Monday, September 26, 2011
Marseille and neighboring ports
Marseille seems to be, as they say here, un incontournable. And yet I don't know it as well as I ought. Happily, I've friends who do and with whom I'll be exploring it further.
In the meantime, simply learning how to avoid horrible traffic jams is a serious trick to be mastered. Getting off the highway at Estaques and not in anyway being persuaded to go back up to the viaduct, no matter the many signs directing you to the View Port in this way, are key to the game.
And, if going that way, best to perhaps not be there on a major international market day. Ah well. No one's perfect. Should this happen, and traffic be beastly, parking non-existent, you can always just keep on going, past the Vieux Port, past La Corniche, past the statue of David (yes) to the East to the fishing villages nestled in the Callanques but 20 minutes out of Marseille. Magical little spots that are unexpected, minimally visited, and where you'll be served a very good Bouillabaisse at a price that won't be startling or painful.
Erick took me to these little villages oh so long ago. We brought along Carrie, our first au pair. I've a photo of Leo walking naked into the water from the boat slip that I believe my father's wife took. I've memories of Jonas not nursing my garlic-infested breast milk when we visited with a group of Canadians in February...
It had been years since I'd been out to these magical sites. Perhaps the last time was with a young woman who'd just lost her pocket book, wallet and everything. We'd brought her to the American Consulate in Marseille to get a new passport, and had to wait till the afternoon to pick it up. So we headed out to Callelongues for lunch.
Every time I see the rickety shacks on the steep rock face I yearn to live in one, hidden from the world for a week, a month, a season, and write. What will I write? I don't know as yet. But somehow, being by this extraordinary blue turquoise sea, these rocks that lead to yet un-chartered (by me) hikes, with the simplest of restaurants beside nestled in this tiny village... I am inspired.