Normally I’d say my travel style is affordable luxury – I mainly keep to a budget but throw in a few luxurious touches and special experiences. But when it came to planning my honeymoon, I decided it would be only right to swap those two around for once. So this trip was a bit more luxury and a bit less budget than usual for me, with stunning riads, private transfers and spa treatments along the way.
Travel tales Four Foots -
One of my reasons for wanting to come back to Morocco was the country’s food. Memories of tagines, almond pastries, fresh herb salads and mint tea have stayed with me over the eight years since my last trip. And although I’ve tried recreating the flavours back at home, they’ve never been quite the same. So as soon as I decided to come back I knew I had to learn to do it properly this time.
I love a good sunset, and a lot of my favourites have been on the coast, where you can watch the sun slowly dipping down into the water. Looking out across the Atlantic from Morocco’s coastline, Essaouira has a prime sunset position and didn’t disappoint, with a spectacular dusk light show each evening – whether that was the sun peeking out between the sea and a layer of rippling clouds or filling the whole sky with shades of gold.
A riad is the classic place to stay if you’re visiting Morocco. In these traditional buildings the rooms face inwards onto a central courtyard with a roof terrace up above. But although the structure might be fairly standard, they come in all shapes and sizes, from simple to ultra-luxe. I stayed in a few very nice riads on my last trip to Morocco, I’ve have found a new favourite in Essaouira’s Riad Dar Maya.
Perched on the edge of Morocco’s Atlantic coast, Essaouira looks like a cross between North Africa and the Mediterranean. Surrounded by golden-stone city walls, it mixes bright blues and dazzling whitewash with flowing djellabas and the smell of spices. And this mixture all makes sense when you look at the town’s history – over the years it’s been inhabited by a whole range of different cultural and ethnic groups, from the Arabs and Africans to the Romans and French.
As part of my mission to ‘Take 12 Trips’ in 2014, I’m taking at least one trip every month – which can be anything from a local day out to an international trip. After January and February had me bundling on the layers for trips to the north of England, it was time to warm up with my first international trip of the year to Morocco in March. And it wasn’t for just any old trip, it was my honeymoon… well one of them anyway.
Looking around the harbour in Essaouira you see endless shades of blue – from the pale skies to the rough seas and the vibrant turquoise and blue painted fishing boats. In the 19th century Essaouira was Morocco’s biggest port. It was nicknamed the ‘Port of Timbuktu’ as goods like gold and spices came by caravan from sub-Saharan Africa to be shipped from here out to Europe and the Americas.