This post consists of a collage of photos, media and some taken during my morning walk at the Port of Essaouira. It was early, so except for fishermen, the crowds were small. I’ve watched fishing boats from my window, and today got an up-close look at them – extraordinary! Unfortunately, the sun wasn’t quite right for photography, but there will be more opportunities.
I love the sea, but except for time spent in South Africa’s Western Cape, haven’t lived with it immediately in sight every day. Other than the surf, two sounds I’ve become accustomed to after a few days in Essaouira are – sea gulls and cats. Fishing boats and fishermen selling their catch must be THE favorite spot for both :o).
I wasn’t expecting to see such a large number of street cats in Essaouira – as many, if not more, than Istanbul. The cats are a blog post of their own. and a popular subject for photographers. Essaouira has spay and neuter programs and groups that help sick cats. Even so, many are in bad condition. Cats are revered and treated gently, so being unkind to them is frowned upon.
“Jonathan Livingston Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with those gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.” ~ Richard Bach overallmotivation.com
“The reason for the many cats “stems from Islamic beliefs, which have generated a veneration of cats for over 1,000 years and made them ubiquitous across the Muslim world.” Austin Bodetti InsideArabia
After walking for several, hours I took a lunch break at a favorite beach restaurant. The food was ultra-fresh and delicious, but much to everyone’s surprise, there was also entertainment! A group of acrobatic guys – as good as any Cirque du Soleil performers I’ve seen – put on an amazing show delighting restaurant guests. Street performers are not allowed to enter the restaurant premises, but they still managed to “pass the hat” and collect a reward for their spectacular performance, which clearly required great focus and considerable practice, strength, balance, and agility!
Another Essaouira surprise is an abundance of French patisseries. The delicate edible art seems out of place on crowded sidestreets and medina walkways strewn with mom-and-pop stores and street-food stands.
I’m slowly eating my way through the assortment of French pastries available in the neighborhood patisserie around the corner. They’re continually baking, so sometimes you get pastries fresh from the oven. Since most portions are small, I don’t feel quite as guilty. The indescribably delicious chocolate and lemon tarts with meringue are my favorite, but I wouldn’t turn down a charlotte russe, gateau, chouquette, éclair, mille feuille, mousse, or brioche! None are overly sweet, and each one is a guaranteed smile in the making. Half-day cooking and pastry workshops are available at L’Atelier Madada – a former almond warehouse at the entrance to Essaouira’s Medina.