0177. Another hidden Moroccan Gem (Mor 026--new)

Azemmour Travel Blog

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Episode 03: Castle on a River

 I may not have succeeded in making every day in Morocco an adventure… but at least I’ve been able to slip into Adventure Mode every week so far.  And this week’s adventure will be even better.

 A lot of Morocco's cultural treasures--Marakesh, Essaouira, Fez... have been overdocumented and touristified--so it's really cool to "discover" one of the gems that has yet been swamped with tourists--and Azemmour is definitely one of them.

Didn't really plan on coming here today--figured all the cheap hotels would be sold out for the summer.  But the bus to Rommani, my intended destination, wasn't leaving for another 5 hours... so Azemmour it was...

Approaching the city, the bus crosses a beautiful river/ocean inlet with a castle rising on the other side.

.. This looks like a city begging to be explored.  

Get off the bus at the edge of town--but within minutes I’m in the bustling market sector.  The streets are lined with grilled sardine joints and--something rather unusual... shop after shop where women can sit down and get henna tattoos.  No resorts here--and only a smattering of foreigners.  Clearly the bulk of the visitors are budget conscious Moroccans.

As I expected, the cheap hotel is sold out.   But when I sit down for a tagine next door, a few minutes later the clerk comes over telling me that a room had been unnoccupied--and 60 Dh is very reasonable for a beach town in the summer...

After getting settled in, head down the long, narrow market street towards the coast.

.. neet to find that castle I saw!  And then suddenly, there it is: a beautiful walled medina with these cool gates and towers and amazing mix of architectural styles--sometimes very Arab, sometimes a little old European--sometimes even Roman... I scurry through the alleyways, eager to explore every inch of the city.  Usually I hate running into dead ends in these medinas--this time I don't care... I want to discover every single alleyway. 

I come across this dark entrance.  Instinct tells me that this isn't someone's door--but rather a tunnel that leads somewhere--sure enough!  The tunnel curves a couple of times and then--the beautiful, crystal blue river!  You can then follow along the outside of these walls and look up at the houses clinging to some seriously eroded cliffs.


...Once back inside the medina I come across the ruins of an old castle, as I head inside, an older fellow hollers  "Bon jour, Monsieur!"

"Do I have to pay to go in here?" I ask him in Arabic.

"Oh, I'm sorry--I thought you were a foreigner... no, you don't have to pay anything... but if you like, and you want to give me something for a coffee, that's up to you..."

"OK, thanks"

"By the way, where are you from?" he asks.

"Agadir" I answer.

That was too easy... Did I really pull that one off?

I explore the castle a bit--then climb up and follow the wall around the medina to a different exit.

...I do go back, however, and give that guy "something for a coffee"...


ted332 says:
Wow! Another great blog from you!
Posted on: Jul 26, 2008
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photo by: nathanphil