or email. I highly recommend!