Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Marseille’

Road Trip Part 3 – The Final Day

DSCF5012%2520%2528640x480%2529

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.

 

DSCF5011%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5014%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5013%2520%2528640x480%2529

DSCF5021%2520%2528640x480%2529

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.

DSCF5022%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5027%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5026%2520%2528640x480%2529

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.

DSCF5020%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5023%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5025%2520%2528640x480%2529

 

DSCF5017%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5020%2520%2528640x480%2529 DSCF5016%2520%2528640x480%2529

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.

DSCF5028%2520%2528640x480%2529

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

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The Road Trip – Part 1

DSCF4946 (640x480)

First Glimpse

Now ever since I saw Belle and Sebastian on television I have wanted to visit the Camargue and see the horses for myself.  Living where we do it is only a short drive – 6 hours – but considering I have driven to Bilbao in 8 hrs it should be a piece of cake….. oh yeh??

After doing a few bits and pieces we set off on Monday around 11.30. It was a sunny morning as we headed for the A9/E15, little did we know what was coming.  Driver to Navigator “have you got the road map?” Navigator “What map???” Driver “I put it on the coffee table” Navigator “Oh its going to be one of those trips, just wing it.” so we did.  Nearing Barcelona I noticed dark clouds with lots of flashing lightning not a good omen, we had seen these deluges on TV and they were not to be taken lightly.  But we were, so it seemed, going away from this one – who was I kidding… a bit further on and we couldn’t see the road let alone the vehicles in front.  Lights came on all over the place everybody slowed down but in a few minutes we were out into light rain phew…. This happened not once but three times before we were past Barcelona.

Now although we got through that ok which was a good thing, what we didn’t know was as we went through that squall we had missed the sign telling us to move over. So when I saw a sign that said France – Franca I naturally thought that was the route to take – wrong…. it turns out that these are suburbs of Barcelona. This meant we ended up going through and round the city eventually to be re-directed back the way we had come to join the C32 to Badalona before re-joining the A9/E15 and another squall….  this was to be our lot until we were well past Badalona where in warm sunshine we stopped for a coffee and snack while I tried to find a road map of France (no luck) before going on.  Well that’s the first ‘detour’.

We enjoyed the scenery, crossed the border and after this the journey proved to be straightforward until, that is, we came to Arles.  It was here that we really proved our ability to get lost not once but twice!  My advice is don’t come off the motorway until you hit MARSEILLE!!

Navigator “we want junction 5”  Driver “you sure?” Navigator ” yes that’s what it says here. Its where you pick up the D35.”  Driver “ah, well junction 6 is coming up we’ll come off here!!!” don’t ask…. Now we wanted the D35 because it ran down alongside the Camargue to Port St Louis where I decided to make our base….wrong Michael, (best plans of mice and men and all that).  Arles although a pretty little town is one hell of a place to get lost in take it from one who did – twice.  The road signs are not clear – where there are any – and even when you can see one it does not match the map (oh yes we finally got one in France….).  ‘Detour’ number two.

 

DSCF4945 (640x480) DSCF4943 (640x480)

I drove along roads heading south for some while looking for this bloody D35, stopped, asked directions and finally after driving down avenues of Silver Birches – I do so love these trees – came to the D35.  We now needed to head for FOS.  Suddenly there was this Fire Brigade Landrover heading to Fos (it had Fos written on the side) my Navigator uttered those immortal words “follow that Landrover” so I did.  We had our first glimpse of the white horses, Camargue sheep, lush green fields and the sea.

 

DSCF4956 (640x480)DSCF4958 (640x480)

We went right past the Fos turning and ended up in Martigues a small town on the edge of the Camargue near the mouth of the Rhone.  ‘Detour’ number three, but our adventures were not over, oh no.

When we entered the town I followed the signs for the Ibis hotel, came to a roundabout where all the buildings had the word Hotel on them. So I pulled into the first car park I came to and sent the Navigator to book in….  Not quite the safest thing to do. You see the police station, town hall as well as the Ibis (which was tucked away at the end of a curve) had the word HOTEL before their name so you just KNOW I had parked in the wrong place.  When I went to look for my Navigator I found her laughing like a drain and telling me to go move the car now as the police were about to call the bomb squad because I had walked away from the car after parking it in amongst theirs.  Ok not quite true, as she explained, they were concerned until she uttered the words “your not the Ibis hotel are you”….

Anyway  when they had stopped laughing they kindly pointed us in the right direction. Unfortunately this Ibis was full but they sent us to another one where we booked in, had a meal then hit the hay and slept until 6am when we were woken by the noise of the traffic, to begin our exploration of the Camargue.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: