“And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually ” — Jimi Hendrix
Even the Phoenicians thought this was a pretty neat place back around 600 BC with its natural harbor and strategic advantages. Essaouira (Eh-sue-wee-raa) has been occupied by pretty much any seafaring people of Western civilization: Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch — they all tried to lay claim as accounted for by the extensive antique canon collection on the city walls.
In the sixties, there was a hippie invasion (lead by the likes of Hendrix) of sorts here from what I read, and that is still evident somewhat by musicians hanging out and people selling “space-cake”.
We only spent one night in this walled marvel, but had a good time scampering across the ramparts, kiting, riding camels, and trying to abscond with a medieval canon. Even though Essaouira is a Unesco world heritage site, a considerable portion of the city is literally in ruins. (I didn’t end up bringing home the medieval canon — the Ryanair luggage surcharges would have been somewhere around 2000 euro I believe, even if I had checked it in as “sports equipment”).
Belgium’s central location is a great jump-off point for short trips inside Europe and even North Africa. About a four-hour flight away lies Marrakech, the ancient trade town in the heart of Marocco, where caravans used to arrive from the Sahara, and the famous Souk craftsmen would sell their wares. Today, the Souk are still there dying their yarn, banging out copper plates, and whittling wood, and the hustle and bustle probably hasn’t changed too much in the last 1000 years or so. It’s pretty fun to try and buy something from the Souk, but be forewarned: if you offer half the asking price, you’re still a sucker…