21.08.2010 - 21.08.2010 35 °C
Our last day in Marseille and later today, in the afternoon, we head off to Lyon by train.
It is already 21 degrees at 8:20 am. You can feel the humidity as you start to perspire even though you just had a shower. That was me last night when it was cooler.
It was very hard to get to sleep last night as it was extremely humid and still hot out at midnight. The air conditioner was still not working and we had left the doors open as well as left the fan running much of the night. We forced ourselves to get some sleep around 1:00 am and set the alarm for 7:30 am. This morning we needed to get up, pack everything and get to breakfast promptly at 8:30 am. Our plan was to do some more sight seeing and some shopping before we had to lug all of our luggage to the train station. Amazingly, I got everything packed. I said to Margy I am just waiting for my suitcase to burp and then explode. I now have one extra bag due to the addition of three bottles of vino. Thanks Jason for your suggestions about more wine. I will just pay the tax.
We went to have our breakfast promptly at 8:30 am. We met our hostess who is a very nice lady and has only lived in Marseilles for the past 1 ½ years. We had our breakfast and packed up our last bits and pieces.
Took a few last pictures of our surroundings as the antiques were just great. Our hostess said that she couldn’t help herself and loved buying old things. I really understand how she feels.
They even have a smaller fridge made by Bosch and it looks like it is from the 50's or 60's and it still works. Our host was quite proud of this.
We left everything in their foyer as we were coming back at 1 pm to collect it all. We had to be there at that time as that is when the housekeeper leaves. Our host and hostess were away for the weekend and left just after breakfast.
We headed out at 10 am to Cours Julien which is the artsy neighbourhood. The word “cours” means courtyard. We had gone to the Italian restaurant on that street on the day that we arrived in Marseille.
Today it was quiet and a few shops were open. As well there was the odd person with a stand selling fruits and vegetables.
We ended up going into a store that is like a combo hardware and dry goods store called . At home it would be like an Army & Navy as they carried some quality products. Quite a few Mr./Mrs. Men items as well as underwear. They sold Dim as well as Shock Absorber. Thank you so much Laura E. for introducing Shock Absorber to me.
Got a phenomenal deal on Shock Absorber bras at 9.90€ each. They only had about 5 bras and two were in my size. Also got some Shock Absorber underwear at just 5.50€ each. Shopping luck!! The bras retail for $40 to $50 Cdn. back home.
We then headed back to Savonnerie Marseillaise de la Licorne for 11 am as that is when there would be a free guided tour of the soap factory. www.soap-marseille.com.
It was most interesting to see how the soaps are made. All their soaps are made with the old machines in the traditional way and in smaller batches. They export a lot of their product and also produce soap for weddings as the token gift to guests. They sold a wide variety of soaps as well as gift packages of soaps.
After the soap tour we walked towards the port and went to the tourism office to get a map of Marseille for me that was in English.
We also found a large food market like the one we frequented in Nice. This one had all the similar items as well but more food and less gift items. There were also some sweets that appeared to be Middle Eastern. Wasps swarmed everywhere even though much of the sweets were covered up with saran wrap.
At this market there was a large variety of ethnicities, all here for one thing, the freshest and best food possible.
After this we did pop into the Monoprix. Nice enough store. Did not find anything spectacular in this one. I expect that the Paris one will have more to offer. We have noticed that prices are much cheaper in Marseille than they were in Nice. My St. Tropez sandals which were a standard 39€ in Nice are 10€ cheaper here. It was just chance that I even saw them, as I never saw them in another store in Marseille, but they were readily available everywhere in Nice.
Stopped for a bathroom break at La Canbiere restaurant. Orangina for me and an espresso for Margy. This was a bit of an odd establishment as it had a bar as well as a tobacco shop.
Did more shopping and poked our heads into more stores before we got back to the Pension Edelweiss for 12:40 pm. The temperature was now a sweltering 35 degrees. When perspiring, the sweat would get in your eyes and burn just a bit.
We got to the train station at shortly before 1 pm. There were massive steps to get to the top of the train station but there were also escalators around the other side. With all that we had to take, we used the escalators. You would never know that the stairs led to a train station as there were amazingly beautiful statues and the light standards were decorated beautifully.
We went to sit in the very nice air conditioned waiting area. We then turn turns going out to purchase our lunch in one of the many restaurants in the Gare Marseille.
I had my first McDonalds in France and it was amazingly good. Maybe I was just really hungry but I don’t think so. The last time I had McDonalds was in Hawaii 2 ½ years ago and it felt like a lump in my gut. The fries were crisp if a tad on the salty side. Burger was good with meat not dried out, lettuce, cheese and a good hunk of tomato and Dijon like mayo/mustard combo. I had the New York burger. And just because I had a Coke Zero to wash it all down. Much better than I expected and I really liked it. Maybe I am a little hung over? Anyways cost was 7.20€ and had an Asian cashier even. There was also a McCafé right next to the McDonalds. The McCafé was not just any coffee shop, it was a gourmet French one. You could get several different types of macaroons as well as tiramisu. Check out pictures.
We then went to the baggage storage area to retrieve my one suitcase and carry bag. We were able to store the suitcase and carry bag at this train station as we were taking a train going in the same direction as the one we had previously arrived on. We won’t be able to do this in Lyon.
Now we had luggage, three suitcases, two backpacks and three smaller bags to carry. We were loaded down, and no they were not all mine although most were. I packed light for this trip but I have done a lot of shopping. I have stimulated the economy here in France as much as I have been able.
After that just chilling and blogging while we wait for our train to depart. Margy has gone to find out what platform we need to board from. We were boarding on platform H and at the very end of the train which was like walking a good 2 long blocks. Trains are very long here in order to carry as many passengers as they do.