Monday, October 2, 2017

Toulon, France - Marseille Tour and Terrorist Attack

I am way too early – like 2:30 am and I am wide awake.  So I catch up on my blogs and alarm clock wakes Bernie at just before 7 am.

Today we are doing a tour to Marseille thru the ship.  Our meeting point is Princess Theater at 8 am.  I also wanted to add that the ship is providing a free shuttle (previous years it was $10 US per person) to Toulon harbour.

As many of you know we don’t normally do Princess tours but this worked out great.  It provide transportation to Marseille with a stop at Notre Dame church and then a walking tour in Marseille then time on your own before your trip back.

When we arrive at the theater at 755 it is packed at the elevator bank with around 100 people trying to get in.  I know that they also had tours meeting in one of the dining room.  But being that we only dock at 8 am and most people are up and ready to get off. Also one thing people on tours did not realize is that you had to have everyone in your party to enter the theater at the same time to be on the same bus.  So as we got to the entrance there were groups of people blocking the doors as they waited for the rest of their party to arrive. 

We were assigned our tag (Purple 17) and sat in our row.  The crew there were so helpful, funny, and patient.  When they announced our group could go they said go row by row, but again people don’t want to follow directions and rows stood and crowded the area.  

Travel to Marseille was very comfortable in a lovely coach.  I did have trouble staying awake and nodded off a few times. 

We arrived at Notre Dame (can’t recall full name but will find out via my pictures when we get home and update).  We climb the steps (note this may not be a good tour those with physical disabilities) and the look out is stunning.  

The guides were so helpful here making sure we went to the correct direction and the correct bus. Although some did keep going down the hill looking for the bus and then had to climb back up the hill a bit to board the coach.

A big shout out to that amazing driver of our bus. As transit driver maneuvering our bus through city traffic is hard enough, but this guy managed to get this bus up steep, very narrow hills, with parked cars all over!  Wow I don’t know if I could do this.

When we arrive at the port of Marseille in the old town we are told that we can participate in the walking tour or we can head out on our own early.  We choose the later and follow Rick Steve’s walking tour.  We are given three hours on our own to explore and then to meet back up at 3 pm.

After walking for a long time we decide to enjoy lunch in the harbour in the sun. Which was lovely but ended up being very strong. We had a great meal that we shared – a salad and then a pizza with some nice house wine.  As we sat there we noticed a lot of police flying by and ambulance sirens.  We heard a lot of them but at the time were not sure what it was for and assumed it was a bad accident.

Bernie wants a crepe and of course we are in France and we need to indulge.  I get a salted caramel one and Bernie gets one with maple syrup.  It reminds of us when Mom use to make us then.

Back on the bus the driver is trying to get on the motorway but the road is blocked by Police, and so is the other access.  Again we all are thinking it is a bad accident.

Had a great return trip chatting with Renee (she is the lady who approached me in Sagrada Famillia and is a friend’s sister).  So glad we got to meet her and certainly can see that she is Karin’s sister.

When we arrive back at the ship we know something is up.  Then our friend Ben is right at the gang way looking for us and mentions that there was an attack in Marseille at the train station.  We were right there at the train station a few hours prior. And this explains why there were so many sirens and the roads were closed.  We are all safe though.

Once back on board we head down to Vines to enjoy some wine.  A new update about the wine situation.  Vines is not putting their menus on the tables and the reason is that many of the wines on the Vines menu are not in stock.  However many of the wines we are told from the dining room have been replenished.  We order our Pacific Bay and that is in stock.  We each enjoy a glass and have the guys store the rest for another time.

Elite Lounge is calling and we run into Roy and Sandra and Norma and Alain.  We have some good laughs and a few drinks.

Time for dinner and today we again don’t feel like dressing for the dining room. So we head up to the buffet and our plate is filled with so many different items that are totally vegetarian.   Very yummy.

On our way back to the Atrium we run into Michael and head to Vines for some drinks and to catch up with him.

We are back in the cabin at 11 and watch the Wake Show.  Billy Hygate is our Cruise Director, and we notice he does not ask a question of the day nor does he ask for shout outs for the show.  Prior when we have sailed with him we have noticed this and it seems this is something he just does.  We do miss the questions (even if we don’t partake it is a great way to learn things) and we love the shout outs from other passengers.  But each Cruise Director has their own style.  Tobi is still here and we have enjoyed seeing him again.

We are asleep very quickly and we sleep soundly till the morning.

Other things happening today: NFL Game at 7 pm at MUTS, LGBT get together, Singles and Solo Travellers get together, Dynamic Vocalist Rietta Austin, Who Sang What Soul & Motown, Music and Dancing with Atomic, Strike Out Game Show, Dance Party with Phoenix Rising, Voice of the Ocean Audition, Where in the World Trivia, BOGO Happy Hour at 11 pm (they also are doing BOGO at 3 pm too).

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