Essaouira, Morocco

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There’s something really addicting about this seaside town on the west coast of Morocco. It’s so calm and sunny and lazy and beautiful. In many ways, the antithesis of Marrakesh. It’s one of those places where you plan to stay for two nights and end up staying for two weeks because it’s just so nice. I loved just wandering through the narrow streets and alleyways, eating breakfast in little rooftop cafés, and sipping freshly squeezed orange juice on the beach. There were cats absolutely everywhere and the main street smelled like fresh bread and ripe strawberries. Oh, and the seafood was to die for. I got a huge plate of sardines for two euros and I tasted a sea urchin, which was pretty good. Slimy, but good.

I accomplished absolutely nothing while I was in Essaouira. I spent most of my time hanging out on the hostel rooftop terrace, smoking hash with people from all over the world (mostly Germans). I ate a lot of strawberries and drank a lot of tea. I played soccer on the beach and didn’t realize my feet were so tender until I ended up getting incredibly painful blood blisters all over my toes. Later the same day, I idiotically wore sandals while climbing rocks on the beach and burst open my toe a second time. It was a very bloody day.

Probably my greatest achievement in Essaouira was getting matching ankle tattoos with two other people I met at the hostel. It was my first tattoo ever – the Berber nomad symbol, which is fitting. We all got them done on the hostel rooftop from a German girl with a tattoo kit, and it was seriously painful. I think it’s pretty cool to have two random tattoo twins – one from Austria, and the other from Australia. We really are connected forever, wherever we go.

I could have stayed in Essaouira for weeks. I felt like it was the ideal place to recharge and recover from the stress of being in Marrakesh. It’s also incredibly cheap – I paid 30 euros for 6 nights at the hostel I stayed in, and got free meals in exchange for painting walls and flowerpots, which I was more than happy to do. Going to Essaouira made me love Morocco again after being in Marrakesh for a week and questioning whether or not I wanted to stay in the country. This town really is the most wonderful safe-haven for any worn out traveler who needs a break.

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