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on a bridge and trees & a bush and boats of martigues

With each visit, when I descend from the bus in Martigues, I wonder why I wanted yet again to visit. What one sees does not elicit much confidence. Will the day will be worth the 30-45 minutes bus ride from Marseille?

The Place des Aires, where I get off the bus, is a terminal without buildings and may even be a park with large bus lanes. It is adjacent to the water which makes it somewhat pleasant.

However, when you stand there, waiting for the bus to leave you behind, and you look around for that inspiration to explore, and when you remember having heard or read that Martigues is definitely worth a visit, you begin to have misgivings that maybe, just maybe, you have been had.

Fear not. Whoever told you that Martigues is a gem had learned something.

After walking across the street from the Place des Aires in a direction that suggests a central area–surely–you will see a blue blue bridge. It is blue. There is no escaping it. That bridge is the escape route from the bus stop. That bridge will take you further into the older sections of Martigues. Further along, a moveable bridge will take you into a section of Martigues where tourists rarely venture, simply because it is far away from the port and the central tourist areas.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on eating well along the corniche of marseille, or on the edge of the ledge of jfk

La Corniche Kennedy of Marseille is a beautiful route along the coast of Marseille. In English the Ledge of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a long boulevard, goes from the beach at Catalans to the beaches of Prado.

One can reach the Corniche in many ways. It is easy to walk from the Vieux Port; it might take 20 to 30 minutes without pauses for photographs or stopping at Le Pharo. Alternatively from the Vieux Port, one can take a number of buses, the best being #83, which will take you all the way along the coast, the full length of the Corniche, until it turns inland toward the Prado at La Plage.

If it is close enough to walk, bicycles and e-scooters will take you there as well. Tourist buses and a tourist train also make the trip.

Along the boulevard one will find a number of good restaurants. Le Petit Nice and Épuisette are Michelin star restaurants. Others that have excellent reputations are Le Rhul, Chez Michel, Peron, and Chez Fonfon(Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

One day I decided to eat lunch at Épuisette. From the vantage point before descending from the Corniche to the restaurant, I looked out to Chateau d’If, which inspired Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. I turned in the other direction and looked up to Notre-Dame de la Garde, the large basilica on the hill that overlooks Marseille. But wait, there’s more!

on remembering a visit to pigna

Once again I found myself in a small village perched above the Mediterranean Sea on Corsica. I had spent the previous day exploring Sant’Antonino, a village beyond Pigna. The road to Pigna and  to Sant’Antonino is the same.

Like the other villages above the western coast of Corsica, Pigna has extraordinary views, not as many as Sant’Antonino, but still plenty for pauses and certainly for some sips of wine.

Visiting Sant’Antonino and Pigna in one day is possible. I can imagine a morning in one, let’s say first in Pigna with a lunch at A Mandria di Pigna, and if the wine has not been too precious during lunch, a visit further along to Sant’Antonino in the afternoon would be an excellent trip.

Above Pigna on the road that goes further along to Sant’Antonino, there is a place to park and one can walk a short distance to the village. Most visitors will, however, choose the parking lot in Pigna and pay a small tariff for the privilege.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!

on loving the million colors and little phrases on the walls in marseille

La rue est un musée pour tous ! ―Hergé

People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish . . . but that’s only if it’s done properly. ―Banksy, Wall and Piece

The Museum is not meant either for the wanderer to see by accident or for the pilgrim to see with awe. It is meant for the mere slave of a routine of self-education to stuff himself with every sort of incongruous intellectual food in one indigestible meal. —G. K. Chesterton

Going inside, walking into a museum, intending to spend two hours, when the sun is shining, the air is warm, the world is teeming, seems wrong, an error.

Why would you want to go inside to an art exhibit? Will it change your perspective of the world? Will it make you happy? Will it inspire you? Will you learn something? Will you have a good time? Will it encourage conversation? Yes.

Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall–it’s wet. –Banksy

What to do when you visit a place where the sun shines daily and you dread going inside? Yet you want to change your perspective of the world and you want something to make you happy and inspire you and maybe help you learn something? And you want to have a good time and talk to someone about what you experience?  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!