Hello, dear friends. I’ve been away and I’ve missed you. I’ve taken a couple of back-to-back trips, and haven’t really had a chance to say hello. The longest of my trips was to Morocco to see my mom, and the truth is I wanted to spend time with her, talk to her, give her all my attention without having to divide it among a million things. I’m hoping I got to do that. I’m hoping I was able to make up a bit for breaking her heart when I left twelve years ago .


We took a trip to Essaouira, a tiny town on the Atlantic about a two-hour drive from Marrakesh. The scenic route was beautiful. The destination was even more so. Essaouira is peaceful and sparsely populated but the week we were there it was packed with Moroccan and international tourists visiting on the occcasion of the annual Gnaoua Music Festival. We’re not fans of gnawa music so we didn’t attend any concerts but the gnaoua spirit was everywhere. Youngsters were dressed in African-inspired colors and patterns and hatted with tasseled crochet caps. They looked very cheerful.



Yes the gnaoua spirit was celebrated everywhere. Our hotel offered us complimentary Jeff de Bruges chocolate castanets the weekend of the festival. That was a nice surprise. The hotel itself was a nice surprise. A peaceful piece of heaven perched on top of a mountain, away from the hustle and bustle, with views on the wild forest, dunes and ocean, and a pathway sloping all the way down to the shore.


Essaouira is so small you could see it in one day. Staying there three days meant we had plenty of time to explore. The pictures in this post probably cover most of the major landmarks.

We hit the medina. It was colorful with abundant displays of hand-loomed rugs and fragrant with indigenous Thuya wood carvings.



We climbed the stairs up to the Scala fortress. The view over the city was breathtaking.



We headed to the port. It was very lively. The fish was fresh off the hook. We lunched on grilled sardines.


Hope your summer is going well wherever you are.




9 Responses to “Essaouira”

  1. 1

    Sophia — 07/09/2013 @ 12:02 pm

    I really loved your story about missing your mom.
    My mom left her hometown Casablanca 25 years ago and used to be home sick and now it’s my turn, I miss my mom too.
    Thanx to share with us a part of you and all this beautiful pictures of Morocco.
    Hope you will share with us more recipes for Ramadhan.
    Happy Ramadhan to you and your family.


  2. 2

    Monique — 07/09/2013 @ 5:33 pm

    Any mom stories grab my heart~
    Your photos are fantastic.

  3. 3

    shira — 07/09/2013 @ 8:40 pm

    I was in Essaouira earlier this summer just for a day trip from Marrakesh and I left my camera in the car accidentally. Glad to have your photos to make up for it!

  4. 4

    Christine — 07/10/2013 @ 7:00 am

    Beautiful photo journey! I know you made your mom happy.

  5. 5

    Sandra — 07/10/2013 @ 7:44 am

    My favorite destination, as global (national & international) photo-journalist & personal traveler! It was courtesy of the Moroccan Tourist Board that I thoroughly enjoyed & embraced Essaouira, it’s memories still fresh. After the Gnaoua concert, I was invited to a fabulous feast at the home of a local dignitary, masterfully presented. You have captured the imaginative seafood well! FYI, several years ago there was a Nat’l Geo Adventure magazine condensation of an amazing true story that involved Essaouira (both the original & reenactment), which may be of interest to some fascinated by history. Meanwhile, thank you for your continued informative, well presented articles.

  6. 6

    Eha — 07/10/2013 @ 9:51 pm

    Oh Nisrine: have just opened your post – Am so happy you got to spend time with your Mother and feel energized by another trip to your erstwhile homeland. We are lucky tooL this must be the most interesting photo series I have seen on Essaouira . . . fabulous variety on view tho’ I would probably have stayed with all that fish :) ! Hope you won’t mind if I share!!

    • Nisrine replied: — July 22nd, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

      Thanks, Eha!

      No, I don’t mind.

  7. 7

    Oriane — 07/15/2013 @ 7:58 am

    Bonjour Nisrine,

    So very happy you had a wonderful visit with your Maman, it’s so very important to nurture that special bond. Visits can be so hectic, it’s important to have “girl time”.
    One thing you may want to think about for the future is to have your Maman start writing down all she remembers from her childhood on; a memoire that can be passed on trough future generations.

    As always your photos are beautiful and Essaouira is my kind of place.

    Thank you for sharing.

    I trust your beautiful family is doing well – hugs and kisses to al l:)


  8. 8

    Milly Garcia — 07/28/2013 @ 11:18 am

    So glad you are back, but glad you got to spend time with your mom. Spent a day in Essaouira with my son and daughter-in-law two years ago when they took me to Morocco (they met in Morocco when both spent 2 yrs there in Peace Corps). It was wonderful! Your photos bring back happy memories.

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