Sunday, 20 June 2010

Intoxicating, sultry, they say.

Bon jour Mon Amees,

Left early on TGV yesterday for Marseille the 2nd largest city in France and the oldest. It has a fantastic harbour with thousands of boats, cruise ships, yachts etc. There are parts of the city that are sleazy and a no go and other parts, old and charming. Its multicultural to say the least.

Happens that Marseille is the yachting hub of Europe and yesterday was the commencement of a large yacht race. I saw lots of NZ yachts, but no Australian. There were live bands and guess what?............. a market. Fresh fish from the harbour. It was a great atmosphere.

Wanted to visit the island near the harbour that has an ancient fortress/chateau which became a prison in the 1800s . One of the prisoners there was immortalized in the novel "Count of Monte Cristo." The sea was choppy and the boat rides were cancelled.

Josh chose to take a 3 hour cruise around the coast on another boat, I declined and instead took a local bus all around the coast for 1.40 euro. You wouldnt believe it but I was chatted to on the bus of all places, by two 19 year old Mormons. They are in France for two years to spread the word. Hope you dont mind but I gave them all your names and addresses. They have to save someone!

Marseille has its share of Cathedrals. Ho Hum, Statues, Ho Hum, and of course I heard the tooting of horns and whistles and sure enough there was a a manifestation, something about waste disposal.

Saw a couple of weddings, the guests all have their cars decorated with some white ribbon and lace and follow the wedding party tooting their horns all the way.

On the very top of a granite mountain in the middle of Marseille is the Notre Dame Basilica. It is an amazing church with coloured mosaic tiles and gold ceilings as well as a ten meter gilded statue of the Virgin Mary looking out over the City and the sea.The views from the top all around the city were amazing. Lots of steps to climb, I think I am over climbing steps and Cathedrals.

At the end of the day I had to walk to the railway station to catch the TGV. It was a long uphill walk, normally I would take a cab, but, you know what? Another manifestation and No CABS!!!! Luckily I left early and made it to the station with 15 minutes to spare. Josh got back 2 minutes before the train left. I will say I was a little anxious, but it sure proves I can now read a map. HaHa

Arrived home totally stuffed, tres fatiguee, buggered, Cest tut. Love Ros xxx

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