Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 3 // Agadir (أَكادير) // Essaouira (الصَّويرة‎)

Today marks the first inter-city travel of the trip. While Agadir is wonderful and full of attractions, it's even more fun to see different parts of the country!

Sights (Agadir)

Agadir Beach! You can't go to Agadir without visiting its beautiful beaches, am I right? Whether or not you choose to swim (or even if it's warm enough to swim), this is the perfect way to spend one's morning before heading to the next city.

The beach offers a great view of the kasbah.
A beach with beautiful blue waters, golden sand, and camels? Count me in!

Essaouira: Background
Essaouira (pronounced "essa-weera") is another coastal city in Morocco. The city was constructed primarily under Mohammad III in the 1700s, and it also was home to much of the Moroccan Jewish population. Essaouira is rich in both history and culture and is beautiful, to boot.

Transportation (AgadirEssaouira)
The train system in Morocco is extremely easy to navigate, and you can buy your tickets at the kiosk of the gare. Morocco's national rail system is ONCF, and there are stations in every major city. Between Agadir and Essaouira, the train costs about 65 dh, which is less than $8, and the ride lasts about three-and-a-half hours. It isn't the most comfortable ride, but it does the job.

Riad Inna is located in the heart of the medina of Essaouira, and it only costs about $14/night/person if there are two of you*. It includes Internet, television, and even private bathrooms. Plus, it looks charming and traditionally Moroccan, don't you think?

One of the common areas.
Moroccan riads often have one double bed and one twin-sized bed (see bottom-right corner).
The terrace. Look at that view of the ocean!

*If you've never been to Morocco, don't speak all of their languages fluently, and ESPECIALLY if you are a woman, I would not recommend going on this trip alone. Even I wouldn't, and I've been to Morocco and speak French and some Arabic.

It will probably be late afternoon by the time you can begin sightseeing in Essaouira, but that doesn't mean there aren't things to see and do!

Being a Jew, going to the Jewish cemetery is high on my list. It can be hard to connect with Judaism in a Muslim country, so I'm very appreciative that this is a major tourist attraction.

Similarly, the mellah is the former Jewish quarter of Essaouira. While much of it is destroyed now, I still think it's important to go there and see how Moroccan Jews lived. Unfortunately, the mellah is also synonymous with a Jewish ghetto, as it was built in the 1400s in order to segregate the Jews from the Muslims.

Vocabulary (French // Arabic // English)
  • une gare // mahatta (مَحَطّة) // train station
  • un mellah // mellah (مَلاح) // walled Jewish quarter (ghetto) in a Moroccan city

Photos c/o Booking.com, Panoramio, Travel Weekly, Jewish Morocco, Mackoo

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