Bonjour from Marseille, France! I still have to fill you in about the rest of Paris and Belgium and Carnaval...but that can wait!
Our first train out of Maastricht left at 5:58am, so we had a bright and early start to our day. Actually it wasn't bright for another two hours...but it was early. Then we caught another train in Liege that took us to Brussels. From Brussels we took a bus to the airport that was about an hour away. Then we took a plane to Montpellier, France (which we almost missed). Then we took another bus. Then we took a tram. Then we took a train. And then another train. And about thirteen hours later we finally made it to our hostel in Marseille. Phew. Three countries, three languages, one day.
The train ride (from Montepellier to Marseille) was beautiful! We rode through the mountains at sunset past villages where all of the houses have terracotta roofing. Very mediterranean. We got a little confused trying to find the hostel so we stopped in a Tabac store and asked this cute little old French man. He was very nice and drew us a map of how to get to the hostel and were there in no time! One of our roommates was this really cool French guy who was going to a club to sing. His english was just as good as my french so communicating was a little difficult, but we managed. We were so excited to sleep that night but it was a little difficult because there was a little confusion between the bed situation. All six beds in our room were taken, but somehow this weird old man who didn't speak English made himself nice and cozy in our French friend's bed. Our French friend didn't come back from his singing gig at the club until 3am and was not very happy to find an old man in his bed. If that little excitement wasn't enough I was woken up again due to someone's extremely loud snoring. I didn't know it was possible for a human being to make that loud of a noise in their sleep.
The next day we climbed all the way up Le Notre Dame de Gard, which is this really old church on top of a mountain. We could see the entire city of Marseille and had a fabulous view of the moutains and the ocean. It was breathtaking! Then we took a ferry out to this really cool island...I forgot what it was called. On our way to the island we passed Chateau D'If, which is from the movie The Count of Monte Cristo! It was so cool and looked just like the movie! The weather was too bad for us to dock there so we just went passed it and continued on to the island. The island consisted of a few buildings that are only opened in the summer, an abandoned resort, and a really old fort that was all in ruins. And there were only like ten other people there, so we practically had the whole thing to ourselves! And it was beautiful! (just like everything else in Europe...) From the very top we could see all the cliffs wtih the blue water hitting up against them and a great view of Chateau D'If. Before taking off for the island we stopped at the grocery store and picked up some food so we had a little picnic there too! It was great!
Today we checked out of one hostel and dropped our backpacks at the next one, just around the corner, and then took a train into Aix-en-Provence. The little city was so cute! And it was so nice to be somewhere small and quiet. Marseille is very nice, but very loud and populated. We didn't really have a game plan so we just walked around and got lost in all the little streets. We stumbled upon probably the most amazing streets I have ever seen...yet. There weren't really anything special but they were great because there weren't any people and the buildings were all pastel colored with old wooden shutters and flowers in the windows. Often there was laundry hanging from the porches. There were also a ton of fountains! It was very interesting.
Tonight we have just been hanging out in the common area and having some very interesting conversations. I talked with a German guy for what seemed like hours about my faith and what I believe in . He also shared his beliefs, which are very different from mine. He didn't really want anything to do with Jesus, or care for that matter, but we still had a very interesting conversation and asked each other a lot of tough questions. No getting saved for him tonight though...but he did say maybe at another point in his life he would consider Christianity. Hmm. We also talked to these guys from Berlin for a while and they knew more about American politics than we do and this was even after they had been drinking for while. It has been a very interesting evening.
Tomorrow we take off for Nice! But other than that we don't really have any set plans except more France and Switzerland! Well, that's all for now, a bien tot!