Walk and discover… Marseille

It was time to go and visit Marseille. We’ve arranged everything… found great way to reach Marseille (as trains in France are so expensive, though they are very fast, but still very expensive). We used carpooling. Had to go to Avignon from Uzes, and we met with our driver on the bus station. We were in Marseille in an hour, more or less, and we paid only 6 euro each, and got some useful insider tips on what to do and where to go. So much better than taking the train and paying 30 euros or more.

Marseille  is the city I’ve dreamed of visiting for so many years. We’ve just spent 10 days in a rural and quiet part of France, so Marseille was a great choice of the city to shake things up a bit. First night we stayed near the Marche des Capucins, and second night we booked accommodation in a completely different environment, in Rue du Panier. We had no idea about what to expect in Marseille as we didn’t do any reading prior to travelling to Marseille. We just relied on our inborn curiosity and on strangers that we met on the way to Marseille. We got so many useful tips from our car pooling guy, although we spoke little French and he spoke little English, we managed to catch the names of the main sites that he mentioned.

Marche des Capucins is a beautiful, lively, colourful, amazing part of the city that is absolutely must-see in Marseille. I could spend one whole day just wandering through the alleys of this vibrant market. Even if you are not that much into eating and exploring different dishes, this is place to go just to feel the pulse of the city. And, it’s a great place to eat for little money! 🙂

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So, with our bellies full and a good night sleep, we decided to head next morning towards the famous basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. It’s a hilly road to go, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Especially if you award yourself with an almond croissant afterwards. 🙂

But back to Notre Dame… it’s a church, and yes it has a beautiful interior and exterior, but what amazed me the most was the stunning view. You get to see the whole Marseille from the top, including Frioul islands.

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rocky road to Notre Dame

The rest of the day, we slowed down the pace and just wandered around the city. It was time to move our things to Rue du Panier and leave this lively part of Marseille to discover another part that’s more artistic, silent,  cleaner, and beautiful in a different way.

We were closer now to St Charles station and to the Vieux Port, which is breath-taking, as whole Marseille is. This city has so many different skins and layers, and it has so much to offer to its visitors: amazing people, great food, sea, hiking in the middle of the city and swimming in the city after the hike…

It’s a city I would like to return to every now and then. It really made me feel at home, so it got its place on my list of the cities that are more than just a tourist must-go-and-see. This place feels like home!

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Solo travelling in Toulouse, France

After two weeks of travelling together… which is a pretty cool thing as you have someone dear close to you to share things with, it was time for solo travelling. That someone special could be a friend, a boyfriend, ‘accidental friend’ – a stranger you meet while travelling and connect on the same intellectual, emotional, etc. level instantly… I’m not picky, as long as it’s someone that I feel comfortable on the road with. In this case, it was a boyfriend, and we had a great time in the first two weeks!

After these two weeks passed, it was time to rely solely on my organizational, orientation… and other travel-required skills. I realized that I have really let myself go with and was very relaxed, i.e. my grey matter wasn’t that engaged into thinking process – I would wander through the city and would not think too much if I were taking the wrong street, didn’t rely that much on the kindness of the strangers when searching for a certain street, bus station, restaurant, whatever. When travelling in two, you don’t have to think that much – you can either put the whole organizational load on that other someone or you just split it into two… so I do my homework and you do your homework kind of way.

I like travelling alone. It keeps me very much alive – I have to think, I have to try to take the right street, I have to know how to return home when I’m new in town, I have to stop strangers every now and then and ask them for directions and make do with little words that I know of that other language (I mostly use hands and just do a lot of waving – mostly, it helps). I’m never completely alone when I travel alone, because I always get to meet great, fun and interesting people, and some of these ‘accidental friends turn into real-life friends, but I have to do the organizational, financial, etc. bit myself. I still have only myself to rely on.

So after first two weeks of joint adventure, I went on to travel by myself. First I stayed for a little more in Uzes, and after that it was time to head to Toulouse. Wow! – that was a great bit of the travel because I got to meet with a friend that I haven’t seen in 14 years!!!

We had so much catching up to do, and it was great to see that she turned into such a marvellous person. Toulouse time went by quickly… lots of dancing, delicious food (duck especially!), wanderings around the city, and stumbling upon Yves Rocher shop – oooh, I loved this part. Got myself a really nice body oil.

Here are some pics from beautiful Toulouse…