The thunder woke us up at 4 a.m., but besides that, we rested well in the hostel. We got ourselves ready and joined the other travelers in the kitchen, where we prepared a simple and satisfying breakfast of cereal and baguette. I really love baguette. Like really love baguette. And it was soooo yummy in Marseille. After breakfast, we decided to explore the oldest portion of the city; there was another cathedral there as well. As we waited in line to speak with the receptionist to give us some sense of direction, we started chatting with a young man from California named Robert who was there to try to join the French Foreign Legion. Since he was down for exploring, he accompanied us through our afternoon walk around Marseille.

Out the door and towards the shores, we came across a fish market. The fish was certainly fresh although the poor creatures were suffering a long, suffocating death as they weakly flapped about in a case with just enough water to wet half of their scales. We continued along the shores with the intention of checking out the oldest part of the town. There was a church that was highlighted on the map, simply marked as Cathédrale, so we subconsciously made our way there, not minding to step off the tourist path along the way. We marveled at the architecture as well as the street art that painted the streets until we undeniably reached our destination. Some of the church had been built thousands of years ago while the rest was more recent. It turns out that Robert’s studies were geared towards history and symbols, so he pointed out and explained the significant behind the different symbols within the architecture of the church. It was beautifully spontaneous how we stumbled upon Robert, how he joined us on our walk through the city, and just so happened to know all of the details behind the images and structures that we were engaging in this space for the weekend. It’s just something you can’t plan.

We lingered, moving along land with sea continuously at its side, noting the Notre Dame in the distance, a team practicing for a boat race, the rough rock face of sculpted buildings under the rainy grey skies of that afternoon. Eventually we ended up back where the morning fish market had taken place. Since Leah really wanted to try Marseille’s famous dish, bouillabaisse, and lunch had become the hour, Leah and I parted ways from Robert.

The restaurant that was recommended to us was not far from where we were. The restaurant was almost like a dining room. It was cozy and small with a warm personality. We were met by a hostess (who spoke English) and were seated in a corner to ourselves. There was no need to look over the menu, and we only had water to accompany our stew. It came with freshly made croutons and a garlic sauce, both of which you were supposed to eat with the stew. The combination of the three together was very flavorful, and we left satisfied.

With enough room for dessert, we decided it would be at a little chocolate shop Leah had found in a brochure. As we were heading up that way, we took pictures of the different monuments and impressive buildings. One monument in particular caught our attention, and we thought there might be more to it. It was in the other direction on the same road as the chocolate shop, so instead of having dessert just then, we headed in the opposite direction to get a closer look. It turned out not to be as expansive as we initially thought, but it wasn’t in vain (along the way I bought a pair of boots which I had been on the search for). We popped in and out of the stores along the long road and finally made our way back to the address listed on the brochure for some much desired chocolate to find that the spot had moved to another location. Since we had passed a bakery not too long ago, we decided instead to enjoy a French pastry rather than hunt for chocolate. After I bought one more pair of shoes (they were affordable and I had also been wanting a pair of this style for a long time….no judgments, people), we headed to the bakery. My imagination had been craving something with whipped cream and strawberries, and Leah’s macaroons. We were both in luck as the bakery supplied our taste buds’ desires and more! Since there was no room to sit and enjoy our sugary treats, we headed across the street to a little café and ordered cappuccinos. Since we didn’t know how to ask if we were allowed to eat food from outside of the café in the café (and didn’t have the desire to try to act the questions out with our hands and broken English/Spanish/Portuguese), we just drank our cappuccinos and headed back to the now vacant bakery to dine on our dessert.

As the day grew old, we realized that we should get back to the hostel, get our things, and head over to the house of the Coach Surfer that had offered to put us up for the next two nights of our visit. After laughing at a few Youtube videos together in the lobby of the hostel and eating the rest of our pastries in the hostel’s kitchen, we packed up and headed for the metro. Of course, as was only convenient, the skies opened up again and released a steady stream of rain. Yet despite our struggle to balance our umbrellas and bags with our wet hands and frustrations, we made it to the metro and our destination without much trouble. There was the car accident…but that wasn’t a problem. Once our coach surfer picked us up from the metro station in her car, someone hit us from behind. But it was a light bump, and there was no damage…”No pasa nada.” We arrived to her place where she and her roommate cooked us a traditional French dinner. We ate and talked over cultural perceptions and stereotypes about the French and Americans as well as the smaller things like their jobs and hometown.

It was a nice way to end another great day in Marseille.

Advertisements