Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day18: Making the most in Marseilles

The most important thing to do when you are new in any city is to visit the Tourism Office and ask for a city pass. In Marseille, a city pass will bring you discounts on entries to museums, cultural services, transportation and much more. You can opt for a day pass or 2 day pass, which will come at a cost of around 25 Euros. Click here for the latest rates.

After sorting our passes out we head to take  the tourist train to Notre Dame De La Garde. The trains cute, like a toy train and the ride is super fun. You can catch it at Quai des Belges old port, opposite the La Samaritine cafe. Quite an interesting ride up hill, the route has a 45 degree angle slope at one point. 

Having reached the Notre Dame De La Garde, you cant help but feel so serene. The place is so peacful compared to the rest of Marseilles, and the view from the top is spectacular. What's amazing about this Basilica is the gold statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the entire city. Entering the basilica, you notice the interiors having an overpowering Romanesque-Byzantine influence. The domes, multicoloured stones, mosaics and ships in gold fit perfectly in this Basilica which was build by Napoléon III. 

After spending a good half day here, we waited for our ride back to the bayside. I was not particularly hungry but we had decided to savour the local cuisine once at every place. The local specialty here is Bouillabaisse., a fish soup containing various kinds of cooked fish and shellfish and vegetables, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices. I personally hated it, the smell is overpowering but Tan says it's yummy. 

Having stuffed ourselves, we then decided to make our way to the Musee De La Moto. However this place is on the outskirts of the city and getting there involved taking a super crowded local bus. Fun, but it reminded me of the buses back home. Good thing was we could poke fun in Hindi. A long walk from the bus stop brought us to the door steps of the museum. And voila the entrance is free! Anything free while you are on a budget trip is good.

The Musee De La Moto houses a unique and historic collection of motorcycles since 1885. Spread over four floors and with over 300 cycles, bikes and scooters, you can find the likes of the Harley Davidson's, Ducati's, Vespa's and much more. All in all it was an awesome experience. Check out my pictures and the fun time I had with the motorcycles.

We had to wait almost an hour to get back into town and the place is pretty deserted. I can honestly say I was totally freaking out but trying not to show it. I was so releived when the bus finally arrived.

Back in town, we decided to grab a hamburger at the bus depot and something weird happened. Someone paid for my meal. I insisted on paying the vendor but he absolutely refused. Psychos. Anyway from here we proceeded to the Fashion Museum, which we then learned was closed till July! Damn. So we decided to take a new route back to the hotel and guess what? We got lost. hahahahaa. After roaming around in circles, we back tracked to the Tourism office and stuck to the route we knew.

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