03.12.2012 - 05.12.2012 5 °C
'Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but if you will sit down quietly, may alight on you' - Nathaniel Hawthorne
After the excitement of Paris, our two day trip down to Marseille was initially a let-down for me.
The motorway traffic. Thankfully, Mark adapted beautifully to French traffic. I'm sure if I lived here, I'd adapt. But coming from a country where we drive on the left hand side of the road, and whose entire population fits into Paris, I'm currently slightly shell-shocked by the sheer volume of cars here.
I have, however, enjoyed the motorway cafes. Real coffee, good quality food, and the opportunity to regroup after what in my mind were dozens of 'near-misses' with other cars .
You've gotta love a country where there is real coffee everywhere!
Although we were only there overnight, the cobbled streets of Lyon were delightful.
On our arrival in Marseille, once again I was overwhelmed by the traffic and the style of driving - it has a kind of manic order about it. To the untrained eye (me), it looks chaotic, but it appears to work!
After the constant pace in Paris, I was looking for a more relaxed few days in Marseille, and in my head (which is not always a realistic place), we would be able to have leisurely 'country drives' around Marseille. Not with that traffic.
The trip down and the traffic driving to our Apart Hotel led into a minor meltdown. In my professional life I'm (almost always) in control. I save the tantrums and release my insecurities at home, much to the delight of my husband.
I think I expected every day to be a 'feel good' day, and I had placed expectations on myself (very like me) that I would feel outstandingly happy, enthusiastic and energetic ALL THE TIME we are away:P. A combination of my occasional inclination for stress (because let's be honest, i do like to control everything) and my blood disorder, meant that yesterday morning I was very flat and uninspired.
There were a few things which placated me when we arrived in our apartment:
But it didn't shift my mood completely.
...and then we explored Marseille.
The centre of Marseille is a 'busy in a mellow kind of way' place. It doesn't have the same sense of being dressed up for the visitors which central Paris has. I loved the perception of perfection in Paris, and I love Marseille for it's authenticity and beauty.
In Paris, I felt constantly awed and amazed. I'm enjoying Marseille just as much, but in a more subtle, laid back way.
We are 'wander through markets' types, so we had a relaxing morning doing just that. We soaked up the atmosphere while we bought gifts for the girls in our family (this country is a world of pretty things).
The hot chocolate, like the coffee, is outstanding. The very chocolately hot chocolate sent Mark and Kobi to a whole different world of pleasure:
(If you're ever in France, go to this place - it seems like they're a franchise, so they're everywhere. This is the home of the amazingly chocolately hot chocolate)
We caught the bus and Metro (subway) like locals - cheap and easy way to get around - and went to Marseille's Notre Dame Cathedral, which overlooks the city. With that view of the Mediterranean, and in a place this old, sacred and silent it was impossible to stay stressed.
I sat down and caught the butterfly.