We visited the seaside resort of Essaouira (sounds like essa-wirer) on the motor bike. It was half an hour’s journey from our camp site and a popular tourist destination. It was good to hear English voices as we ambled through the Jewish Quarter and along the narrow, shop-lined streets before walking on down to the fishing port. Adjacent to the port was a row of shacks, each with a wet fish stall and a charcoal barbecue behind. It was lunch time and we chose lots of sardines, a red snapper and some pieces of squid, the fish was weighed and we were told the meal would cost £20. We sat on benches and we were promptly served with the perfectly cooked fish accompanied by salad, bread and water.
We were chatting to a Frenchman on a motorbike. He had come from Italy to Morocco using the ferry service we would be travelling on and we were asking him about the food on board. He thought for a moment and asked, “You’re British?” We agreed. “The food will be fine for you!” he chuckled.
All the roads for miles around were lined with red flags and we were told the Queen of Morocco was visiting the area. Police were at every junction and solitary soldiers stood at intervals, looking out, their backs to the road. As we left Essaouira the royal party must have arrived in the town. There were traffic jams and the police had blocked our usual route out of town, diverting us to an unfamiliar road. We had no map and no internet access and, although we knew roughly where we were and the direction we needed to travel, there were no road numbers displayed and we struggled to find our road. The place where we were staying was a hamlet called Idaougourd, an impossible name to pronounce when asking for directions. Fortunately, someone advised us to take the road in the direction of Agadir and very soon we spotted signs to our camp site. After travelling for more than an hour, we were back at base. Note to self, always have a map with you and always carry written information of where you are staying.