We came to artistic Asilah to do nothing. Seriously, that was the plan. We really needed some true relax days – to stay in bed all day if we so desired. We chose Asilah because of its location, sur la mer, without knowing much more about it. And it’s perfect.
Only an hour south of Tangier, this teeny ancient town is nestled on the beach on the Atlantic Ocean. In November it’s very quiet. I mean really quiet. In fact the year round population is about 20,000, with significantly fewer inside the medina perched on the ocean surrounded by Portuguese walls and ramparts. During the summer months the population swells to more than 120,000, especially on the weekends, as Moroccans flock here
for the cool ocean breeze.
But November – how lovely. The sun is shining but we need a sweater and at night the temperatures really dip. Our Airbnb sits right on the sea, comes with a full-time maid and cook and we are only paying $72 a night. There is very little to do here, but that’s okay with us. Exactly what the doctor ordered after the past two months of constant motion. Peace and quiet except for the crashing waves – like a lullaby.
Annually Asilah hosts an art festival (in July) where murals are painted on the whitewashed walls and buildings inside the medina. This began in 1978 as a children’s art event and now defines Asilah. The small town is known now as an artist haven, with galleries and working studios as well as the murals that are painted fresh each year during the festival. The festival also includes music and dance and other arts, and draws about 200,000. Too many for me. Glad to be here in quiet November.
The murals are a treat. Some done by children, but most done by Moroccan artists. My favorites are the ones that incorporate parts of the buildings – such as doors or windows or the ever present historic grates on the windows.
The murals have certainly made Asilah a popular stop for visitors, many bus tours from Casablanca will stop for a couple of hours on the way to Tangier. But in November we have only seen perhaps a half -dozen tourists. And that’s the way we like it.
So we get up and do some Yoga and then maybe take a run or walk on the beach. Our cook Latifah then serves us breakfast on the seaside terrace. The rest of our day is free – maybe we read. Or blog. Play scrabble and chess. Maybe we nap. Or walk through the quiet medina and enjoy the murals. Latifah then serves us a midday Moroccan meal – sometime around 2:00pm. This is our choice to eat at this time. Later we might have fruit or a snack or step out for some tapas. Who knows? We have no plans. We are relaxed in artistic Asilah sur le mer.