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Essaouira Morocco - A Tale of Pirates and Windsurfing

Welcome to the Moroccan town of Essaouira! No longer a mid-1960's hippy hangout (Jimi Hendrix used to party here); Essaouira has evolved into a still-undiscovered gem of pristine beaches, great windsurfing, laid back nightspots and hearty restaurants. The narrow streets keep traffic to a minimum and encourage walking. With little effort you'll find yourself walking past the multi-colored doors, tall stucco-colored houses and the eclectic mix of euro-tourism and weather-worn locals.

A Phoenician trading post for nearly 3000 years, Essaouira is justifiably proud of its ancient port and reputation as a pirate's cove. The walled city still sports cannons atop its battlements, while at ground-level an endless stream of vendors sell their catch of the day.

Away from the city perimeter you'll discover forests full of Thuya wood -- known for its distinctive grain and haunting aroma. The local craftsman have literally carved themselves a living with a variety of in-laid woodwork. Whether its furniture or decorative boxes, the tourists that come to Essaouira snap these items up. (A little bit of trivia for you -- when you see the famous “Thuya wood boxes' elsewhere in Morocco, remember that this is where they come from!)

Tourism and handcrafts make the city of Essaouira magical in own way. Not a place for ancient mosques and towers, these days the city's claim to fame is related to extreme and not-so-extreme sports. Stretched along the coast are a number of prime surfing and windsurfing locations with an equal number of schools that teach the rudiments of the same. You can try your hand at any number of water-sports or be content to wile away the days under the constant caress of the sun.

No matter what you do you're sure to scratch your head every now and again and wonder why the rest of Morocco isn't just like this.



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