Euro Trip Day # 33 : Marseille – Fish Spa, golden statue and other curious things

26th September 2014

I was off early to devote another day to a tour in the city. I began at the Palais Longchamp.

The Palais Longchamp is a monument that houses the city’s musee des beaux-arts and natural history museum. The surrounding park (the Parc Longchamp) is listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the notable gardens of the France.

Palais Longchamp, Marseille, France

Palais Longchamp, Marseille, France

On my way back to the old town, I saw a funny zoo. It is the name and not an adjective I used to describe it. Seeing colourful animals was funny indeed. It is difficult to understand the motivation behind this fun though.

Funny Zoo, Marseille, France

Funny Zoo, Marseille, France

In the old town I saw the La Vieille Charite museum. La Vieille Charite in the Panier is an architecturally significant building designed by the Puget brothers. The central baroque chapel is situated in a courtyard lined with arcaded galleries. Originally built as an almshouse, it is now home to an archeological museum and a gallery of African and Asian art, as well as bookshops and a café. It also houses the Marseille International Poetry Centre.

La Vieille Charite, Marseille, France

La Vieille Charite, Marseille, France

Next to this museum was a fish-spa. I entered only to see what it was. I ended up having first hand experience of it. Fishes biting your feet! Yes, that is a fish spa. Fishes supposedly eat the germs not visible to eyes. Because they eat so much, you could actually see their size growing. (Fish spa can go on for a good 30 minutes, enough time for a fish to grow to a notable size)

Fish Spa @ Marseille, France

Fish Spa @ Marseille, France

Alleys and passages in the old town were beautiful and bore marks of the old times.

A street art, Marseille, France

A street art, Marseille, France

I saw a bike hanging below a window. I had never seen such a thing before.

Get out of window and ride!

Get out of window and ride!

Marseille Cathedral  Cathédrale de la Major) is a cool Roman Catholic cathedral near the port of Marseille and a national monument of France. I basked there on a bench.

Marseille Cathedral, Marseille, France

Marseille Cathedral, Marseille, France

I bought some souvenirs in the old town market.

I met Sabi at the white church near the port at 6:30 pm. We went to pick up Marylise at her work. While waiting for her, I saw this interesting  sculpture with a prank.

VLC player as a crown ?

VLC player as a crown ?

Together, we went to the infamous hill of Marseille to see the Sunset.

Notre-Dame de la Garde (literally Our lady of the Guard) is a Catholic basilica at the highest natural point in Marseille (490 feet) which happens to be a neat, beautiful hill. Most notable thing about this church is the drawbridge which I found really cool. The golden statue of Virgin Mary and the baby jesus is quite remarkable as well.

Notre-Dame de la garde, Marseille, France

Notre-Dame de la garde, Marseille, France

The view of Marseille was awesome from the hill. We had taken beers with us and spent the most pleasurable evening watching Sunset and drinking beer.

Sunset from the hill, Marseille, France

Sunset from the hill, Marseille, France

A little touch of madness was given with a shadow play we attempted when it was dark and a spot light was on our way (literally and figuratively).

Shadow play on the chuch walls, Marseille

Shadow play on the chuch walls, Marseille

For dinner we went to a restaurant of Marylise’s choice. It was next to her school. “Chickpeas with couscous” was quite a mouth-watering dish. Mazepein was the sweet-most dessert I had ever had. End of the day could not have been sweeter!

Just another restaurant in Marseille !

Just another restaurant in Marseille !

Selfi at the hill of Marseille with Marylise and Sebastien.

Selfi at the hill of Marseille with Marylise and Sebastien.

(to be continued…)

Euro Trip Day # 32 : Marseille – Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea

25th September 2014

I had the slowest breakfast of my life. It was a sunny morning and we were eating for a full two hours in the terrace. We rented two bikes, one for Sebastien and one for me. Marylise had her own. We went to the beach by bike. Marseille has got very many beautiful beaches. Some of them are sandy beaches while others are rocky.

A cool beach view, Marseille, France

A cool beach view, Marseille, France

Biking in the sun was great and I was eager to dive into the Sea. We passed many beaches but they had THE beach in mind to go to. Marylise and Sebastien knew quite a few quiet and serene beaches where we could swim and bask. We grabbed a pizza on the way and with no surprise we were the only three people on the beach.

Biking in Marseille, France

Biking in Marseille, France

It was my first time swimming in the sea. But Sebastien and Marylise were good swimmers and were always around me. We swam under the water, saw beautiful fishes. It was a great moment when I handled a live star-fish!

Swimming in the Mediterrenean Sea, Marseille, France

Swimming in the Mediterrenean Sea, Marseille, France

We had a couple of spells of lazing on the pebbles and swimming.. I was in love with that place. It was probably not a touristee beach, because many locals came there for swimming. While we were sunbathing, a guy came without any bags or extra clothes. He just took off his clothes right there and swam for half an hour and dried himself in the Sun and went back. For a moment, I felt very jealous of this life. Such a beautiful place to swim at so convenient a distance! What a good quality of life these people are living. Nature has given us everything it ever can, it’s up to us to embrace and enjoy it!

Our private beach! , Marseille, France

Our private beach! , Marseille, France

A newly married couple came there to take their wedding pictures. That was very funny. I had seen married couple taking pictures in the parks and such, but coming to a rocky beach and entering the waters was the peak of Romance. They entertained us with funny poses.

Immersed in love!

Immersed in love!

We walked back to the city as we had parked the bikes at their destined parking station near the beach.

We saw a game of Petanque. Petanque is a form of boules where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally “piglet”) or jack, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground.

Poeple playing "Petanque", Marseille, France

Poeple playing “Petanque”, Marseille, France

Had a beer @ one of the popular cafes.

Café de l'Abbaye, Marseille, France

Café de l’Abbaye, Marseille, France

I bought soaps from the famous soap shop (Marseille soaps are popular for some reason). The shopkeeper made a mistake calculating the total and gave me more change than I deserved. When I realized that, I went back and returned the money. She looked very surprised and gifted me other soaps.

In the evening, we went to attend a house warming party of Charlotte, Marylises’s friend.

Charlotte and Marylise at the house warming party.

Charlotte and Marylise at the house warming party.

At her place I saw an email from Amazon about delay in the joining date. I could not have extended my Euro trip any more and that was worse than anything else. My VISA was to expire on 1st October and I had to be back in Holland before 1st. Charlotte and Marylise tried to cheer me up with their kind words. Sebastein joined us later and we had a good party.  Seba and Marylise had made my day. Swimming in the Mediterranean was an experience!

Three musketeers!

Three musketeers!

(to be continued…)