Les Calanques de Marseille

I went to the Gare du Nord station, although I was supposed to be at the Gare de Lyon station. But I couldn't find it on the map, so I thought that Gare du Nord must be enough. They have explained to me there that I still have to go two more stations by the RER train, to get to Gare de Lyon. So, now I know where on the map it is.

A young girl sat next to me in the TGV train. She scared me smiling at me right at the beginning. I had been reading there a book about a serial killer, but from time to time I had looked at what she was doing. She was writing something to her journal, in English. Later she drank from a bottle with Canadian flag on it.

Not far from the final stop, the train had stopped at a different station and she asked me in English, whether it is already Marseille. She saw that I was reading a book in English and although her French was fluent, she decided to communicate in English with me. She supposed that I was a French speaking English.

We were talking together for the rest of the trip. She complained that in Canada people talk together even in subway and here in Europe not even in the train across the whole France. She had twenty minutes in Marseille to catch another train to Nice, so I invited her for hot chocolate. She was surprised that to invite someone here means to pay for them too. Before she hopped on to her next train, she hugged me.

I was surprised in the center of Marseille that I can navigate myself there without a map, although I have been there before once only. I tried to find there some grocery store to buy the groceries for the trip. I had been crisscrossing the whole centre for two hours and couldn't find anything. I was even angry, what didn't happen to me for some time. At last, I went to the tourist office where they helped.

I had enough of all those moving noisy objects hindering everywhere in the city. I took the bus to the university where I was supposed to meet Plz. We agreed to meet at seven pm, so I had almost three hours for reading my book.

The first night we slept on cliffs where twelve people died before. We arrived there when the sun had set already, but Plz lived in Marseille before and knew the place well. The next day we stopped at a place where it was possible to jump to the sea, but getting back up was questionable. Plz jumped first and got cut a little on the sharp juts of the rocky cliffs when climbing back up. I tried it too, but I chose different place to climb up and didn't hurt myself.

We continued through a small village with port where we drank a juice in a bar with unpleasant service. When Plz wanted to fill his bottles with water at toilets, madame waitress refused to let him in, she physically pushed him away from the door and locked it after. Later we were passing around a modest house with nice looking grandpa and grandma sitting in front. They had shared their water with Plz. Although, as they explained, they needed to be bringing the water in bottles from the city, since there was no water pipeline system in the village. That was probably the case of the bar too, but they could have explained it nicely, no need to be arrogant towards paying customers.

After the village we were passing through a former nudist beach, although the passage was forbbiden there, because rocks tended to get loose and fall down from the cliffs. Some people had already died there. Even though we met there some nudists. We talked together about how Plz would be too shy to get naked in front of strangers and I was joking that I like to show off my beautiful body and while I was saying the last bit we encountered two other Czechs (Plz is Czech too) who smiled when heard me saying that (they can understand Slovak). We introduced to each other and continued our own ways.

A little farther we stopped to take the bath in the sea. A big rock good for jumping down to the water was there. I wanted Plz to photograph me flying in the air down to the water, but he was not used to the digital camera and couldn't figure out how to catch me before I was under the water already. We didn't have time for more experiments so I am without the pic.

On our way to the second place to spend the night we had to do a little of rock climbing using the chain which was there fixed for that purpose. Someone has drawn there a crying eye, which I wouldn't notice at all if Plz didn't warn me about that. I suppose that while climbing only few people get to notice the thing.

We were using a path which was officially on the maps before, but later they decided to erase it. Probably someone got killed there or something. We were faster than the older couple ahead of us and they let us pass around. At a place we crossed freely they used a rope to secure themselves. Now I understand why so many Czechs die in High Tatras in Slovakia every year.

Down below the cliffs on the sea level we noticed that on a small anchored boat there was naked copulating couple. I even tried to photograph them, but only the man was visible, he was on top.

The next day on our way back we tried to check out one black path, which got erased from maps, too. There was a place which Plz used to cross before, but now as father he didn't feel like risking anymore. A fall down wouldn't give us much of a chance for survival.

We picked different way and took a little break to explore another place with possible access to the sea. Again we had to be climbing up to get back from the water and this time even higher than before.

We left our backpacks behind up far from us, so I had to jump in naked. Only in the water I had noticed that there were some people kayaking in our direction. I tried to wait, didn't want to be climbing up naked while they were close enough to see, but they were too slow, so I climbed it up and jumped again flying with head down.

When on our way back again, we explored one cave. We again had to climb using the chains there and on some places even without anything to secure us. After that we returned to Plz' university, where we took showers and then took bus to Marseille for a Mass in the basilica Notre Dame de la Garde.

After two days of hiking and climbing my muscles already hurt and yet I had to walk up the hill and stairs to the basilica with my backpack on. I already wanted to give up, but there were the marks along the way, stating where Jesus fell and how many times already, when carrying the cross. So I said to myself that if Jesus could do that, I have to do it too. Except that later I felt cheated when I discovered that Jesus actually didn't carry the cross in Marseille and the marks there were symbolic only.

We had dinner in Portuguese restaurant after and Plz walked with me to the train station then. I was back in Paris at one am only. Subway didn't run anymore so I wanted to take the night bus. I was supposed to change it once, but the second one was going only one hour later. I warned about that a French woman also waiting there. She thought it would go earlier, because she was looking at the Sunday departures, but it was Monday already. We shared taxi. I was finally back in my own bed before three am.


A very interesting story... Although it sounded a bit dangerous! The photographs are incredibly beautiful! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

Milan Toma:
Chris, thanks a lot, your comments are always so nice.

hE8BZV A round of applause for your blog.Thanks Again. Awesome.


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