Musing with Max

Musing with Max

September 18, 2014

Two towns in Provence * - Marseilles

We first planned our trip to Corsica sometime in February, bought the plane tickets, reserved our hotel and pretty much put it aside. A couple of months later we received an email from Expedia saying that our itinerary had changed; I very excitedly looked at it hoping that our trip had become more direct. No such luck, all the hops skips and jumps were still there. Again I put it aside. Once we started to really get into our trip planning I pulled the itinerary out  and studied it carefully; to my horror I found that our return trip went something like this: Saturday September 6th Bastia 6:25 PM, arrive Marseilles 7:20 PM - Sunday September 7th Marseilles 7:05 AM, arrive Amsterdam 9:35 AM - Amsterdam 12:55 PM, arrive Newark 3:55 PM. Whaaaaaaat!? We have to spend the night at the airport in Marseilles? I immediately started to lose sleep over this, what the heck were we supposed to do at an airport all night long? I started to devise a plan, we'll go out to dinner in Marseilles and maybe hang around late and then come back where we wouldn't have to be there too long, maybe we can go dancing until the wee hours after dinner ---- maybe we can think of something else. After my initial shock and ensuing panic my brain started to work again and I came up with this doozy: we would switch our return; leave Corsica on Thursday evening rather than Saturday and spend two days in Marseilles since we had never been there. Brilliant, if I may say so myself! So off we go and call Expedia and Air France, that nightmare is a whole other post. I will say this; we wound up buying an additional brand new flight on Air Corsica. So on that Thursday evening we drove back to Bastia for our next adventure. We arrived in Marseilles around 7:15 PM or so, it is a very short flight, and soon went into culture shock. For one Marseilles is huge, we were staying in the old town and it took 45 minutes of high speed highway driving (in a taxi) to get there from the airport. Next, Marseilles is a port town in the south of France which means sailors from all over coming in and out, some of them staying, which makes it a melting pot. (That shouldn't be a culture shock for me, after all I practically live in New York, but I had just come from Corsica) Parts of old town are like northern Africa: Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, there are tons of Arabs, the smell of spices is pungent. Years ago it had a very seedy reputation, things have changed a bit in that respect, but some seediness still abounds, which makes for a very interesting place.

Being a port town, it has a stunner of a harbor and marina, which just happened to be across the street from our hotel in the Vieux Port.

The fishing boats come in daily bringing their catch for sale in the market.

which also happens to be across the street from our hotel, and under the Vieux Port pavilion, a stainless steel canopy that lends itself to fun picture taking.

That's me in the center looking up and photographing my reflection, Frank is in the pink shirt,

and there's the reflection above of all those walking in the promenade, lots of smiling going on here!

The market on the promenade also has flowers

and in old town behind our hotel, a fun bazaar

where my favorite thing was this

and as much as I stared at it I couldn't figure out how I was going to get it on the plane.

The food revolves around seafood, for obvious reasons, like this delicious aioli

which Frank is digging into

and a yummy saumon fume risotto which I can still taste.

The signs for "moules" made a million different ways are everywhere, but we didn't bite.

The Italian food is quite good too.

Traffic is heavy so the preferred mode of transportation is small.

* I borrowed my title from a book by M.F..Fisher when she lived in France many many years ago. The two towns she refers to are Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence, we have one in common, the other one is for another post.

a bientot!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful pictures--I really get a feel for it. You made some great lemonade out of lemons!