Monday, January 16, 2012

Eurotrip 2011, Day 14 Part 1: Marseille

On our second full day in France, we had originally planned on seeing as much of Marseille as possible. Not so unfortunately (haha) we ended up with spur-of-the-moment plans to return to Aix and attend a free outdoor concert with Laura and her friends. That meant an early wake up call and a long hot morning of wandering around the city before catching a 3 PM-ish shuttle to Aix. We had purchased a multi-day public transport pass and boyyyy did we get our use out of it...all in this one morning/afternoon!

We even took the buses, which I honestly don't suggest unless you're traveling with someone who knows what he or she is doing. And if it's summer...well, they are hot and smelly and crowded and by the time we headed back to our hotel to change and freshen up for Aix I felt nothing short of disgusting. Heh.

The Basilica
View of the harbor and Notre Dame on the hill in the distance
Steve outside of one of the houses he lived in during his year in Marseille :)
I had really wanted to go to Chateau d'If and Notre Dame, but in the end we only had time for one or the other, not both. And because the ferry for Chateau d'If was about to leave right when we got back to the Vieux Port area, well, Chateau d'If it was! The ferry was something like 10 or 15 Euro per person if you were only going to Chateau d'If...but what they did not tell you is that once you arrive at the island you have to pay another 5 Euro (I think) per person to actual see anything. Kind of annoying that the only places this was announced was in tiny lettering at the bottom of a brochure that you may or may not pick up (we didn't), and at the gate on the island after you've already gotten off the ferry and hiked up a set of stairs. Ah well, lessons learned and all that.

I will say this - that ferry had some pretty darn amusing, err, signage:
"When boarding, I slap you in the face with my ticket!"
"When the ferry is moving I touch my significant other in inappropriate places."
I don't even know WHAT to say about this one.
Finally we arrived at Chateau d'If and commenced exploring. I'm pretty sure we may have hiked off to ends of the island that they don't really want tourists to explore, but to be honest the ferry timing is not that great and once you're out there you are stuck. It was definitely cool to see this famous old fortress, which was a big part of Alexandre Dumas' story The Count of Monte Cristo.

(Plus the views were great)
More of the Friouls
Hamming it up. It's what I do best.

We ended up having to wait a good 30 minutes for a ferry, because one stopped at the island but was so full of people going to the other Frioul island that it had to drop them off and come back to get us. We spent the time trying to stay out of the sun and watching a little old French man hang out on the dock and fish. I'm pretty sure he just took the ferry out to literally just hang out, fish, and talk to tourists. Too funny. (And too cute)

We finally got on a ferry and headed back to the port. There were some great views of Chateau d'If on the ride, but unfortunately the ferry was so crowded and it was so frowned upon for you to walk around while it was moving that I didn't really get any. I did catch a decent shot of Notre Dame, though :)

And then it was time to make a quick stop back at the hotel and get ready for our last night in France!

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