Sunday, July 7, 2013

Road Trip

Today we drove to Marseille for lunch.  We drove to Marseille because we had to get to Nice for our early afternoon flight tomorrow.  Marseille isn't exactly on the way, but we had all day to get there.  Marseille was France's first city and it's a delightful mix of old architecture and new.  For example, that's the old fort on the left and the Muceum on the right, connected by a metal walkway.

The Muceum houses the Galerie de Art Mediteranee which looked very interesting.  The building itself was a work of art with metalwork on the outside that left fabulous shadows.  The museum in the fort looked interesting too and I would have loved to take a dinghy out into the harbor to see the fort from the water but alas, time didn't allow for a visit to either.  Instead, we found a little cafe along the water front and had a nice lunch.  Next time we come to France (big grin), we'll find time to visit Marseille more thoroughly.  Still, it was nice to see since it was so different than all the other cities we've been to.

From lunch we hopped back into the car to head to Monaco!  Yes,  Monaco.  Though we're flying out of Nice tomorrow, I thought it might be fun to say we'd been to Monte Carlo.  As a result, I had booked a room in Monaco for the night.   But first we had to drive through a sidewalk tribute to Dali in Marseille.  How fun!  (My daughter took this picture out the car window as we drove past, in the bus lane unfortunately.  Fortunately, the police officer was very nice about my ignorance and simply asked me to move over.  Oops.)

Look -- they even had a representation of the melting clock!  (Off the top of my head I don't know what else to call it.)

Traffic wasn't as bad as we feared.  We had been warned that the roads would be packed with families starting their summer vacations and heading to the beaches.  The trip took just a bit over two hours through mountainous countryside, but soon we were following the signs to Monaco because our GPS didn't recognize any of the roads there.

It's a good thing that Monaco's so small because we were driving around on sense of direction only to find our hotel.  I had no idea how many "levels" of roads there are here because the country is so steep and compressed against the coast.  Mostly by luck, we found our hotel, handed over our passports, then jumped into a hotel shuttle that was heading to the Musee Oceanographique -- the aquarium.  We love aquariums and figured it would be a fun way to spend the last hours of the afternoon; the girls aren't old enough to go to the casinos.

We saw things at the aquarium we'd never seen before.  I took several pictures, but this is one of my favorites: the patterns and colors of a giant clam.

We walked back to our hotel and discovered that Monaco is a country filled with stairs.  They're everywhere and unavoidable if you want to walk anywhere.  It's clearly the result of the terrain, but boy is it tiring.  We started at the top of the "hill" (that's what they call it) and had to get down to sea level.  We asked for directions three times and heard "You're not far" each time.  Yeah, right.

During our trek, we did pass the royal palace though.

Now we've eaten room service, have packed our bags and are all set for tomorrow.  We're sad to be leaving France; it's been a wonderful trip.  But it will be good to be home.

1 comment:

Natalya Aikens said...

what a wonderful trip you had! and thank you for sharing it, welcome home.