Suddenly a clean yet simply furnished home (sans all the toys and gadgets like…swing sets, plasma TV and what-not is both welcoming and comforting!
The trip to Marseille was an eye-opener, to say the least. The city is the second largest in France and is the biggest commercial French port (the other is up north in Le Havre). It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and therefore welcomes a Mediterranean climate to its shores. This means that in summer, temperatures can soar up to 40 C!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When you reach Marseille, the first thing you’ll noticed are the palm trees, cactus and bougainvillea – yes, if it weren’t for the stone brown Mediterranean homes, I would never have suspected that I was in France.
The south is hugely different from the north (think Le Havre, Strasbourg, Colmar, Nantes, etc) in that it sees a huge influence from Algeria, Tunisia and other neighbouring countries. To reach these countries, all you have to do is just hop on a ferry and that’s it! You’ll find that there are a lot of prevailing Southern attitudes as well – terrible driving, plenty of impatience and one big huge bordel (mess) when it comes to getting things done or even just finding your way around the city.
It didn’t help with Nil giving me his personal thoughts on the city and its people…and they weren’t pleasant ones either.
After getting used to the Swiss idea of cleanliness, ordeliness and patience, the stench of pee in fire escape stairways, the illegal parking and littering reminded me of home with a different climate. It didn’t help that we ran into a couple of problems when retrieving my personal effects from the shipping company.
Still, Marseille is worth a trip if you’re interested in a French-Mediterranean with spectacular views of the sea and plenty of touristy sites to visit. Make sure that you slot it in during spring or autumn because summer here can get pretty hot and pretty pack with locals trying to jostle for space at the beach! Plus the greenery is greener during those seasons – in summer, everything is just dark green.
And oh, bring plenty of sunblock for those good sunny days, k?
The draw for “Paying It Forward” is going to happen later so anticipate results soon!