Wednesday, 23 September 2009

France - Marseille

I arrived in Marseille about 7pm, late enough that it had just gotten dark, but not too late. I had a bit of a look around, mainly because I didn't know exactly where my hostel was, although I found it with the help of a local restaurant owner. After dropping my gear off and making my bed, I sorted out some dinner (McDonald's probably) and shortly after retired to bed.

The next day I had to shift rooms, but other that that I got up, went and had some breakfast (which I know for certain was McDonald's - technically eating McD's in another country is a cultural experience, therefore the calories are cancelled out) which was slightly different to the UK or NZ. Next stop was the chemist, or apothecary as I think they call it, to get some more paracetamol, where I was served by a cute attendant, who combined with her sexy French accent made me forgive the bombing of the Rainbow warrior, and kicking us out of two World cups. I then walked down to the harbour, passing the stairs at the Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles - ie the Train station that I arrived at, on the bus, the night before.On reaching the harbour, I found the bus in order to get up the hill to the Notre-Dame de la Garde - the church. It was a rather impressive church/cathedral, especially as at that point in time I hadn't been to many European churches. I then decided it to walk down the hill, and check out some of what I could see from the top. This worked well for a while, but eventually I got a little lost, and rather hungry, when combined with my cold made it a bit tiring, so I eventually made my way back to the hostel. The next day I woke up, and was well under the weather with my cold, so decided the prudent thing to do was to move to a cheaper, although less convenient hostel, and try and beat the cold off. I had woken up and gone back to sleep several times, so I ended up checking out about half and hour late, fearing the wrath of the French, I apologised and said it was because I was sick, and the guy at reception was really good about it, including telling me how to get to my next hostel.

I basically rested the next couple of days, just reading my books, and going for short walks to enjoy the sunshine and European beach life. I was getting a little paranoid that I had picked up swine flu, but due to my knowledge gained on the Hotline, I knew it couldn't be because I didn't have a temperature, although that was sometimes hard to judge with the heat.
On the third day at the new hostel, I decided I was well enough to go and check out the Frioul islands, which includes the Ch√Ęteau d'If - a prison fortress made famous by the novel 'The Count of Monte Cristo'
This was quite a nice trip. In retrospect I would have left a little earlier to go there, just because there was so much walking to be done and exploring. If I was going back there again though, I would hope that I was able to swim, which I didn't get to do, due to being full of a cold.

The following day I got up and left the hostel reasonably early, hoping to make my way to Nice somehow. I got to the train station, where I had arrived, and investigated getting to Nice, which was reasonably cheap. I found my train, and in transit called a hostel mentioned in the Lonely Planet.

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