On our first full day in Marseille, we were once again blessed with superb weather and while Mary, Andrew and Patricia kept out of the sun by visiting art galleries, Susan, Mrs Iootlepedal and I behaved like proper tourists and made use of the “hop on and hop off” bus, though I hopped on and hopped off more than them. They hopped on and stayed on until the tour was completed while I hopped off three times and then walked back.
We walked down the west side of the harbour….
…until we arrived at the Town Hall…
…where we caught the bus.
The bus proceeded at a very leisurely pace, allowing us plenty of time to enjoy the views of buildings….
…and the old port as we trundled along.
My first hop off was to revisit the Palace du Pharo and its art work…
…which I had visited the day before. The views were just as good in the morning.
After I had hopped on the next bus, I was driven along the coast road or corniche and I stopped and hopped off when the bus turned back into the town. I was able to rest for a while on the almost continuous concrete bench which lined the road for a considerable distance (possibly the longest park bench in the world)…
…and stare out across the Mediterranean.
I looked right at rugged headlands and inlets….
…and left at an unexpected little beach. It looked so inviting that I wished that I had brought my dookies with me so that I could have gone for a swim.
Then I popped across the road and had a cup of coffee at a handy cafe before hopping on to the next bus that passed.
This took my up a steep hill on very narrow and windi ng roads that tested the driver’s skill to the maximuim. Nevertheless we arrived safely at the Notre Dame basilica that overlooks the port.
The guide book said that I would get splendid views from the top of the hill and it did not lie.
I could see the new harbour…
…the Frioul Islands and the Château d’If
…the view to the west…
…and the view over the main part of town.
Rather than hop on the bus again, I walked down the hill to the old port and joined Mrs tootlepedal and Susan for lunch. It must have been a good lunch becuase after it, they went to the top of the harbour and enjoyed some views of their own…
From the top of the big wheel.
You get three complete rotations for your money.
I was not tempted to join them.
After this excitement, we walked back down the quay and while Susan went back to the hotel for a snooze, Mrs Tootlepedal and I hopped on the bus again and I completed the bit of the tour that I had missed before lunch. It took us to one of the most recent additions to the town’s architecture, the MUCEM or museum of European Culture.
Fortunately, it was closed so we just admired it from the outside and walked round the shore taking in the equally brutal old building on the other side of the harbour.
Then we climbed up to a place where we could look back across the old harbour…
Did I mention that there were quite a lot of boats moored there?
My morning viewpoint viewed from below
The hills that provide a dramatic backdrop to the town.
We walked along some back streets and enjoyed a refreshing drink of freshly pressed orange juice before dropping back down to the port side.
They like an arch in Marseille
And then, refreshed by the orange juice, we walked back up to the Palace du Pharo to show Mrs Tootlepedal the views from there which she had missed by staying on the bus in the morning.
The harbour was very busy below us.
But we looked up to see the cathedral….
Cathedrals are always under repair. That’s MUCEM in the foreground.
And a cruise ship almost as big as a cathedral.
There was some fauna and flora to be seen too.
We strolled back to the town and I admired the iron balconies that adorn so many buildings in Marseille….
…and the fine façade of a church overlooking the harbour.
After a final look back at the basilica….
…we returned to the hotel, hot but happy.
In the evening we met the rest of the party and we were treated to a slap up dinner in a fancy fish restaurant by my stepmother Patricia which introduced me to creatures of the ocean hitherto imagined… and very tasty too.
A day definitely on the credit side of the great ledger of life.