Aug. 13th, 2012 01:10 pm
sarahblack: (Karen Gillian being gorgeous)
[personal profile] sarahblack
The last few days in Marseille have been wonderful. I've been staying with Laufey, a friend I used to work with.

My first days here were really easy-going. I needed to plan the trip ahead, decide which countries to go to and try to arrange couches to surf. So far I have a place to crash in Switzerland, Rome and Vienna.

But after sorting out these boring practical matters, I went for a bike ride around the neighbourhood with Laufey. We stopped by the ocean to have some celebratory cocktails (it was actually her birthday that day) and watch the sunset. Then we had a lovely birthday dinner at a Japanese restaurant where the waiter insisted on trying to get us drunk by giving us really delicious sake.

First time on a bike after a decade or so...

After Laufey came home from work the next day she took me on a scooter ride around Marseille. It was so much fun! Scooters are the best mode of travel in the ridiculous heat that prevails here. We stopped at a little bar by a secluded beach for a drink and then did some reading until the sun had set and there wasn't enough light to read by anymore. We cooked ourselves some delicious dinner when we got back to her place, sat on her balcony to enjoy the warm evening, drank wine and talked until it was time for sleep.

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On Saturday I went with Laufey to her lab because she needed to do some minor work there. It was cool to see such a big and well funded lab! Laufey had everything she needed to do her work, plenty of space and good materials. Her office was really nice as well. Then we were off to the beach! We went to a really beautiful spot, I think the area is called something like 'Calanque de Sugiton', and stayed there for hours! I went for a swim in the pleasantly cool ocean, spent ages trying to get all of my skin protected from the sun, and did a lot of reading.

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Yesterday was spent exploring the city. Laufey took me to see the two main churches, the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde and the Cathedral de la Major, the Saint Nicolas fortress, a palace which was built by one of Napoleon's descendants (and then only used by him once!), part of the 'old Marseille', and a display of art by Hundertwasser.

I really liked the Notre Dame de la Garde. It was so bright, colourful and full of ships! Not nearly as ominous as the gothic churches that I looked at in Paris. The way that the church was decorated also had a lot of references to other religions, which I thought was interesting.

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The evening was spent on the beach with some friends that Laufey hadn't seen in ages. There was pizza, which we ate straight out of the box, and red wine, which we drank out of glasses that had been brought along. It was relaxing to sit by the ocean and listen to the waves hit the shore whenever there was a lull in the conversation. And I liked the fact that the stars I could see were the same as the stars I frequently see at home. ♥

Tomorrow I think I will go to explore the Chateau d'If. On Wednesday I'm heading for Geneva.
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Sarah Black

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