Cruise 2013 – Day 1 – Departure and Marseille

After a horrific 2:40am wakeup call, we headed to Gatwick Airport for our early morning flight. We arrived in France at around 8am and took a bus to our hotel in St gar…something, our hotel was by Port Vieux and about a mile or so walk away from the station where our bus dropped us off.

The streets on the way down to the hotel were a pretty decent representation of Marseilles, cars parked randomly on the pavement, vomit on the pavement, random whiffs of shit as we walked through the streets… One could say that first impressions were less than fantastic, but life goes on, and I guess after living in London it was just kind of a shock to see somewhere that looked even worse.

We go the hotel and dropped off our baggage (lots of baggage, packed for a 10 day trip after all), we are already exhausted by this point through our sleep deprivation, the hotel concierge wouldn’t let us check in just yet though, so we had to go out again into the city to try and waste some time until 2pm when we can actually get into our room.

We stumble upon a massive cathedral, situated literally just down the end of the road where our hotel is located, it’s huge walls and peaks can be seen from far down the street. It’s architecture is impressive, though somewhat ruined by renovation work happening outside, the inside is stunning, the detail on the ceilings and floors was really impressive.

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After exploring the cathedral, we take a walk down to the port, there are some cool buildings here, and a museum of some sort, we have a little look around but ultimately decide to move on as the entrance fees are a little excessive.
We exit one of the buildings and I notice a few people taking pictures of above us, I look up and snap this picture…

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And then shortly after I begin to hear a pitter patter… Rain? I glance upwards and see a very literal shitstorm. It is everywhere, I sprint underneath a nearby awning and feel like a war hero evading an artillery strike. ugh.
We explore around the museum a bit, there are connecting pathways on top and a bridge to some nearby castley kind of buildings. We walk around here for a little, just admiring the scenery. The sandy/clay style used around here actually made it feel like we were in Spain more than France.

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It was down to the port next, we had yet to eat lunch, so we went searching for that, we ended up finding it in a small cluster of restaraunts. The service in the restaraunt was awful, we had to wait ages to place our order, though once we had ordered the food came relatively quickly. I had Mussels and fries – pretty standard French stuff? It was pretty good, the mussels tasted fairly fresh, we were by the port after all I guess.

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We trekked back to the hotel to check in and freshen up… The whole family ended up falling asleep. 2 or 3 hours later, we were out again, we had a walk around the port area some more, partially just wandering, partially trying to scope out something nice for dinner. The sun setting made for some very nice lighting, I’ll let some pictures do the talking for me I guess.

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There was an area with a mirror-like ceiling which was kind of cool.

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Dinner was at a seafood speciality restaraunt, 3 courses for 15 euro, which seemed like a decent price – of course, as they say, you get what you pay for.
The food was awful and the service was equally bad. A sliver of smoked salmon and some toast for starter, a fish boullibaise for Main (which was underseasoned, full of fish bones, the potatoes were undercooked, the bread was borderline stale…) and an apple tart for dessert. Each course took forever to come out as well, I think we were there for around 2 hours – practically held against our will.

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Dinner took so long to come out that by now it was nearing 11pm, we walked back to the hotel and reflected on the day.

Not sure if I mentioned, but there are constant ‘pockets’ of shit-smell just kind of randomly strewn around the town, im not sure whats up with that, but its horrific, i dont know if they lack a sewage system in France or what but it certainly felt like it.

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