Monday, November 3, 2008

In Search of Sunshine

Last week, the weather forecast for Chambéry included rain and more rain, and degrees ranging from -1 to about 12°C . Clearly I had to start a sunshine search! Destinations: Marseille and Montpellier!

Two assistants and I got a pretty good deal to Marseille (20€70 one way, not bad at all!!). So we took the bus from Chambéry to Valence (2 hours), then after a quick 15 minute lunch, we were on our way to Marseille on the TGV (1 hour). On our arrival at the station, we located our free accommodation provider lol: a young French guy with a drawing of a couch (too funny lol), with the word couch written underneath. The three of us assistants, the guy and his friend took the métro to his apartment. Very nice place, really artsy too!

In was rainy in Marseille, but the place is so lovely that I still enjoyed it!! (plus it would have been worse in Chambéry so I was grateful! lol). Anyway, to avoid writing a novel! I'm going to see how much of the vacation I can fit in point form:

Tuesday Afternoon/Evening
  • Marseille arrival by train
  • Métro to the Old Port (Vieux Port)
  • Beginning of aimless walking around Marseille done by us assistants
  • Stop by the Tourism Office to get maps
  • Walk around the Vieux Port
  • Walk along la Canebière (historic high street)
  • "Ooh, what's going on there (on side street)?" A market - so I took a picture
  • Angry market vendor started asking me if I took a picture
  • Fearing for my safety, I resorted to "I don't understand! I don't speak French. What?" Lol
  • Quickly left the market and headed back to the main street
  • More walking (we did a lot of that!!!)
  • Heard sounds of water ... where is that coming from?
  • "Holy Moly!" We stumle upon the Palais Longchamps!
  • Of course we just had to visit :-)
  • Alright, time for food!!!
  • Where to eat? Remember, fish-eating vegetarian here!
  • Ended up at a Tunisian restaurant
  • Three orders of couscous (1 chicken and 2 veggie)
  • Hmm, not my thing...
  • "I don't think I can eat anymore" (me)
  • "What? You have to eat all. It's impolite if you don't!"
  • "Are you serious?"
  • "Yeah! It's written outside on the menu in two languages you understand!"
  • "No, seriously? I'm paying my money I don't know why I have to eat all."
  • Remembering aggressive vendor earlier, I decided to not take any chances
  • Shared and tried my best to finish the couscous! Success!
  • "Why didn't you eat all?" (me)
  • "Well, it's ok for a man." Hmm, ok then.
  • Only to find out later that I got punked!!!! Very funny :P
  • Lol, guess who won't be eating couscous anytime soon!!
  • Time for some wine to wash down that couscous lol
  • More walking until we were back at the Vieux Port
  • Happy Hour! Buy one drink and get one free!
  • Time for ice cream lol. Expensive, considering the one scoop we got lol, but delicious!
  • Métro back to the apartment!


  • Breakfast pastries followed by Métro
  • Football stadium!! Followed by visit of the Musée Boutique of Olympique de Marseille
  • This was when the day of walking really began!!!
  • Walk along a really long boulevard
  • Finally, the sea in the distance! but first a quick visit to Parc Borély
  • The sea!!!!! Sand!! lol
  • Rain! Time for shelter at a nearby café
  • Hot chocolate and pain au chocolat - 2€50
  • Ok, back to walking along the coast!! Walking, walking, walking lol!!
  • Arrival at the apartment - 4:30pm ... huh??!! We left the apartment at 10:30 this morning! Wow, that was a lot of exercise!
  • About 30 minutes later - time to leave the apartment again
  • Métro. Beginning of the search for the Cathédrale, Notre-Dame de la Garde
  • Jewish Synagogue
  • Steps to Notre Dame
  • Time for an uphill climb!! (let's not forget the morning walkathon lol)
  • Finally!! Look how pretty!! Wow @ design, roof paintings, etc.
  • Lovely views of Marseille from up there!
  • Time to go. Going downhill was much easier.
  • Random walk in a dark park ... creepy!
  • Time for food!!! I get to pick this time :-)
  • We're in Marseille!! Must have fish!!
  • Checked out some menus,, then chose Café Simon!
  • The food was great!!!!!!!!! I had lemon butter sesame salmon which came with rice, stir-fried veggies, a veggie pie thingy, and of course bread! (It's France after all!)
  • Happy Hour again at Exit Café ("egg zeet" lol)
  • Football match between Marseille and Nantes!! Played in Nantes, so the bar had a nice crowd of Marseille football enthusiasts!
  • "Allez!" "Oh putain!!" "C'est pas possible!!" "Allez... allez!!!"
  • Lol, fun match which ended in a 1-1 draw
  • Eventually it was time to head back to the apartment. The Métro stops at 11:30pm.


  • Breakfast in Marseille, followed by random walk around the area
  • Chocolat chaud in a café
  • On the way back to the apartment - hey, look our couchsurfer guy!
  • Goodbyes and thanks!
  • Reached the apartment, got our luggage, then off to the train station!
  • Hurried and bought my train ticket!
  • Time for the assistants to say goodbye for now:
  • Different destinations: Montpellier, Toulouse, Morocco!
  • I just had to visit Montpellier again :-) since my last visit 2 years ago
  • Randomly assigned seating on the train
  • Good-looking guy on my left, good-looking guy on my right ... hmmm, there's something about Marseille! I like!! lol
  • Sunshine!!!!! Yay, Montpellier!!!!
  • Bit cold, but sunshine nevertheless :-)
  • 3 hours of touring Montpellier! Strangely enough, it felt like home, aww!
  • Train to Valence, then another to Chambéry!
  • What a great vacation!!!!! :-)

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