Dear Friends,

The number 50 bus leaves from Aix-en-Provence to Marseille every ten minutes, and arrives at St. Charles terminal twenty-five minutes after one has boarded. For only five euros, one can ride in comfort from Aix-en-Provence to the second largest city in France (Paris is the largest).

 *Create your own caption, but this man could’ve driven me anywhere.

Though the bus terminal in Marseille is quite impressive, the surrounding area was a bit grimy. My airbnb host Christa had warned me that the area was a tad run down, and that I should just walk downhill from the terminal to the harbor.

On my way, I wondered if I was on the right path, as all seemed deserted. There was no one around, but I hadn’t accounted for the fact that it was too early on a Saturday morning for people to be up and about. Then, I saw the landmarks of civilization: H&M, Mango, Zara, Promod, and I knew the harbor was near.

* Sweet salesgirl Sandra… don’t judge me, because I shopped a bit.

At the end of Rue de la Republique, the harbor presents itself, resplendent in seagulls and sailboats. To be simple, it’s beautiful/splendid/delightful/marvelous. Ok, now there’s that Mediterranean feel.

When one makes a right at the end of Rue de la Republique, there are a number of cafes facing the water. Side by side on Quai du Port, restaurants offer mussels and fries, pizza, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood and ice-cream. Le Petit Pernod was the goldilocks of cafes: not too expensive, not too cheap, not too pretentious, and not at all fast-foody (a la McDonalds and Quick burger).

* Please notice the guy in the hat is wearing an orange napkin bib, and his companion has a flap where a nose used to be. I had to eat where they were eating. Who wouldn’t?

At the moment, I’m reading Adelle Davis’s Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit, so my eyes went
straight to the meat section (gotta pack in the protein).

* This guy may very well be my soulmate. He was eating alone, and ordered the same dessert as me. Not enough?

Stuffed and satisfied, I crossed the street to where the trams were lined up and paid seven euros for a tour of Marseille. What’d I learn? Um, it’s a very old place. Doesn’t it only matter that it’s gorgeous?

The child that lives within us all isn’t far from the surface. Why else would so many of us get excited to be on an open tram? To dip our toes in the ocean? To smile for photos? To “make-believe?”

* This little boy hugged his brother at every amazing sight.

* Notre Dame de la Garde… a high point, literally and figuratively.

It can’t be a coincidence that Marseille and marvelous start with the same letters.

* I figured that although I’d already eaten dessert, if they’d been in business since 1947, they must know a thing or two about ice-cream. Who am I to deny the experts?

* Very wise decision!

* The cop on the left told me his name was George, George Clooney. For the record, they approached me at the ATM to make an “arrest” (hence the wallet in hand).

 * Lest you forget you’re in France, there’s the random carousel. I’m thinking that they love their kids more in France.

A bientot,

Val

p.s Marseille, a mariner’s dream, washed in soft sunlight…