provence: marseille

The next morning we rode the bus back to the train station to pick up our rental car.  This occasion marked just one of the many times we were so thankful to have Sujata along for more than just entertainment value when her fluent French saved us from getting screwed on the car rental.  We piled into our little car, cranked up the tunes - I'm not going to lie that I was beyond excited to hear Britney Spears on the radio for the first time in months - and drove to Marseille.

After about half an hour of winding down through the imposing limestone walls of Provence, we caught our first view of the Mediterranean.  I know I've said it before, but there is something so thrilling to me about the water.  The sun shined hot and shimmered over the pure blue water and I declared I wasn't leaving.  Marseille reminded me very much of the town where Joey and I got married, with its rows of sailboats and terra cotta roofs.  It felt amazing to be back on the scenic riviera, even if it was the French side.  So we walked, I took too many pictures, and we walked some more.

Notre-Dame de la Garde on the horizon
After an already long day of trudging through the crowded seaside town in the thick July heat (and trying, unsuccessfully, to find a new pair of shoes), we climbed up what Joey will swear is the steepest hill in the world, only to be met with many stairs and another hill on top of that.  Finally, we reached the beautiful Notre-Dame de la Garde, which, in all fairness to my husband, sits at the highest natural point in Marseille at 532 feet above sea level.  When Sujata remarked that the view was worth the climb, an exhausted, sweating Joey remarked, "Whose side are you on, anyway?!"

With a sweaty, crabby Joey overlooking Marseille.  I climbed the hill with one shoe hanging off my foot so I don't know what his problem is.
Gradually we made our way back down to the sea, where we found a cafe in the shade.  I decided to try the kelly-green drink I'd seen all over Paris, "Get 27."  I quickly discovered the reason Sujata had warned me not to bother.  I might as well have been drinking Scope on the rocks.  My throat still seizes up when I think about it.  Ew.

We found a darling little cafe overlooking the boardwalk for dinner.  I feasted on mussels and french fries, while Joey stuffed himself with bouilabaisse.  Then, completely stuffed and worn out, we walked back to the car and returned to our little cottage to pass out.

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