I try to bounce back from the previous day's events and enjoy France's second biggest city. Plus some big blog-related news - read to the end (or just skip to it...)
Friday 16 Sep 11 - Saturday 17 Sep 11 27 °C
Nothing turned up, much to my disappointment. I eventually got to Marseille, had some food, checked in to my room and made contact with Australia before wandering the streets for hours looking for some toiletries to replace those that were lost. I passed seventeen pharmacies – yes, seventeen – before I finally found one that was open in the evenings.
Freaking annoying day. I wasn’t really in a position or mood to appreciate the pretty little port town, and I went to bed tired and irritated.
I went to the police station the following morning to report the theft, and they took my details, put me in a virtual queue and told me to come back in a couple of hours.
So I went off to explore. I started by climbing the hill up to the Notre-Dame de la Garde, a second ‘Notre-Dame’ after the one in Paris. It was a fair walk up to the top, and the weather was sunny and warm, so it was taxing on my weary legs.
But oh so worth it. The views over the city, the Mediterranean and the mountains behind were absolutely spectacular. The church itself wasn’t bad either, certainly a nice place to cool down, though I’m not sure that was its original purpose.
I was required back at the police station, though, and so I walked back downhill and tried to speak to the new officer on duty. “Parlez vous anglais?” I asked, in my best schoolboy French. “Non. Pourquoi, tu ne parle pas francais?” she replied, meaning ‘No. Why, don’t you speak French?’
If I knew the French for ‘Of course I speak French. I just like to practice my English with police officers when I’m reporting a theft; I find it keeps me on my toes. Oh wait, sorry, no, I don’t speak French – why do you think I would ask you if you spoke English if I could speak French? Given that we’re in France? What would be the freaking point of that? Are you insane?’ then that is the occasion on which I would have used it. Bloody French.
Anyway, I managed to obtain a statement from an officer who did speak some English eventually, then I went back to my room and reported my passport officially missing over the internet.
I went for a walk in the evening, taking in the sights and planning my route for the next morning, as well as attempting to buy some more of the stuff that I’d lost.
Dinner was at the local kebab joint, then I caught some sleep.
I packed up and checked out the following morning, and managed to buy some more toiletries before going sightseeing.
I walked along the Vieux Port (old port) to Le Major Cathedrale, which was quite nice. Certainly not as nice as some of Paris’s, say, but there’s no need to queue and to deal with the crowds.
I then had a stroll through the devilishly unnavigatable old town, enjoying the serenity and the ancient buildings, and then eventually, by some complete fluke, coming back out to the Port.
Back to the hotel, where I picked up my bags and got ready to catch the train to Lyon.
In other news, in either this entry or last, I have officially passed the 100,000 word mark! My strike rate has slowed down a bit – the first half of those were written by the start of April (that’s four months), and it’s taken me until mid-September (a further five and a half months) to write the next fifty thousand. But it has still a solid, grafting effort.
Thanks to everyone who has read/speed-read/scrolled/slept their way through one or more entries – it’s nice to know that I am writing for someone, rather than just sending my notes into the vast emptiness of cyberspace.
For comparison’s sake, a book of 100,000 words would be longer than ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, much longer than ‘A Catcher in the Rye’, nearly twice as long as ‘Lord of the Flies’ and getting up to the count of 107,945 for Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. Yep, I could have written a literary classic with this time, if only I’d had the ability. Bah. It has however, more than five times shorter than 'War and Peace'.