We slowly made our descent from the mountain riad, taking in the magnificent view for the last time before dropping our bags at the roundabout which joined the highway to Essaouira. As it was a direct road and only a short three hour drive, we planned for the first time to hitch hike our way there.
Only 15 minutes went by before a car of three Moroccan university students pulled over. They were only heading to a friend’s house 15km up the highway but we thought a short ride was better than none. We got to chatting and before we knew it arrived at their destination. They kindly invited us to brunch but we politely declined, explaining that we wanted to get to Essaouira before allowing ourselves time to relax. We waved our new friends goodbye and again began to stick our thumbs up at passing vehicles.
Only 10 minutes later a couple pulled up and asked where we were headed. After discovering that they too were on their way to Essaouria we threw our bags in and got to know the very friendly Gee and Alex from Germany. It wasn’t long before we were friends, and once we arrived in windy Essaouria they decided to join us in looking for a hostel.
The rain started to sprinkle, meaning that we didn’t want to spend too much time wandering the medina in search of accomodation. On recommendation we tried one hostel but it was fully booked. When I suggested the name of another, one of the local hostel-dwellers turned around and signalled that he would show us where it was. He took us all the way there, only for us to hear that it too was fully booked. This wasn’t looking good. I suggested one more that I’d heard of, but after a long walk in the now heavier rain we were again led to a hostel that was fully booked.
We asked the hostel manager if we could at least use his wifi to find another hostel rather than wander the streets in the rain. He agreed, and let us through the door as our “helper” disappeared down a maze of medina laneways. Once we were inside the manager explained that he actually did have beds available, but that he couldn’t accomodate us otherwise have to pay our “helper” a commision. It all made sense now. All of the hostels were actually turning us away because of this “helper” that was after a cut, not because they were fully booked. We pleaded with the manager for a while before he agreed to let us stay, only under the condition that we didn’t say anything to anyone.
The rain had stopped briefly so we decided to go for a short walk and a bit of an arrival drink before spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the hostel. It was only an hour or two later that Leanne, an old volunteer and friend from Taghazout, coincidentally walked in to our hostel. We spent some time catching up before deciding it was time for dinner, and went to a local restaurant for some hearty Moroccan.
The next day we woke to a break in rain, so Anita and I eagerly hit the streets for a look around Essaouira. You could very easily get lost down all the different alleyways there, each turn presenting a new collection of paths, faces and mystery. We grabbed a bite to eat just before it started to rain again, then sought refuge under the roof of our cosy hostel.
That afternoon Gee and Alex told us that they too planned to visit Marrakesh the following day and invited us along for yet another ride. How lucky were we? Not only did we manage to score a ride from Taghazout to Essaouira but now they were going to take us all the way to Marrakesh. Champions! We accepted their kind offer and after one last dinner, drink, some live music and an evening stroll, laid our heads to rest, as the next morning we would be heading straight to manic Marrakesh.