Chloe O'Brien Photography » Travel Photographer Chloe O'Brien

Essaouira to Marrakesh, Morocco

ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-288The final days on my Intrepid Travel Best of Morocco experience. We left Toubkal for the coastal city of Essaouira early in the morning. En-route we stopped by Assouss Argane – a co-operative entirely run by woman for woman with the most exceptional organic argan oil products.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-287ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-275From whole nuts…ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-281

…to cracked open seeds…

ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-276ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-277…the argan is roasted and then processed for final products!ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-278ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-279ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-283ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-285Up until this point I had only used argan oil as a hair product, but not only is their editable versions of argan oil, there is argan nut butter!!! It is the most delicious nut butter I’ve yet to experience. Overall prices were reasonable: 160,00 Dhs for 75ml rose argan oil (stretch marks and scars), 220,000 Dhs for 100ml of non-edible pure oil (dry hair),¬† and 60,000 Dhs for a black argan musk scented soap (the kind they use in the Hammam…!)ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-289The only time I seen them – but this was on my Morocco bucket-list – goats in a tree. We had to pay the farmer to go into his field to take photos. So worth it.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-290ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-292In Essaouira – settled beside the Atlantic Ocean, this port city is famous for it’s bright blue fishing boats, fresh seafood, and kite surfers that adorn the beach. Oh! Also, Slavers Bay in Game of Thrones!

It is a must-see on your Morocco adventure.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-294Our hotel for two nights was the Riad Hotel Dar El Qdima – I absolutely ADORED this riad. It was a winding maze of seven floors, right up to a spectacular rooftop with a 360 degree view of the city, hills and ocean. There was a combination of things that made this little hotel divine: the staff who invited me to eat the most delicious fish tajine with them for lunch that had been cooking since sunrise, the little patio covered in succulents, the overall perfect implementation of bright Moroccan textiles, and the pink clay door-less shower that had the hottest water of the whole tour and had an open window looking out to the ocean with seagulls calling across the roofs. The location was set just off the entrance to the old Medina ensuring I wouldn’t get lost on my way home. Can I live here?ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-332Standard Moroccan breakfast fare – sweetened orange juice, delicious mint tea or coffee and fresh baked or fried bread with homemade jams and butter.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-333ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-297The entrance to our room second from the top floor.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-295This could be my home forever.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-299ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-296This shower, this view.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-300ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-301ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-298ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-302On the roof level – the entire city!ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-303ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-304ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-308ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-310ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-312Looking down into the patio where our rooms were.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-314A family of seagulls with their baby on our roof.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-315ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-318ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-319ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-321Living the sweet, good life. Intrepid style. By the ocean.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-322Look familiar Game of Thrones fans?ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-323Some wine with the group for an unforgettable sunset. Khalid had arranged for us to have an entire private patio at il Mare restaurant. Trip leaders are the very best.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-325My roomie, Marianne. I’ve met such great people from around the world on these Intrepid adventures!ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-326ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-331ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-334In Essaouira we had another local guide take us around the old Medina.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-336ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-338ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-339Cats everywhere, standing guard.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-340ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-342ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-343ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-345Snake skin!ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-346ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-348This barber shop was everything.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-349So was this guy, taking his mid-morning nap.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-350Little cafes before they opened for lunch.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-351ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-352ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-354ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-356My Atlantic Ocean.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-360ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-361ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-362ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-363Il Mare restaurant during the day – that little patio second from the right is where we watched the sunset.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-368ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-369Walking outside the Medina into the port.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-370ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-374Fisherman give their catch a good gutting, seagulls taking watch.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-375ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-376ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-377ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-379ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-380ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-382ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-385ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-386ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-387ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-388ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-389This place, let me tell you. Google “Hammam” – don’t be deterred by the part where you get naked, have buckets of hot water dumped on you, and a layer of skin scrubbed off you by a stranger. Add an hour deep tissue massage, and your total comes to 250,000 Dhs. Which is equivialent to (yes this is correct) $35.00 CAD.

In the old Medina a few blocks from my hotel – La Relaxation Marocaine.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-394Khalid bought some market meat and produce and taught Marianne and I how to make a proper tajine! With bread, and olives.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-397ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-398ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-401ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-403ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-407ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-408ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-409ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-411ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-412ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-414ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-415Lots of modern little cafes here as well – this was Umia along the wall.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-416ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-417ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-419Leather sandals will run you 35,000 Dhs.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-421These pistachio ice cream bars, I can’t even go on. Nothing like this exists in Canada. They are dipped in chocolate and covered in crunchy hazelnut slivers. They cost about 2,000 Dhs. I must have eaten 10 or more throughout the trip.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-423Marrakesh! Or Marrakech. Why do we have to change proper names to ‘English’ again?ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-424The Koutoubia Mosque, beside the Djemma el Fna square. I greatly missed hearing the calls to prayer the moment I landed in the May London drizzle following this trip.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-426ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-427ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-428ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-432ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-435The food stalls in the Djemma el Fna square, a feast unlike anything else we had throughout the tour. What a high note to end on!ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-436ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-440ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-441ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-442ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-443ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-444So excited to eat.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-445ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-446ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-447ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-450ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-451ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-452# 41 – he told me to send everyone here. So go there! Seriously, you can’t miss eating here.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-454ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-453A very serious fortune telling in the square…ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-455Then it just got funny!ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-456ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-458A morning walk through the old Medina in Marrakesh.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-461The best collection by far in Morocco (maybe I’m biased). Maison de la Photographie, 1870 – 1950ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-463In a converted riad – the building alone is enough of a reason to go. The photography collection? Spectacular, tells a great story and so much early history.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-465ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-467ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-468ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-469ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-471ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-472ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-473ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-474View from the roof cafe at the Maison de la Photographie, overlooking the High Atlas mountains on the far edge of the city.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-476ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-477ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-478The coffee, delicious.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-479ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-480Walking through the more commercial souks, heading back towards the Djemma el Fna square.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-482Also high on my Moroccan bucket-list: Jardin Majorelle. The once private garden of Yves Saint Laurent, now open to the public for 50,000 Dhs.ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-483ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-487ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-489ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-490ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-492ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-494ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-498In Memoriam: Yves Saint LaurentChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-499ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-500ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-502ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-503ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-505ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-506ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-507ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-508ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-510ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-511ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-512ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-513ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-514ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-518ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-519ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-520ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-521ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-522ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-523ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-524ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-525ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-526ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-527ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-528ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-530ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-531ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-533ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-534ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-535ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-536ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-537ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-538ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-539ChloeOBrien-Sahara-Marrakech-540

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