Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eurotrip 2011, Day 12: Budapest to Marseille via Munich

I have to be honest, our last morning in Budapest was rough.

It involved less than two hours of sleep, a pretty long (5,000-ish florint) cab ride to the airport, a thankfully easy flight check in and trip through security (seriously America, get on that, why is European airport security so much more pleasant?) and my first fast food meal (Burger King, because it was the only place open in the airport that had cold bottled water) in well over a month. We got there a good two hours before our flight, and the waiting for it was a bit painful, but once we got on the plane and passed out I was a happy girl :)

We arrived in Munich on time and had about a six hour layover. When I had expressed interest in taking this time to visit the city for a couple hours, there were some who said it wasn't safe, couldn't be done. Wrong! We talked to someone at a train ticket booth, bought some passes and boarded the train right in the airport. It was about a 45-50 minute ride to the Marienplatz train station. The only issue was that the person at the airport ticket booth had told us there would be somewhere to store our bags, but apparently the only Munich train station that has lockers is Hauptbahnhof. Our carry-ons were a bit cumbersome as it was a beautiful day and the Marienplatz area was crowded, but hey...better than hanging out in the airport for hours and hours!
Marienplatz in Munich
Unfortunately there was also a lot of construction going on in this area, but hey, it was kind of cool to see that they covered the buildings they were working on with canvases that sort of showed what the building underneath looked like!

We walked around for a good 30-40 minutes before deciding that we were hot, tired, and thirsty - and therefore ready for lunch. We ate at one of the little cafes right across from the Glockenspiel and yes, we did get to hear it strike noon!

We wandered around a bit more after eating and even tried to do some shopping, but to be honest we were exhausted and the crowds were getting to us so we headed back to the airport a good 45 minutes earlier than we really needed to. Which was okay, because honestly the Munich airport is beautiful and we spent that extra free time lounging in these weird foam-like chairs in the giant covered outdoor area at the airport :)

Yet again our flight left on time, though I will say this - there were almost as many crying young children on that flight from Munich to Marseille as there were adults. Because you know, we needed that and all...haha. We arrived in Marseille around dinnertime and took the shuttle bus from the little Marseille airport to the St. Charles train station. At this point I really wanted to take a cab to our hotel in the Vieux Port, but Steve - having lived in Marseille - insisted that we'd be fine taking the subway. Generally, we were, but it was hot and we were lugging two carry-ons each plus our 50+ pound suitcases. Not. Fun. Especially when you're going up and down flights of stairs and trying to pull those suitcases through turnstiles. Needless to say I told him that when we left Marseille in a couple of days, we were taking a taxi to St. Charles.

We checked into our hotel and because it was still light out, decided to wander a bit before grabbing dinner. To be honest Marseille isn't exactly the nicest or cleanest city, but it was neat for me to be led around by Steve as he pointed out all the places he knew and loved from the year that he lived there :)

An old carousel in the Vieux Port - it was actually running one of the nights we were there!
Steve in front of his old high school in Marseille
Marseille Police Station
Finally it was beginning to get dark and we rushed back to the port to eat dinner. We chose the Hippopotamus Restaurant & Grill right near the water - and yes, we chose this place on a whim - and had an amazing relaxing meal as the sun set.

At this point we were so beyond ready for some great, light food - after 11-ish days of roasted pork and duck and dumplings and God knows what else - so we shared the Chevre chaud a la provencale (goat cheese on toast with local Provencale greens drizzled with olive oil) and mozzarella and tomato skewers over greens. It was exactly what we needed.

Oh, and we also had the Farandole de crepes for dessert - mini crepes dusted with powdered sugar and served with raspberry, chocolate and caramel sauces.

By this time it was after 9 PM and we were - not surprisingly - running on fumes. We called it a very early night after deciding that the following day we would trek up to Aix-en-Provence for a day of small-city fun :)

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