Thursday, 17 June 2010

First view of the Mediterranean

I caught my TGV to Marseilles in plenty of time today.

The train had a high percentage of men in business suits plus french residents and tourists. I had a seat by the window on the top story but no power so I decided against using my laptop. Instead I listened to music and watched the changing weather. It was bad after we left Paris. The clouds were almost to the ground and rain was hitting the windows. It's very difficult to take photos when you are hurtling across France at the speed of an aeroplane but here are a couple. The weather in the South of France has been fatal - 25 deaths from storms in the past few days but today was lovely and warm. The suits got off at Avignon. Between Aix and Marseille there is a very long tunnel. When you come out there's the Mediterranean - awesome.

When I arrived at Marseille Valerie was waiting and we deposited my luggage in her office while we went for a walk and had lunch. The restaurant refused to cook my first choice well done so I had to chose something they were willing to make like that. Valerie suggested I try a piece of her meat. I didn't like the taste at all. It was duck. It tasted worse than chicken, more gamey. I guess I really am a beef and lamb girl.

As we walked through the streets a man pushing a stroller made a big fuss, stopping me to tell me how wonderful my butt is. OKKKKKKKK. Later another man commented on how pretty I am. They must smell fresh meat perhaps. Valerie explained that this is normal in France, especially in the south and it is meant as a compliment. That's fine. It would never happen in NZ. In France I get to kiss many people I don't know and attract attention, even at my age so that's pretty cool. I like the way everyone kisses each other, even the men. It's very accepting.

I was advised by Valerie the minute I arrived NOT to take my camera with me this afternoon. This is because of the pick-pockets-quite a problem here. What a shame. Valerie and I have taken pictures on her iPhone but we can't get them out for a few days - sorry about that.We took a ride on the little tourist train that travels around the city. It was lovely.

Valerie cooked a delicious dinner, simple but very moreish. It consisted of vegetables stuffed with minced meat and a rhubarb tart. I could do this myself- maybe I should start cooking like the french. It's not that difficult but you need good ingredients.

Tomorrow we head off to Aix en Provence - the place where ultimately I would like to live one day. It's classy but very expensive.
Photos show view from train, Valerie and her daughter Fanny


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