Today was our last day in Essaouira before we headed back to Marakesh. You can see from above that the road from Essaouira to Marrakech is a straight line.
After leaving the harbour we made our way to the Medina.
Colourful bowls for sale in the Medina.
We stopped off at restaurant for lunch in the old town. The owner's dog was very hopeful.
There were lots of cats in this town as well.
Kids playing in the old fortress.
A photographer friend of Rosa's met us to guide us through the Medina after lunch. It would have been so easy to get lost in the narrow alleyways which was true for all of the medinas we went to in Morocco.
We spent the next couple of hours wandering the streets and alleyways.
A colorful old door.
Rosa's friend took us into a Riad where we could go to the rooftop to take photos.
It was very nice when people didn't mind having their photos taken.
I went inside an old synagogue. Mohammed III encouraged Moroccan Jews to settle in the town and handle the trade with Europe. Jews once occupied 40% of the population and the Jewish quarter (or mellah) contains many old synagogues. The town also has a large Jewish cemetery. The city flourished until the caravan trade died (superseded by direct European trade with sub-Saharan Africa). So changes in trade, the founding of Israel and the resulting wars with Arab states plus the independence of Morocco all resulted in Sephardic Jews leaving the country. As of 2017, Essaouira had only three Jewish residents.
The next morning we headed to Marrakech. On the way we stopped at factory where we watched women make Argan oil from the nuts of the Argan trees.
A photo of the tree goats of Morocco. Grown almost exclusively in Sous Valley in Southwestern Morocco, the Argania is a rare and protected species after years of over-farming and clear-cutting. The tree produces an annual fruit crop and it is this delicious fruit that attracts the local goats who hop onto the branches to pick the fruit. After the goats finish eating the fruit and nuts off the tree, they pass valuable clumps of seeds which are then pressed to create the sought after Argan oil. Unfortunately, because the tree goats are very profitable to their owners, more and more of the goats have been brought into the area causing a general decline in the health of the remaining trees.
The farmers condone and cultivate this feeding, keeping the goats away from the trees until the fruit matures. At that point, the goats are allowed to hop up into the branches to eat the fruit. However, we were there in November not the time when the fruit matures. You actually had to pay to photograph the goats so I think that the goats were actually tied to the trees (wasn't obvious) which is illegal. After a quick stop to see the goats, we headed back to Marrakech where our tour ended that evening. All in all, Morocco was a wonderful country and I enjoyed all of it. We got to see large cities, small towns, the mountains, the desert, the sand dunes and the ocean. Of course what made the trip even better was the great group of new friends I made and our wonderful tour guide and drivers. I have to say that out of all of the places I have been to, my favorite trips have been in Africa- Kenya and Morocco.