Our last full day in Essaouira turned out to be a cloudy one, which was fine because we had already done the beach/pool thing and had set aside this day for really exploring the town. We started with a breakfast of excessively decadent Nutella and banana crepes. Because Morocco used to be occupied by France, there's still a strong French influence here, and fortunately some of the most delicious traditions remain.
We then proceeded almost immediately from breakfast to lunch. Eat all the things! We had read about the fishing port and how the thing to do (for tourists and locals alike) in Essaouira is buy fresh fish from one of the many fisherman and then take it to be grilled at a nearby stand. We knew we wanted to do this at some point while in Essaouira, but hadn't been able to pull ourselves away from the pool the prior two days. Thank goodness for cloudy days, because otherwise we may have never had this experience!
Let us start by saying that this fishing port is probably the single dirtiest place Sarah has ever been. Hirsh has traveled to other developing countries so he wasn't very shocked. Thank goodness for closed shoes, because the soles of Sarah's Toms are still hard to look at. The thought of buying our meal here amidst all the filth took a little getting used to, but we figured the fire would kill most disagreeable organisms. We didn't really know what we were doing while hunting down our lunch, just what size fish looked like a good size to share. We settled on something we decided might be cod, one sardine, and a handful of small shrimps on the side. Then we took them to the nearby grill master and he fired them up for a nominal fee.
They brought us limes and Cokes and we had a memorable, authentic, and delicious meal for a total of 80 dirhams (roughly $8).
Then it was shopping time! We spent a couple hours wandering the winding alleys and souks of the old town, finding things we liked and then trying to find them cheaper elsewhere. We usually succeeded. The key to successful bargaining is to truly not care about the item - or at least feign as much - and that's especially easy to do here because 20+ stores carry the exact same merchandise. Sarah even haggled the price of a top down 60% from asking, and after we'd settled on a price, noticed a tiny flaw and got another 30% knocked off when we started to walk away. Hirsh's bargaining skills are really rubbing off.
We went back to the hotel to spend a little time by the pool once the sun made a brief appearance. You know, for principle's sake.
Then we cleaned up for dinner. Here's Sarah in her natural element, freshly scrubbed and perusing the room service and spa menus.
We walked on the beach back to the old town, all the while fighting Essaouira's trademark strong winds.
Dinner was a repeat of the night before. We loved the restaurant so much that we returned and had nearly the exact same meal! Alcohol is rarely offered in Morocco, so we settled for a second pot of delicious mint tea.