Saturday, May 20, 2023

May 5, 2023 – Marseilles, France – Mostly Sunny – 70F

Another gorgeous day in Southern Europe.  

Another great breakfast (even though people are eating earlier to get off) and personalized room service for Ellen (our new cabin is closer to the food so few steps).  Even so, I was able to get a good seat up in the Oceanview Cafe.

We are joined here today by the Costa Fascinosa and the ginormous MSC Seashore (the biggest ship ever built in Italy with a passenger capacity of 5,632 or about 2,000 more guests than Beyond). 

While taking a picture of the Costa ship, I also captured an amazing number of contrails from jets taking off from the nearby airport.


It's a short day in Marseilles so we decided not to go on an excursion (they all departed very early and we have been on some of those in the past).  Our plan, instead, is to visit the Vieux Port (The Old Port).  We purchased tickets from Shorex ahead of time (10 Euro for the two of us).  

The ride to the port was relatively short and the bus was comfortable.  It was about 10 AM and a lot of the stores were not yet open.  We were dropped off at a fancy “strip” mall near La Cathedrale de La Major.  

From there, we had to ask a few people (not much English here) how to get to the Old Port.  The Old Port was not just up the street – it was quite a way and downhill from the mall.  The port is in Le Panier, the oldest district in Marseilles.

Using Google Maps, we made our to the harbor. The fortress-like building at the intersection where we turned left to find the harbor is The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations. 

The harbor is a U-shaped port with lots of small boats moored.  

The street bordering the harbor is fairly busy and there is a ticket booth for tours (hop on hop off, etc) on the sidewalk.  We saw several tour busses pass down the street.  Drivers are mostly polite and will let pedestrians cross.

Restaurants line the street along Le Panier and only some of them were open.  We walked about two thirds of the way along the harbor and then decided to turn back because the walk was becoming a bit painful for me.  From our location, because it was such a clear day, we could see Notre Dame de La Garde in the distance. 

The basilica, which stands nearly 500 ft above Marseilles is the highest structure in the city.  It was built in the mid 19th Century and is a popular tourist attraction and a pilgrimage site.

I wanted to try the local coffee and get off my feet for a few minutes so we made ourselves comfortable in one of the open air coffee shops along the Vieux Port (actually, I don't think we actually made it to the Old Port, which was still a ways down the road). I could have set up business in the coffee shop because no one paid any attention to us until I flagged down a server and asked for a menu.  The coffee cups are small of course and my Café Americano was about 4 Euros.  

While I was nursing the coffee, a French Fly wandered into my expensive coffee. I showed the evidence to another server, and he ponied up a replacement but this coffee was actually a mocha latte so I did well on the exchange. Thanks, Mon. Fly for doing your part to increase tourism.

We stayed at the Coffee place for quite a while.  We had good phone signal in Marseilles, and I do like to people-watch (both in the restaurant and on the sidewalk).

Even though no one made us feel like we were loitering, we left the restaurant, walked the several blocks (all uphill) back to the meeting point, Along the way, we checked out restaurant menus, for future reference, and found the prices to be semi-reasonable and the food options diverse.

Fortunately, the bus was at the meeting point when we arrived.  We showed our tickets, got on, waited a few minutes and headed to the ship.

When we got to the room there was a handwritten note from Alexa thanking me for my presentations on this voyage – a first and very, very nice.  It was great working with her.

A nice lunch on board and then some quiet time.

We watched the sail away from our cabin.

I had the pasta chef make me Spaghetti Olio in the Oceanview Cafe.  The last time, I had this dish, there wasn't enough olive oil, and it was dry.  Not this time.  Plenty of oil and garlic.  Really good.  

While Ellen was getting a charm in the EFFY store (charms were given away every evening). There was also a nightly raffle, which Ellen actually won one night.  While that was going on, I was just down the road In the Grand Plaza, watching a flash mob led by Alexa.  Alexa is a trained dancer so she did a good job of imparting some dance moves to the mob.  They were very entertaining.

Tonight’s entertainment is a reprise performance by “Uptown” so we passed and instead found a quiet place in the Eden complex. I've been in Eden several times but I hadn't noticed this living "chandelier" in the ceiling.

Took a few millimeters off the bottom of my sneakers today with 10415 steps, 469 Calories, and 4.45 miles.  Here's the evidence.

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