Wednesday, September 26, 2018

France 2018: Day 7 - Chateau d’If and Birthday Boy

Our Adventures so far…

Arrival in Lyon
(Wednesday)

Day 1 - Lyon 
(Thursday)

Day 2 - Vienne by Train
(Friday)

Day 3 - Arrival in Nimes 
(Saturday)

Day 4 - Nimes in more detail
(Sunday)

Day 5 - Marseille, here we come!
(Monday)

Day 6 - On the Buses!
(Tuesday)


Wednesday

Whilst most would be content with a trip to McDonalds or the Zoo - not me, I fancy a trip to the Château d'If! (Our family was always a bit weird!)

Lucky then, we’re in Marseille, just across the water from The Count of Monte Cristo’s enforced ‘holiday home’. The weather is looking hotter than yesterday - by a few degrees or so.

Oh, and we’re also going in search of the ‘black stuff’ as it seems to be a difficult thirst-quencher to find around these parts

Where are you?

As it’s my Birthday AND we’re away from home, we decided to travel light(er!), so we only brought the Cards that arrived by the time we left. The same went for pressies, but Ann did manage to smuggle two from her into the case!: ‘Atomic Blonde’ 4k DVD and Molton Brown’s ‘Bushukan’ Eau de Toilette. Very nice and a perfect choice!

62nd Birthday
Looks like a second birthday when we get home on Friday then!
Thumbs up

8.45am: After a quick breakfast we trod the well trodden route down to the Harbour and specifically the Booking Office for the boat trip direct to Château d'If.

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9.10am: As usual, we got there a bit ahead of opening time so we killed a bit of time looking around the Church opposite the Booking Office.

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Saint-Ferréol les Augustins (More info HERE)

Immaculate, inside and out, it was another Church here that was well worth the visit!
Smile
As we left the Church, we could see that the Booking Office was now open. It was going to be a simple matter of booking our tickets, boarding the boat - and enjoying the Château d'If.
Thumbs up

9.50am: Well, the first part went perfectly well! With tickets in hand, we were pointed in the direction of the Boat, and we walked to the jetty. I guess we should have realised that the walk was just another of those half-marathons we seem to have got used to out here - but we followed the rest of the ‘herd’ anyway.

10.05am: On arrival at the jetty, it all looked good. The Boat - The Edmond Dantes was waiting. This was a good sign considering he’s the hero of the story - The Count of Monte Cristo - We prepared to board…


…but before we could do that, just before 10.15, the Boat upped anchor and sailed away into the distance - with NO-ONE passengers on it!
Surprised smile
10.20am: Confusion, doesn’t even begin to describe the situation. The queue got larger - now numbering over 50 and man with baskets of vegetables asserted himself to the front of the queue. In a peculiar kind of way, it looked promising, as he seemed to hint that he knew what was going on… but things then went from bad to very bad.
Sad smile
10.15 came and went… and so did 10.30! And then 10.45 passed without anything changing! Anyone expecting the Count to appear on the scene would have been very disappointed as all we got was another boat arriving and the only ‘count’ was the boat-staff counting those the queue (see what I did there!). There must have been well over a 100 similar souls by now waiting impatiently - and we were all looking as confused as each other.
Baring teeth smile
10.35am:The Boat docked and those of us with tickets were encouraged to queue at the opposite end of the boarding point - in effect, making us last to board. Another 10 minutes passed and the queue eventually began to move. As we confidently presented our tickets when the time came, we were told we had the WRONG ones and we’d been queuing for the wrong Boat! It would appear that there are two ferry companies and we were trying to get on the wrong boat.

So, apart from that, we were OK!
Annoyed
We grumbled all the way back to the Booking Office, where we were politely reminded that we HAD been pointed in the right direction (literally next door to the Booking Office) for our Boat - 'Right’ meant literally ‘next door’. Bizarrely, at the time, we’d followed the herd - it just happened to be the WRONG herd!

Oh, how we laughed!
Don't tell anyone smile

10.55am: We were now about an hour behind schedule, but on a positive note, at least they exchanged the tickets and we were soon jostling for position on the RIGHT Boat. The tickets cost €10 for the Boat ride and €6 for entry to the Chateau. Great value in our view!

At last, were off for the 45 minute journey to the Château d'If.

It was a very pleasant journey. The Boat was quite crowded with hoards of spotty German students, but the seats we’d grabbed were partially in the shade (which was a benefit as the sun was really starting to shine by now). Some great views on the journey followed…

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…showing-off a very blue sky…
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…worth the boat journey, just for the sights…

…a perfect day for it…

In under the hour, we had arrived. It was now much hotter, but we’d come prepared.

11.45am: The Castle awaits…


After some steep steps, our first stop, was the little Restaurant on the island - Marseille en Face - where we sat in the shade to cool down in the company of some suitable liquid refreshment!


A Corsican Brew at 6% - Yum!


First impressions of the Château d'If were good ones! Given its age - built in 1529 - and the fact  it was still in use as a prison until the Great War, the renovations have been done very well indeed - and the most modern and hygienic loos we’ve seen since we’ve been out here!

Plenty to see inside too…

…and above!

We spent around 45 minutes there, just in time for a good look round inside as well as the perimeter plus, the obligatory birthday photo…


and to catch the next Boat back to Marseille


12.45pm: Luckily the Boat was less busy going back, but the temperature was on the rise - almost 26 degrees now… but it made for some more stunning photos…

  
  
Wow! What an adventure! - and in spite of the ‘mis-step’ earlier on, it had been a worthwhile and very enjoyable trip!


1.15pm: Back on dry land, the most immediate priority was somewhere for my Birthday Lunch! We wandered along the Harbour-front - everywhere was busy - and eventually settled for Bar de la Marie. By the time we got there, it was almost full, but they found us a nice table-for-two towards the back - and in the shade!


Ann had Grilled Salmon, whilst I settled for their super-cheeseburger.

Both were delicious. Having skipped Starters, we were ready for Desserts!


2.25pm: Mine was marginally taller than Ann’s but they both had an obscene amount of chocolate and cream in them. Ann struggled with hers and it was only right that I helped her out!
Smile

3.05pm: We’d eaten too much and I’d drunk too much, but hey, it’s my Birthday! We headed for the nearest ColorBus stop and travelled a few stops round the circuit where there was only one thing left to do today…

…find a bar that sold Draught Guinness.

4.00pm: Luckily, we didn’t have to look far, as right on the harbour-front was the Queen Victoria Pub.


It all looked and felt very English inside…

…with Man Utd v Derby playing on the TV (Not sure whether it was live or not).


Mission accomplished in the shape of a Draught Guinness. It tasted fine but the amount of head/meringue on it when they’d finished pouring, was about twice that of the ‘Brit version’!

4.45pm: We then took the short(ish) walk along the Harbour-front back to our Hotel.

It’s been a great Birthday with all the right ingredients: New places to discover; great company; great food; great drink; memorable photos; a bit of exercise and great weather! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Off for a lie down now! I’m feeling my (new) age!
Confused smile
We’re not sure what we’ll do tomorrow, so keep an eye on the Blog! I’ll post it around 7pm UK time.


Previous Birthdays…

2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004