Friday, 12 June 2015

June 12: à Bientôt Paris, Bonjour Marseille!

Check out of Le Signature Saint-Germain-Des-Pres, TGV to Marseille, Check into Alex Hotel, Explore Marseille my foot and petit train, a true European rainstorm

This morning we were up early to pack. We had a couple of Pink Lady apples and a pain au chocolate obtained the evening before, then we checked out of the lovely Le Signature Saint-Germain-Des-Pres. 

The hotel staff had called us a cab and he took us to Gare de Lyon train station. At the station we had yogurt, a croissant, and tea. The croissant, fresh and soft was the best so far on this trip. We looked for the platform for our train but only the hall was posted so far, so we paid to use the washroom, an annoying thing about France, and then found some cold drinks for the trip. I tried to find apples but was only successful at finding cut up apples in bags, good enough. 

Once the power that be posted our platform number, there was a mass movement of people towards the train. We found our car, S3, and the worker checked our printer printed train tickets. We found out seats after putting our luggage in the racks. The seats were striped and so big and comfortable. We were in comfort class because there was little difference in price with economy, but on the return we're in economy so we'll have to compare. 

We left right on time, 9:37 AM. The train ride was one of the nicest trips I’ve ever had. We arrived five minutes late in Marseille, having had some sandwiches on the train. We took a picture of the spectacular view and wandered down the steps of the train station. It was very warm and humid. We found the Alex hotel right across the street and checked in. 

After carrying our bags up a few flights of stairs we organized ourselves, obtained a map from the front desk, and wandered down towards the old harbour. We found a beautiful old church, Eglise Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, bought some lemon meringue, and wandered more, finally figuring out where we were. 

We tried to have a cool sparkling water in McDonalds to take advantage of their free Wi-Fi and the bathrooms but we were harassed continually for food and money by people, so we left. We strolled through the old harbour and found more cool drinks and Le Petit Train, a diesel powered train on wheels that drives in little connected cars through the streets of Marseille and up to the church that overlooks all of Marseille. The tour was breathtaking and we enjoyed the view from the top at Notre Dame de la Garde very much.

We were returned to the old harbour where we went in search of an “early” dinner as it was only 6:00 p.m.. We wanted to try a recommended Moroccan place, but it did not open for another hour and we were really hungry, so we went to a cafe down the street that was open and had a “menu” special of moules et frites (mussels and French fries) with dessert. We both had this. It was very good as was the fresh baguette that appeared on our table. The desserts were interesting. One we had never heard of and it was like a cake with creamy custard in layers. The other was tiramisu.

As we had been searching for dinner there had been some ominous raindrops and the sky had been darkening all day. At dinner, the skies opened and it started to pour. Of course we had no umbrella and were dressed in summery clothing. After dinner, we left the restaurant and tried to skip from covered place to covered place until it became obvious that we would never reach our hotel if we continued like that, so we just entered the deluge and became completely drenched.

 The lightning and thunder started and the downpour reached monsoon like conditions. We were blinded by rain and drenched through every article of clothing. We made it back to the hotel where the front desk lady recommended that we take a shower. Bill said that we already had to which we all had a good laugh. 

We did have a hot shower and then tried to dry our shoes and clothes a bit, but really it was if we had just gone swimming for hours in our outfits. And, I found out that pink silk top from Value Village is not colour fast and now I have an ombre sweater, underwear, and Capri pants. Oh well . . . 

Tomorrow we board our cruise to Morocco and beyond and we will not have Wi-Fi on the ship and are unsure of if we will encounter it on our shore days. So you may not hear from for a week and a half. But check back to see if we manage to post anything. When we do have Wi-Fi we will be putting up new posts with lots of pictures.

Bill in front of the war memorial in Marseille and the Eglise St-Vincent-de-Paul (Les Reformes)

An arch that is right on the water, in which you can see Chateau d'Iff right through it

Palm's definitely the Mediterranean.

A view from Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde atop Marseille. Chateau d'Iff is in the background on the little island for all those Montecristo fans.

April aboard the petit-train

Inside Notre Dame de la Garde

Bill taking the above picture

Look up... look way up.

Notre Dame de la Garde

Fun with stone carvings
Great hand work

Notre Dame de la Garde

Dinner...Moules et frites parceque quand on est en France, on doit manger comme les francaise.

Il et chiens...and this was before it got heavy!
The result...soaked right through. The evening's activity...washing and using the blow dryer to dry off as much as we can!

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