Now called El Jadida, this is another coastal town, a five hour bus ride north from Essaouira. The journey was enlivened by a couple of spectacles en route: a very small demonstration (for or against what I couldn’t work out, but it reminded me of the Foreign Office’s advice to avoid such things) and a huge street market associated with a spectator event that involved men on horses firing guns.
The old fortified colony built by the Portuguese in the 16th century is a very tiny part of El Jadida and is not really an integral part of it – a number of the houses are abandoned and the only shops are for tourists . The main parts of the Portuguese city to survive are the ramparts, a church and a huge vaulted stone cistern although there are a few doorways and facades dotted around the alleys that seem to be from the same period.
This isn’t the kind of place backpackers visit, so I had to go up the accomodation scale and am staying in a tiny hotel, the only place listed on hostelworld.com. It’s a lovely room with a very friendly proprietor who invited me up to the roof terrace to drink wine with some friends he had over. Luckily they included Eric, an engineer from Georgia who is staying here while he commissions a phosphate plant nearby, so I wasn’t forced to socialise in my limited French all evening. Although it can’t be too bad as when I checked in I was called upon to act as a translator between the French of the staff and the English of what I think were a Spanish couple who arrived just after me.
Today’s Lego model is of the interesting end of the Church of the Assumption: