Cassis and Marseille

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 ā‚¬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!

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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.

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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.

The flight of the long night

First off, I reassure you we have arrived safely at our destination.

The flights were really; smooth, good food, good service. But what a long night!

We’d had four hours of darkness before leaving Perth at 10:30. Eleven hours later we arrived at the huge Dubai airport where it was around 5:30am, and the sun rose around two hours later. So that’s 17 hours of darkness.

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Dinner, or breakfast, or lunch. Nice whichever.

It was exciting seeing the land whenever we could through the clouds, the expanse of arid country over Iraq and into Turkey, the big cities like Istanbul. Jacob speaks highly of Istanbul and I’d like to get a bit closer than 12km next time.

We arrived right on schedule at Nice to be greeted by fellow Landcruiser owner Pippi and Sylvia, and our old veggie oil friends Virginie and Julien.

Pippi and sylvia had driven from Genoa to Nice, then delivered us to Hyres, all up some three hours one way, and all because I delivered a new super turbo to him. Very generous, as have been everyone we met- apart from the grumpy American that sat next to Kerry on the first flight!

Right now we are packing to go to Marseilles, and yesterday we had a little stroll which I’ll tell you about later.

First we had a picnic on the beach

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Then we started on a 90 minute walk, the scenery was nice.

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And the water sparkled blue when the sun came out.

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But the hills got steeper, and more of them, so the 90 minutes blew out to double that and our hosts discovered that what we thought was a walk was a stroll along a grassy boulevard with coffee and ice-cream, and that unfit old people make their walk a lot longer than planned. Ah to be 30 again!!

Flying tonight

No more sleeps!

Bags are packed.

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Jacob’s car to be loaned to Lisa

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And Pippi’s turbo has been made by Graeme and packed into tim’s bag ready for immediate delivery at Nice airport.

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Doggies are looking concerned with all the packing.

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Baillie and Izzy

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And the garden has been mulched and at last reticulated after a year of waiting for that little job to be done. Kerry says it’s been five years. šŸ™
Roses are going to good this year.

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