Marseille on my own

We docked at Marseille at around 8am this morning.  I managed to wake up in time for the sunrise over the city.  I had to be out of the cabin also at 8, and my disembarking was scheduled at 8.45, so that gave me time to have breakfast at the main dining room and have a last walk around the ship. Farewell MSC Magnifica, I will miss you.

I got a taxi to Mama Shelter, where I am staying tonight.  Not just any taxi, this one happened to be a very new black Mercedes sedan.  When the driver found out I was Australian, he asked if I knew Mick Dundee.  I told him if I catch up with Mick, I will say hi for him.

I dropped my bags off to Mama Shelter, and head off on foot to revisit Marseille.  (Thank goodness for google maps on my phone).  As I got to the old port, I notice that the ferris wheel that, last year, was on the north-east corner of the old port has vanished.  I believe they pulled it down and will re build a bigger one in the next year.  I had a bit of an idea of my bearings around the port, but wandered further afield than I had previously, as I really didn’t have a deadline to meet.

After seeing a couple of sets of stairs set into a really big, tall brick wall.  With no idea where they lead to, I figured being so high, there would be an awesome view of the entrance to the old port.  No, there wasn’t, but I did, however discover some lovely narrow roads with tiny little shops and restaurants, lots of really impressive street art and not a tourist hotel in sight.  There was something special about wandering where people live, rather than stand after stand of the same souvenirs being sold.

Somehow, I ended up coming out of one of the small streets near the Cathedale La Major which is just across the road from a most amazing building, the Villa Mediterranee.  It seems like it cheats gravity with it’s cantilever ‘wing’ hanging over an ornamental pool.  Apparently, it houses temporary multimedia exhibitions that relate to various aspects of the Mediterranean.  I didn’t go it, I just admired to architecture, it’s amazing.

Located between the Villa Mediterranee and the entrance to the old port is the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, Musee des Civilisations d’Europe et de Mediterranee, which is another amazing building, seemingly wrapped on the back and roof with a sort of filigree which happens to be fibre reinforced concrete.

These buildings need to be seen to be believed.

Then I continued along the marina when I saw the ‘petit train’.  For €8, you can hop into one of the three carriages and go off on a sightseeing trip that eventually gets to the Notre Dame Cathedral that is perched on a hill that provides amazing vantage points to appreciate the beauty of Marseille.  After a stop at the Cathedral, it was back to the marina.

After a bit more faffing around Marseille on the way to my accommodation for the night (and sometimes making wrong turns – this town isn’t all about the grid road plan), I got to the uber hip Mama Shelter.  This place rocks.  Surprises at every corner.  The tv, for example is a 27inch Apple tv loaded with dozens of tv stations, radio stations and free movies, including xxx movies, (although I didn’t check them out!)  Also, the bed has a luminous bedhead which hides a desk and chair behind it.  Character face masks are supplied in each room.

For dinner, I had a Caesar salad and a beer at the equally cutting edge restaurant and bar downstairs, which is also part of ‘the Mama’.

I have just finished watching Last Vegas while typing this and are about to hit what looks like a super comfy bed.


Off to Nice in the morning.


More soon.


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