The want to travel to Marseille surged when I had to vote between Bordeaux and Marseille for a weekend-trip with faculty members. The majority preferred wine to water, fairly predictably. That time I was with minority group voting for Marseille, urging the others the need to jump into Mediterranean water and to bath with its salt, which didn’t occur. Marseille left written in my maybe-to-do-list and just having this possibility was just enough to bring this letters to stand up to the reality. And this time, I wasn’t alone to travel.
I was glad that I had other arms to be hugged in Marseille. I dreamed of hot Mediterranean weather, escaping from cold and windy Paris, but to be frank the cold wind that I confronted in Marseille was more brutal than that I had confronted in Paris. But this confrontation glanced a smile over me steps, presenting me the best street ally I could find: stairs sliding to the old port, direct view to Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, and buidling stood up both side protecting the street from the wind (Rue Henri Tasso). Morning after morning we passed that street, leading us to the port where the smell of Vin Chaud (Christmas mulled wine) seized my step. Marseille isn’t famous for hot mulled wine, rather for Pastis, but I started to connect dots of vin chaud, Marseille and my company who gave me warm hugs. I became drunk easily by all those three.
Stood up at the balcony of Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, the view I caught reminded me of Valparaiso of Chile. I wasn’t to make any comparison, but Paris-Marseille gave me a similarity that Santiago-Valparaiso registered. The Alps mountain chain made me think of Andes cordillera. The houses of colours built side by side like grass gave me a sensation of humility. Marseille was the second biggest city in France, and yet so different from the first city Paris, so the grade of diversity pleased me. Many city streets brought me back to when I used to walk Porto Alegre’s streets and Buenos Aires’ streets. No wonder I was coming back to their original blueprints.
And also, here is the island that was the background for the story of Monte Cristo. I thought ‘it would be a castle or a prison, assuming its distance and location’, and that was exactly what it was: The little island away from the shore. It was closed for the winter period, but just passing around it in a boat gave me a fair imagination of how Monte Cristo or Napoleon passed their time in it.
Yes, in a boat. It was freezing due to cold water, wave and wind, until the sunset compensated them all.
The last element to mention that made my trip special was my company. This post with a diary matter is to recollect my emotions and thoughts about him. He has become a vin chaud for me, in that I’m enjoy the citric taste, the warmness when holding, the scent of cinnamon and clove, and the slight gravity of alcohol. I noticed that Vin Chaud would be the kind of beverage that I can enjoy without getting bored of, especially in winter when the warm holding becomes essential. In such sense I hope this winter wouldn’t end soon enough, even though I know that I would be smiling throughout this winter until the end of it.
This was my first Marseille visit.