The morning in Agadir started out overcast and cool, so it was easy to decide not to hang out here at the hotel for a while before checking out and starting our drive north. First we stopped about halfway down the boardwalk and had a Middle Eastern breakfast of fatoush salad, hommos, and foul (mashed fava beans), a terrific change from the standard bread-y breakfast usually available.
As we drove north towards Essaouira, we saw, from the cliffs above the ocean, perfect long surf breaks on quiet beaches…and we passed by the surf towns to go with them! There were shops in these towns selling everything from bathing suits to surfboards, and there was a charming, ramshackle quality to these little villages that catered to the surfing crowd.
Surfers in old cars with their boards piled on top were cruising the road north, looking for the best waves, and when they found a good spot, they’d pull off the road wherever they could and pile out of the car and head down to the beach. They were all wearing wetsuits, just like in California, but the sun was warm even if the water wasn’t, and it looked to us to be a great day for hitting the waves.
Essaouira is an eighteenth century town and fishing port enclosed by walls, that is about the same distance from both Agadir and Marrakech, and we have been hearing from before we left on this trip that it is a city that all of the tourists love – there are great seafood restaurants, lots of nice accommodations, and a medina, unlike those in Fez or Marrakech, that uses the French grid system of streets, so it’s much easier to navigate.
We are staying in a new Sofitel hotel here, located about 3 km from the medina, bordering on a golf course and overlooking the ocean, because we found that the prices of the nicer riads in town have risen to the point that they are actually just as or more expensive than this luxurious, five-star hotel. By the time that we arrive at the hotel and check in, it is already late in the afternoon, and rather than jam in a few hours of sightseeing, we decide to relax, and use the beautiful hammam instead.
We first wandered around the hotel a bit, admiring the sleek, modern design, beautiful furniture, and lovely indoor and outdoor spaces. There is a very high sense of aesthetics, of attention to detail here, that is unlike any other place we have stayed in on this trip. We feel very grateful to be staying here for a few days! The hammam in the spa here has two jacuzzi baths, one hot and one warm, with a cold bath in between. Surrounding these baths are comfortable couches and chairs, and then just beyond is a large steam room. We spent a few hours alternating between each space, and then we had a great massage, as Tali has been complaining of pain in her neck and back.
We ate a delicious dinner in the hotel after our time in the spa, and then relaxed in our room, ready for a great day tomorrow.