Marseille was another interesting experience. It was different than I had anticipated – larger, less “beachy” and very spread out. Marseille is France’s oldest city and it was really different than Paris. It was a combination of seafood, sailboats and local charm.
Our first day was chill – we saw the old port which was huge, especially compared to Nice and you could totally get the vibe of the history from the Port alone. Very friendly, laid back, charming, modern twisted. We went to the MUCEM – which is a archeology museum but I went for the architecture and views. It was absoutely incredible. It was a true masterpiece like I had never seen up close. We tried to take the boat to the If Castle (where the Crist of Monte Carlo was shot) but boats weren’t running either day. We visited the Hard Rock, where our waiter was undoubtedly on cocaine – and his party trick was rattling off every city that had a Hard Rock, which has topped my list for most underwhelming talents. We did a little shopping, got Starbucks and visited cute little local shops. My two faves were a Chocolate shop where we both ate, easily, 10 Euros worth of samples and purchased items of less value, and a homemade soap store that has turned me off of Dove for eternity.
Our first day was Bastille Day, which is their National Day so a lot was closed and it was less busy. We were leaving the Old Port and the military had the main metro stop closed off with their machine guns – which I’m assuming is supposed to make you feel safe, but it sure didn’t. We got the hell out of there, and the coincidentally that night was the Nice incident, so I didn’t sleep well.
Day Two we tried to lay low – we didn’t know what it was going to be like the day after the attack and France was in three days of mourning, so we didn’t know what would be open or what security would be like. It was oddly calm and normal – I don’t know if it was because everyone felt far removed from the situation even though they are only a few hours away, or what – but it was on our minds. We went to the big Palace in town which was a trek across town through lower income neighborhoods – a true contrast from Nice. The Palace was nice, but they had turned both main wings into Museums so every room had beautiful design and décor but you couldn’t see it past all of the dead, stuffed animals – my favorite. I tried to get some photos of the paintings and architectural details, but almost every photo has a dead bird or something in it #bummer. They had a Canadian section with the most unreasonable animals in it – and all of the animals were not to scale either. The Polar Bears were called White Bears (I guess they don’t care about Political Correctness #Caucasian) and I was bigger than it – like I’m tall and probably gained a few pounds on this trip, but I ain’t bigger than Polar Bears. They had no Geese, Beavers or Moose – but the main Canadian attraction was the Scarlett Ibis – which is a bird and is bullshit because it sure as hell ain’t from Canada. We literally saw a Scarlett Ibis in the Tropical Rainforest exhibit in Valencia at the Aquarium. I haven’t explored every corner of our majestic country, but I can confidently confirm we do not have a Tropical Rainforest.
The last morning was kind of a shit show trying to find lockers for our bags and then exploring. We were tired and were trying to kill time before our train to the airport. I had seen on the map that they had an Angelina’s – which is a cute, upscale, super prentenious café in Paris so I was dying to go – and it was closed and sketchy, so I don’t even think it was the right one. So we went to the Hard Rock and then Starbucks – European Culture 101. Funny Side Bar Story: when we were flying from Portugal to France, we went to Starbucks in the Lisbon airport and they had written by name is Bryan which is standard, but when Danni said “Danielle” they wrote Tania and I almost sha-doobed my pants – it was hilarious. So the first day in Marseille when we went to Starbucks, I super ununciated R-Y-A-N and Danni very clearly said DANIELLE – and I got Roch, and she TANIA AGAIN! It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Two separate occasions back to back, in two different countries, Danielle = Tania. So good.
We struggled to find the right train to take us to the airport and then flew to Barcelona, stayed over night and took the train to Valencia!