06.12.2012 7 °C
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
On our journey through France we have been in Marseille for three days. While that is not near enough time to see everything there is to see, we took today as a rest day, to take it easy with no real plan of attack. We took a morning stroll down one of the major roads near our accommodation and happened upon a street market, not to mention the obligatory cafe.
Street markets like this strike a chord within for both myself and my wife, we both love walking amongst the stalls. We spent at least a couple of hours browsing through all the goods, picking up bits and pieces, and the occasional trinket. Presents for relatives back home, functional things for us while away. My wife got a cute little coffee percolator, an absolute essential for her, while I got a pair of winter crocs... Yes, winter crocs!
It's turned out to be a wonderful ways to spend time on holiday, one that was both relaxing and enriching. I discovered that not everything needs to be touristy, and that being on holiday is not always about sightseeing or checking out the local history, sometimes it is about just wandering around and finding out what there is to see. Gold doesn't always glitter, sometimes it looks rather mundane. Holidays don't have to be full of ancient monuments and amazing sights to refresh and restore the spirit, sometimes something as mundane as a meandering walk with no destination in mind can be just as valuable.
Marseille is something of a living contradiction, it has elements of ghetto, with tagging and graffiti abundant, and yet it also has small boutique shops scattered throughout the city. Small side alleys and cut through streets can have amazing shops like bakeries or jewellers hidden away from the main streets. It may be a little intimidating going for a walk down some as they are very small and often jam packed with cars, but for the adventurous soul, there can be benefits.
A few hours wandering the street and a quick stop off at the local boulengerie patisserie for some lunch made for the perfect morning of holiday wandering. I'm beginning to love Marseille, the people are friendly and it is everything I imagined French living to be like.