Our Trip to Marseille in France could be a remake of ‘Mr Beans holiday’. It was quite terrifying to be the driver AND the passenger in our little Citroen manual car (with the gears and steering wheel on the opposite side). I had to hone in on my experience as the parent of 3 learner drivers and appear calm inspite of the internal panic. Colin was perspiring profusely and on the verge of ‘losing it’ the whole time.
We got the car in Nice, which is a busy place, and had to negotiate the car out of a very tight spiral decent from the 6th floor of a car park. Col is having difficulty judging the distance on the right side of the car so I am spending my time watching the things which we are almost ‘collecting’ and calmly saying ‘move to the left darling’.
My other job is to turn off the windscreen wipers after he has attempted to put on his indicator. On the Motorway, we dutifully kept to the left and ended up with very angry traffic abusing us (oops!!!) until we realised that those of us not going 130kph should be on the right lane. We were not prepared for the tolls on the roads and were instantly given a choice of 10-12 lanes with options of payments (while travelling at great speed). Every toll was done differently and cars were zooming all around us. We did it and survived!!
Once we got to Marseille, the nightmare intensified. The traffic there is much much worse than Melbourne city in peak hour. Once we negotiated the one ways lanes and roaring traffic, we stopped out the front of our hotel, dragged our luggage out, only to be told that they had over booked and we were to go to another hotel across the other side. It was 8.30pm at this point. I could not get the GPS to find the new hotel so tried the map. By then we were pretty uptight and ‘over it’ Col had difficulty driving without my assistance and I couldn’t read the map… so we got lost. Then I got the GPS to work and 45 minutes later we arrived at Hotel Monthyon (which we have re-named Hotel Monty Python). We had 40 stairs to negotiate with our luggage and entered a room which had the stench of cigarette smoke and was extremely hot and stuffy (it was 34 degrees at this time which was by then, 9.30pm). If we needed a break from the smell in the bedroom, we could go to
the bathroom, which smelled like sewerage. We hadn’t had tea so Col went to the supermarket and bought a bottle o’ wine and 2 sandwiches. Our bed had
one ‘sausage pillow’ (one long cylinder pillow) and since the temp in the room was 30 degrees all night, it was difficult to sleep. The parking for the car is $26 per day so for the 2 days we are here, $54. It is tempting to leave it there in the parking bay and catch a train.
Our attitude was much better in the morning, particularly after eating the best chocolate crossaint in the world (courtesy of the French bakery down the road) for breakfast and realising the beauty of Marseille. We then moved BACK to the original motel via the GPS and much stress, where we whinged a little about our plot in life, since we had paid for a 3 star hotel with air con and internet and got a 1 star hotel with free smelly hot air! They upgraded our suite to the Kings and Queens room with breakfast included. I feel kinda bad about that, underneath (somewhere). Its not that we are not used to roughing it, a lot of our rooms have been hot and difficult to access and we expected the standard to vary.
The adventures we are having !!!!
Tomorrow we drive to ‘Orange’ (pronounced with a gutteral nasal sound) and then to the French Alps for a restful week to a place called Tignes (pron with a gutteral nasal sound).