Morocco – exploring the markets of Taghazout and Agadir

After a great mountain bike through the hills behind our campsite, following dirt roads into the valley and then up and out to Taghazout; it was Friday and therefore market day and we explored the small market of wares comprising everything from scissors and DIY merchandise to Berber and Saharan antique jewellery.  Taghazout has a laid back vibe, full of surfers and lots of coffee shops and cafes to while away the time when the waves aren’t good.

We’ve had some great days on the beach and are even beginning to master standing on the boards in the face of the Atlantic waves!  It’s pretty exhausting though so we took the morning off this morning and drove through to Agadir for market day.  Agadir is not much to write home about, having been destroyed by an earthquake in 1960 and now filled with resort hotels along the long beach, but the market, the Souk el Had, was definitely worth going to, particularly on a Sunday when people come from far and wide to sell their wares.  We ended up with lots of different spices, an amazing array of olives, the sweetest dates we’ve tasted and the local delicacy Amalou – an amazing concoction of honey, almond paste and Argan oil which forms a paste-like dip to have with bread.

As mentioned, Argan oil is an expensive delicacy, as it is not easily extracted: we’ve been told that it takes the nuts from 30 Argan trees to make just 1 litre of Argan oil (compared with olive oil, where the olives from one tree provide around 5 litres of olive oil) and the kernels of the nuts are then pressed by hand (apparently methods to mechanize the process have been unsuccessful) in a very labour intensive process.

The weather is really warming up and it’s been a beautiful 22 degrees most days (so about 20 degrees warmer than London!) and promises to reach 29 by Tuesday – definitely winter weather we can live with!