Tag Archives: trip

Marseilles

Well, my Seattle upbringing and German/Norwegain heritage were obviously no match for the Marseilles sun… ouch! It was only the spots that I missed with sunscreen but still.

 

Anyway, Marseilles is beautifully located on the Mediterranean Sea, the bluest blue waters I’ve ever seen for sure. While the Old Port and other heavily trafficed areas are rather nice the rest of the city is well…. icky. Now this is just my opinion but I will say that I love the weather, the old port, and the sea side of Marseilles but that’s about it for my high lights list. Luckily that was what I came down here for.

Problems with the city? Let’s start with the smell, a lovely aroma that keeps you guessing whether each turn of the corner will yield garbage, urine, or excrement smells. Kind of like Russian roulette for your nose, only they are all bullets and sometimes you get a Nirvana of an empty chamber. Sorry, I’m sure that reads a lot harsher than it should.

Now I thought Caen had a graffiti problem but in hindsight Paris was worse. If the level of Paris graffiti is, let’s say, a 6 or 7 out of ten (really not too terrible) then Marseilles is probably a 12. I honestly don’t know how they find new places to do it, they have skill for sure.

Finally of all of the French cities I’ve visited I unfortunately have to say that I feel the least safe here. In Caen I walk around no problem, in Paris I’m pretty comfortable being anywhere, but here, I’m constantly thinking about it. Maybe it’s just me.

 

Now, before I wrap this up on a downer note let me change the tone. I have still enjoyed my time here a lot. It was a good vacation spot and I think my time here was well spent. I relaxed, I read, I reddened a bit. There are other parts of the city that are GORGEOUS, like the church on the hill, the old port walks and some others. So, yes, there are some parts of the city that need to be improved but still a good spot.

Getting Berl-in

So, apparently the day that I was booking this trip my math was not the best. Originally I had planned on doing 4 or so days in Stockholm and 5 in Berlin. Yeah, well it will turn out to be more like 3 and 6. Lots of time to be a tourist in Berlin so I’m taking things a bit slower.

The day of arrival was not exactly the best day. Making my way to my hostel was easy enough, lots of transfers but I was okay. On the way I noticed the stark difference between Berlin’s cleanliness and Stockholm’s… Berlin needs a bath. I’m not saying it’s terrible, but Stockholm even smelled amazing, like seriously everywhere smelt good. Berlin can definitely have that stale fluids smell at times.

Got to my hostel and was surprised that they do not accept cards, debit or credit. I’m sure it said that somewhere but I had missed it and felt thrown off by it. Right away I knew that this was more of a party hostel. Turns out there were three LARGE groups of students on vacation there. And these groups like to party, which is normal in Berlin, it’s a party city.

Well, I decided to go for a stroll around the neighborhood and see what was around. While I did get a recommendation to be in this certain neighborhood I think I was placed a few blocks away from the target area. The walk was pleasant enough, although I felt confused the entire time. Sometimes it just takes me awhile before I can mentally picture where I am and where I am going.

Eventually I stumbled upon one of the major platz (like a square or plaza). Yay! Food! I thought. I went to get food, waited in a huge line, and what do I find… they only accept German cards, not French, not American, no credit cards. Blarg on me for not stopping at an ATM. Also for a city that deals a lot in cash ATMs aren’t exactly everywhere.

Anyway, got money out, had Berlin’s traditional Curry Wurst and a beer and started to relax. I went back to the hostel, got another beer and just chilled out on their rooftop patio enjoying the sun. Yes the sun, it’s been beautiful and warm here, score!

So perhaps the arrival day wasn’t all peaches and cream but it ended up alright in the end. I could have done without being woken up at 4:30am by the German students, but serenity now right?

More on day 2 later!