To many, Marseilles is that French city which is the gateway to Provence; just a stop on the way to more interesting places. Of course there is a somewhat famous cathedral, winding streets, little outdoor cafes and the obligate castle.
To me it is that place in 2011 where we disembarked from the MSC Lirica in a commercial area a complicated and deadlocked highway system from downtown. If it hadn’t been for the Eldest and her hauling out her French, smiling at a taxi driver we might not have made our departure. Note that Maus and College Guy were along, both of whom speak a more than adequate French but didn’t want to play. Mine is fine for reading, but I don’t speak taxi.
It is also home to several colleagues at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, the National Arbovirus Reference Center and the Army Health Service. Marseilles, as I am now reminding you – is a port. France like many of the other European powers was want go to sea, Plundering Africa was fairly high on their list which explains all those French speaking locations that don’t belong to the Belgium King.
So it was interesting to explain to fellow travellers that not only is it the second largest city in France but it remains very immersed in maritime culture.
We docked in the commercial harbor; the old being strictly pleasure craft and the small tour boats. Learning from past experiences, I took the ships water shuttle.
Along both sides of the inner harbor is an interesting mix of eateries, tourist shops, bars, cafes, marine supply & chandlery, sea going agencies, and more than one antique store dedicated to ships artefacts.
Oh yes, museums.
What turned out to be the hardest again was finding stamps, especially since the country in which I live is aka Germany ( soft g) as English has crept in even in this bastion of national superiority and purity.
Pictures soon – they seem to make the phone server nuts.