Marseille is a lovely place. I did a sightseeing tour. It was probably the most disappointing tour of the trip. No, not that it failed to deliver; it was absolutely what it said it was, ‘The top 10 sights in Marseille.’ The only thing was I didn’t know what was a good commentary and knowledge of the area and which were the ‘sights’. There was only one stop where we could get out and explore, making the ‘sights’ more of a glimpse if you happened to be on the wrong side of the bus.

The one stop we had was at the Notre Dame Cathedral looking over Marseille and it’s coast from the top of a hill. The view is beautiful. Army fellas with machine guns stood guard at the church, as they did at the dock. After Italy, I got used to seeing the military presence.

The church itself is a beautiful building on multiply levels, with lots of vantage points. They also have a fully stocked God themed gift shop for all your rosary and crucifix needs. The funny thing was that all their souvenirs were overpriced, but there were machines outside the restrooms (which, surprisingly were free to use, unlike many in Europe) that for two euros you got either a souvenir coin or note from the Cathedral. It looks like real currency, but it isn’t….. probably wouldn’t be legal in Australia.

After getting back on the bus, we drove back to the waterfront area of Marseille. I don’t think I have ever seen so many cafes squashed shoulder to shoulder, all with tables looking out towards the yachts. Even McDonalds was set up in this way. Marseille Maccas wasn’t very good. The chips were cold, a gypsy child came up wanting money and food. One thing that was good though was their ‘petit’ hot dogs. A perfect scale model of what would be an awesome hot dog in a brioche roll…. It was just little, no wonder guy behind counter asked if I only wanted one!

Tour guide said that if we wanted to, we could get a shuttle bus back to the ship rather than leaving in 45 mins. Excellent option. Time for gypsy spotting. In Marseille, the gypsy women actually dress like gypsies, making them easy to spot. Long flowing skirts of bright colours, and head scarves, usually with a small child with them.

I stayed in Marseille for the afternoon, I saw the sightseeing by Segway group, the empty ferris wheel, the manic traffic and the shops….

Then it was back to the ship to pack my bags……. Which I did in fact get them closed, quite an achievement. Even more impressive as I haven’t unzipped the extender bit yet.

I am writing this in Barcelona. I got off the ship at about 7.30 and got a taxi to where I am staying. Reception is manned from 9am. Fortunately, there is the breakfast area, where I am able to sit and wait. Funny thing about the port was there were no customs at all to go through. Something went astray with the ship last night and they weren’t able to reach full speed and were 90 minutes late to port.

Anyway, as I said I’m now in Barcelona, flying solo now. Wish me luck!


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