Julien and Virginie continued to be a great help to us, supporting out very tentative attempts at French and laughing in a kind way at our miserable failings!
Seems like our various credit cards are not that compatible with the toll road systems, or much use when trying to book online. This is an annoyance, not yet a problem. We’ve been able to get cash out, and buy items (beer) at a supermarket, but they do not work as smoothly as they do on the Australian systems, often needing a signature instead of a pin.
I also discovered that leaving data on is a bad thing with the iPhone. At home I get a gigabyte per month and hardly use Anything. Julien got me a French Orange SIM card, and they count there data use by the minute, not volume. So €35 went overnight. That’s $50. So now we are traveling without the data benefits, like maps, that I though we would get.
However, these are minor annoyances and part of the learning experience.
We drove via Cassis on the coast from Hyres to Marseilles today, and arrived in time to have an authentic north African cous cous meal in a local Muslim restaurant. A few pieces of fruit have done us for dinner!
We were impressed with extraordinary coastline around Cassis, with 400m sheer drops into the ocean where Julien plans to rock climb. He is looking forward to climbing up the cliff and arriving at the top amongst a throng of bewildered tourists at the lookout at the top of his climb!
Marseilles is Virginie’s home town. It was founded some 2600 years ago but expanded in the 18th century. Tiny streets, highly urbanized living and surrounded by scenic mountains, it’s an interesting place for sure. We took a little tourist train, I.e. A truck pulling trailers, around the city and up to the imposing Marseilles cathedral for our first cathedral experience of this trip.
After a four hour hike yesterday, the one after the picnic, and heaps of walking today, with the weather in the high 20’s, we are tiring easily. The tourist train was a welcome respite.
Alarms are set for 5am in the morning so we can catch our train to Lyon, then coach to Geneva. We didn’t book until today, not realizing all the high speed TGV would be booked up, so it’s a slow train, and a coach that will get us into Geneva mid afternoon instead of midday like we had planned.
We’ve said goodbye to our friends now, so are on our own until Hannover in a couple of weeks.