I took French for five years and sadly, after being two years out of practice, I can barely remember how to form proper sentences.
After spending the last few days in France, I remembered how much I love the language and want to pursue becoming fluent. Luckily, I was with my friend Katie who IS fluent in French (or close), and she made communicating and getting around a breeze. Also, she knew how to use the all magnificent metro system… which made traveling throughout Marseille awesome.
Our flight leaving from Morocco to Marseille was one that I will never forget. Not the actual flight itself, but the events leading up to it were pure chaos.
To start, our flight left at 8 AM. Katie and I had two options; take the 2 AM train and try to catch the bus from the Fes train station to the airport, or have ISA arrange a taxi to pick us up and take us straight to the airport at 5 AM. Besides the taxi option being safer, it meant we got a little more time to sleep in, so we did. All was great – until the taxi never showed up.
We waited… and waited... until 5:30 hit and we realized that our program coordinator probably forgot to call the cab driver. So, we tried every option available to us. We walked to the train station, and naturally, no trains until 9:30 AM. We walked in the pitch black to the grand taxi station right down the road and no taxis were out that early. And lastly we tried calling our program coordinators numerous times, and neither of them answered their phones. Also, we had gotten followed home from the taxi station – which was the final straw of frustration for both of us. Nearly to tears, we were ready to call it quits. 6 O’Clock rolled around and Katie and I were convinced we weren’t going to make our flight. Even if the taxi somehow showed up at 6, it took an hour to get to the airport and that only gave us thirty minutes to get through customs and passport control until the flight started boarding.
Finally, after numerous tries, our program coordinator answered her phone and called us a taxi. It’s now 6:20 AM – and we tell the taxi driver to speed. He did – and we were one of the last ones to board the plane. At least we made it… right? Phew.
We arrived in Marseille around noon and found our hotel. Which, also in bad luck, was far away from everything we wanted to see. We kept our heads up and utilized the metro, which ended up being significantly cheaper than we thought.
We started the weekend out with a huge box of sugary goodness – aka – the best street churros I have ever had the pleasure of eating.
After this, we went to Le Vieux Port || The Old Port. It was everything I wanted Marseille to encompass. When you ride the escalator up and out of the metro – you’re right on the sea. There was old architecture, Christmas markets, a ferris wheel, and local fish vendors lined up against the sea wall. I saw men buying fresh flower bouquets, women walking with bags of baguettes, and numerous coffee and patisserie shops lining the outer shopping center facing towards the water front. Christmas love was in the air!
I could have cried from seeing Christmas decorations. It was the first time this holiday season I’ve seen green and red put together on something other than a Moroccan flag. It was beautiful, and just what I needed to get me through the next couple weeks away from family.
After this we went north a bit to Palais Longchamp. It houses the Natural History Museum and Musee Des Beaux Arts.
Besides the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this is the first European architecture I have ever seen in person, and it was so beautiful! It took my breath away.
After the Palais Longchamp, we took the ferris wheel for a spin!
Followed by a trip up the hill to Notre Dame De La Garde.
It was gorgeous. I highly recommend seeing the Notre Dame – it was my favorite part of Marseille and would take the trip up the hill again just to see the view!
It was a relaxing few days in France, and I can’t wait to get back into practicing my French. Maybe one day I’ll be fluent, but for now, I’ll stick with traveling and looking at the views.