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Road Trip Part 3 – The Final Day

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On the last day of our trip I suggested that instead of visiting Marseille  we spent it wandering around the small historic island which sits in the middle of the river in Martigues.  So my Navigator thinking  a day of gentle strolling around,  cafes, Romanesque churches, archeological digs etc., decided to go ‘girly’ put on a dress and dressy sandals then we set off.  On the way into town Driver to Navigator: “you look nice think we’ll go to Marseille for lunch”.  Now you would think this wouldn’t be a problem but she had changed into sandals that were not meant for walking round a city, they were only meant for short walks like from car to bar then back to car,little did we know she had hit an ooops moment…..   So we  arrived in Marseille to find a built up city very touristy and nothing like I had imagined it would be, why I was both surprised and disappointed I don’t know but I was.

 

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On arriving in Marseille we parked in the underground parking which is quite something to behold.  There are several levels, all underground,  but despite this they are well lit, clean and surprisingly airy.  Returning to the surface via a lift we found ourselves in a vast open area and facing us was one of the grand ornate churches.  On the side bordering a small basin is the museum and art gallery.  Clean and modern with various exhibitions happening both here and in the old renovated defence turret.  Even this was an experience as they have linked the two with a walkway out over the wáter.

The theatre is a modern cantilever construction which hung over a small pond lit at night by coloured spot lights.  The church is quite a focal point no matter where you are in the square, by looking under the cantilever  part of the theater in the evening you view the church through the coloured lights.

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I first viewed Marseille when Rick Stein was cooking here. The inner harbour had small fishing boats with a few yachts here and there, now it totally yachts with a small free ferry to take people from one side to the other, to me it felt like something was missing.  Each side of the yacht marina is lined with bars and restaurants, all vying for customers.  What I had wanted to do was to sample the bouillabaisse for which Marseille is famous.  But although we looked at several restaurants I didn’t fancy any of them, perhaps it was the smell, it really was a hot day.

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Anyway we took the ‘road train’ or ‘chug-a-lug’ as we call them round the old part of the town. Unfortunately there isn’t much of that left and what there is was spoilt by cars parked in streets that were basically just wide enough for passing.  The ‘Artisan’ quarter didn’t hold much either so we were rather disappointed, still the Chug-a-lug ride was interesting and saved my Navigators feet.

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By this time the Navigators feet were beginning to hurt rather badly, so we found a café along the shaded side of the basin and stopped to enjoy a refreshing beer. By now it was getting on so we decided to return to the car and the hotel, so I slowly wandered back with my Navigator hobbling along beside me.  This ended in a dash to the chemist for foot plasters and her nearly being run down by ‘cops on skegways’  well at least they were having fun.  The return was simple and after a shower, rest, drink and change of shoes I decided that on our last night there  we should have a meal in town. We went to one of the water front restaurants and enjoyed a typical French fish menu.

Next morning after a good breakfast we set off for home. No detours this time, it was as if the car knew the route so by 4pm we were sitting in a bar in town enjoying a beer and tapas.  Then off to the shops for food and finally we arrived home.  There is nothing like your own bed!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have a few more in mind, but not sure if I like one or two of the Navigators ideas  the Alps are ok, but by car in mid Winter????  brrrrrrr……..

(c)   Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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