Last meal: homemade nachos.
Drink of choice: Chartreuse cocktails.
Song in my head:
WOW, sorry. Way too long between posts. Catchup, here goes:
Arrived in the dodgy temporary terminal of Lyon airport, where we waited for our baggage for half an hour in near-freezing conditions with an entertaining little kid who kept trying to break the rules, e.g. open the emergency doors, climb on the baggage carousel etc. He kept falling over too. What a great child.
Managed to make our way to actual Lyon city and checked into an oddly perfumed hotel near a stabby park outside the train station. Had crêpes/galettes and cider for dinner at a Breton restaurant down the road.
The next day we changed accommodation to get a bit closer to the centre of town. The day went fairly boringly (to write about) – just wandering around, looking in shops etc. Hired bikes similar to the Parisian system and rode around a little. Found an awesome design shop and vowed to return. Ate dinner at a boucherie (we were given complimentary bread and paté with the menus)!
Did indeed return to the design shop the next day, and bought ~€80 worth of stuff – eek! Only live once. Also FINALLY bought a rain jacket. It’s hypergreen and ultracool.
As the sun went down, we headed up on the Lyon Eye, which was overpriced and hijacked by a stupid mother and her stupid kid who insisted that they come up in our booth thing so they didn’t have to wait for another rotation. Whatever bitchez.
Headed down to Marseille the next day. Sweet TGV train trip – awesome landscape and Provence’s immediate palpable warmth. Seriously, I think the weather physically changed at the equivalent to the You-are-now-entering-Provence sign.
Marseille was a funny funny place. It was really rather windy, which is what we’re attributing the strange behaviour to. I wanted to go there because I’m a Count of Monte Cristo nerd, and also we’d heard good things. Also this was our chance to see the Meditteranean, since all the Côte d’Azur cities are way l’espense.
As soon as we arrived, we found upon the ground a tooth. Indeed, a complete human adult premolar. Jus wouldn’t let me pick it up.
Whilst we were waiting for the host of our accommodation, an old lady came up to us (we were sitting al fresco at a café) and spoke at us (at us) in her strong Marseillaise accent for LITERALLY 45 minutes. Don’t ask me what she was talking about – all I know is that she had a thing for Jus and kept making moves to kiss him. Best introduction to a city evah.
The hot water system exploded at our accommodation (which ended up being on the same street as the crazy old lady! Lucky save…), so ended up staying south of the city near the beach that night (the sea spray was so cold and salty)! Dinner at an incredibly kitsch restaurant, completely decked out in animal skins. COMPLETELY: I’m talking chairs, I’m talking booths, I’m talking wall hangings. Leopard, jaguar, zebra, and (wait for it) even COW prints. And the waitress was wearing a jacket with a fur trim. We enjoyed ginormous cocktails (Jus: what they lacked in quality, they accounted for in quantity) which had straws with TASSLES sticky-taped on! Tassles! Definately a going-out highlight of the French experience thus far.
Next night ended up staying in the Panier quarter (old market area) in the whitest-decorated apartment ever, with a rooftop balcony! Sat there basking for a lil while, and walked around Marseille a bit. It was NYE so we also bought some food for the following day (oh, the French and their public holidays!) and of course, some French alcoholic delicacies (i.e. Chartreuse – green is good right?) A very good investment, I must say.
Were feeling particularly … let’s say “antisocial” by 10pm, after watching TV shows and drinking since the sun set, so we didn’t actually leave the apartment building for the turn of the year. HOWEVER, party goers, do not worry, we DID go out onto the balcony/roof and yell things to passers-by, whilst massive boat horns hooted until about a quarter past. It was nice to not have the night illuminated by a kazillion(-dollars worth of) fireworks, except a few in the distance, but the seagulls were absolutely freaked out by all the pandemonium below and were circling above, with yellow bellies (from the lights of the city) stark against the dark sky. Poetic.
Next “morning”, we felt rather delicate. I went for a run all the way around the Old Port (NYResolution: run/exercise EVERY day). Sat on the roof balcony getting some Vit D for a while, had baths, did a whole heap of washing. Exciting. On the 2nd (happy birthday Mum!), tried to actually see a tad more of Marseille. Got to the dock for ferries to Château d’If (OMG Edmond Dantes, you poor bastard!) a tad too late, so didn’t get to go there. Marseille/Dantes tour is definately on the cards for later this year. Decided to head up the hill to Notre Dame de la Garde, an incredible basilica overlooking all of Marseille (the wrist circumference of the golden baby Jesus at the top is 1m)! After a heck of a walk, the view was very worth it.
Heading down was also much fun, finding an abandoned tyre (of COURSE we rolled it down the road, ignoring potential hazardous consequences!) and sliding down the handrails of a darn long set of stairs. Jus’ jeans are now significantly worn.
Next day, left Marseille for Avignon. Lovely train trip, lovely city. All fortified and old school. Our flat was above a french comic book shop, and across a square from a café. Yesssssss! Low-key late dinner of vegie stirfry with noodles! The following day, we didn’t really do much at all after a coffee and croissant at the café (whose barista really wasn’t impressed with us) until heading out to the local supermarket for ingredients for nachos. Health.
However we made up for it on the Thursday, when we walked the eastern half of the perimeter of the city walls (Jus was freaking out about going that ‘far’ without being on at least two wheels) then, after taking happy snaps of Le Pont d’Avignon, headed into the Papal Palace, home before the Vatican.
After an extensive tour (they really have so much information: pie charts of average spending percentages of each of the main Popes. That part was actually really interesting!) A DEFINITE highlight, possibly of the entire trip, was the choice to purchase, complete with cork ammunition, a legitimate working crossbow! Naturally we couldn’t put it down on the way back to the apartment, much to the locals’ distress (I don’t really get why – what’s so wrong with a young screaming woman being chased by a young man with an archaic weapon through the cobbled streets?)
The following day, we caught a bus (surprisingly, from THE creepiest bus station ever. Smelt of urine, was underground and very dark, and there was a hobo asleep against a bin) to Aix-en-Provence! I’d read some good things about this student-y and Roman-times-y home of Cézanne, so off we went! After a slight hullaballoo with our accommodation, we were upsized to a SUPER cool flat off of the main promenade. We spent the entire afternoon basking in the sun in the loungeroom because it was freaking freezing outside, reading assorted english/french magazines/books/posters on the walls. And for dinner, we cooked IN AN OVEN!!
On the 7th (Saturday – come on, keep up!), after stumbling upon a morning market, we tried to organise getting to a famous mountain nearby, Sainte-Victoire, which was featured in many of Cézanne’s paintings(?), however because it was a Saturday and also due to our faffing, it turned out to be too difficult/we wouldn’t be able to get home, so we did the same thing as the previous afternoon (much to our content).
On my evening run (yes, my New Years Resolution is going very well, thank you!), got lost and had to call Jus at the apartment to get me back there (I was on the corner of Rue de la Molle and Cours Sextius: what names?!) which was rather hilarious, until I fell onto my face in a crowded square and ripped my awesome purple running leggings! The scabs are starting to heal nicely now though. The two on the heels of my hands made me look like the Messiah for a while there, but one of the ones of my leg is a real bitch! Looks like she’s gonna scar, boys.
After returning home, many curses and a vow to hate Aix-en-Provence/avenge my right patella, we got takeaway from a sushi restaurant around the corner. That made me feel better.
Got up early the next morning to catch a bus to Grenoble!
Future home town? STAY TUNED…
Sorry for the word vomit: another post to completely catch up is coming SHORTLY!