RTW Trip Marrakech to Essaouira, Morocco Day 43: Visiting the Real Life Game of Thrones

To be honest, the inability to freely take photos in Marrakech’s famous square was taking its toll.  When we had our last breakfast from Florence, I was relieved to be moving on.

After another long bus ride with CTM, we arrived to the seaside town of Essaouira.

Ocean view

Ocean view

ocean 4

From the second we arrived, I already liked the place.  The temperature was cooler, with sea breeze in the air. The street that Dar Sabon was on, was quiet, with a couple handicraft shops, and locals.

Our multifloor accommodation was called Dar Sabon because the building used to function as a soap factory.  Could have been in my head, but I swear the entire place had a faint smell of fragrant bar soap in the air.

Agnes, the woman who ran Dar Sabon was a traveler herself, and sat down with us with her hand drawn map, with all the sites and places to eat that were noteworthy.  She proved to be extremely informative.

Our room was located on the second or third floor, spacious, decorated with some art, and a huge bathroom.    A few flights up, and you were on the breezy rooftop, where our complimentary breakfast would be served.

DarSaboncollage.jpg

I really enjoyed walking around Essaouira.  There were no cars in the medina, touts were pretty relaxed, and local grocers were everywhere.  We saw vendors selling piles of fish I had never seen before.  Butchers had entire cow carcasses on display, ready for purchase.  And there was a friendly liquor shop that sold cold beers until 7pm.  We enjoyed them on our rooftop.

We headed out to the famous viewpoint to watch the sunset.  Old canons were lined up along the seaside walkway, and the Atlantic Ocean’s crashing waves foamed against the shore’s rocks.  They were probably some of the biggest waves I had seen.  We were clearly not the only ones mesmerized by the ocean.

Filming location of Game of Thrones

Filming location of Game of Thrones

onlookers ocean 3

I am not a Game of Thrones fan, but parts of season 3 were filmed in this exact location.  If you are going to be living in Morocco, Essaouira could be darn peaceful.

Our dinner at Vagues Bleues was one of the top three meals I had in Morocco.  Like most tourists traveling Morocco, there is a need to eat something other than tagine and couscous.

Agnes told us about this little Italian place run by a soft spoken local man and his helper.  The restaurant is simply decorated with a blue theme, with only 4 tiny rectangular tables facing each other. There is a chalkboard menu that changes daily.  We ordered an eggplant and bean roll up dish, and the spaghetti pomodoro.  The food may take longer than normal, but I didn’t really mind as the beer I had consumed on my hotel’s rooftop was quickly going through my body.

Vagues Bleues Restaurant

Vagues Bleues Restaurant

The restaurant is so tiny that they do not have a toilet.  Our hotel was too far for me to go back to, so I tried to venture on my own to find a toilet.  This ended up into what seemed to be the longest trek for a toilet.  I thought I was going to burst.

First of all, I could not find any restaurants close by.  I kept walking deeper and deeper into the maze of the medina, unsure whether I would be able to find my way back.  Finally I spotted a fast food type restaurant, asking if they had a toilet.  Sadly, they didn’t so I asked them where I could find one.  I found another fast food place close by, and approached them slowly, when suddenly a man sitting at the steps of the restaurant asked me in English what I was looking for.  When I told him I needed a toilet, he told me to follow him.  We walked side by side to another fast food restaurant, and when we arrived, he said something to the shwarma guy in Arabic.  He then received keys, and led me up to the top floor of the restaurant and unlocked the toilet.  He warned me it was Moroccan style, which was of course, expected.

On our way back, we got to chatting, and it turned out that he was half Irish/half Moroccan, and was currently living in Dublin.  He was on  holiday visiting relatives in Essaouira for a couple months.  Since I lived in Dublin for a year back in 2000 – 2001, we had shared a couple stories about Dublin, and where we lived, and what it was like now.  He was such a nice guy, and sent me on my way back to Vagues Bleues.  He was the nicest stranger I met on the entire trip!

When I got back to Vagues Bleues, we received complimentary appetizers of little veggies and freshly squeezed juices.  The pomodoro was the real star and tasted like the real deal.  I wonder where he learned how to make pasta so delicious?

On our way home, we found a tiny store selling little chocolate pastries, which were divine, and only 3 dirham each.

Getting dessert

Getting dessert

Costs:
Taxi from Riad al Jarhawa to Marrakech bus station 30 dirham
Bus from Marrakech to Essaouira 180
Bus luggage fee 5 dirham
Fanta and croissant 18 dirham
Taxi from Essaouira bus station to Dar Sabon 20 dirham
Dar Sabon 341 dirham
Flag Speciale beer 144 dirham
Vagues Bleues Restaurant 100 dirham
Dessert 6 dirham

Total cost: 844 dirham = $46.94 per person

What I learned: Head towards the lookout point at sunset.  Local tend to know the exact time for sunset so ask around!

Actual date of travel: Oct. 16, 2014

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