** You’ll note that it looks like I’ve been on a posting binge – but it is really Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s posts, all put up on the same day.

Today is Dimanche, when most of France is closed, although I have high hopes for getting things done and hitting a few museums, yet (which are open). I am, however, still wiped out from yesterday’s journey to Marseilles (with pit stop in Aix-en-Provence), and being conscious is a victory right now.


Marseilles was probably my favorite group excursion of this summer. We only did three activities, were constantly rushed for time, and got back at 3:00 am, but what we did do was so enjoyable, that I think that it wins.


After a pit stop in a small town in Provence (Séguret) for a café/WC stop, we were on to Marseilles. It is roughly 3 1/2 – 4 hours from Grenoble, so we all spent a fair amount of time napping, listening to iPods and, in the case of some ambitious people, homework (not me). We hit Marseilles at a little after noon, then plan being everybody find some lunch, meet back for the ferry to the Chateau d’If in an hour. E and C and I looked around for a place that wasn’t too expensive. After wandering around for about 15 minutes, we found a place that fit the bill; C learned the lesson I learned in Arles – all provencal food contains olives, and like me, she doesn’t care for olives either. But it was all good, except for the fact that the line for the WC was such that one had to hope that there were WCs at the Chateau (there were, so no injuries from exploding bladders). The ferry ride was great, and C and I agreed that boat ownership was going to be a necessity in the future (you may remember that many of my grad school options are on the West Coast? Coincidence? Mais, non!). The fact that we spent practically all of our day by the shore made the weather perfect. Yes it was hot, but a continual sea breeze kept us from feeling it too much. We toured the Chateau, and most of the group decided for a prison, some of the cells weren’t to bad. Some of them had fireplaces and ocean views (if you don’t mind the bars), and I’ve seen studio apartments that were smaller, for sure. I took many pictures, and nearly had a panic attack when I though there was a scratch on my zoom lens. Turns out that there is something on the shutter mirror that, while annoying, will not affect picture quality. Another boat ride, with a drunken French bachelorette party (which apparently is a universal – we saw another one later that afternoon). Then on to Notre Dame de la Garde, which is beautiful, though the view from the cathedral would have been worth the trip. Then on to the beach, which was logistically difficult, as we were a large group trying to ride public transportation, but we got there, albeit a little late. Even though it is a public beach and an international tourist attraction, apparently there are no changing rooms, so the women circled the wagons, and with the use of strategically placed towels, changed into our swimsuits without putting on a show. And although I am still opposed to my appearing in a swimsuit, it was completely worth it. I had forgotten that salt water makes you incredibly buoyant, and had difficulty keeping my feet from popping out of the water as I swam, so I mostly bobbed, which felt great. What didn’t feel great was getting salt water in my eyes and (occasionally up my nose), but it was a small price to pay for capping off a day of sightseeing with a relaxing dip in the Mediterranean. After opting to just throw on my new coverup (which looks like a loose-fitting dress anyway) and not change back into my clothes, I gathered up my stuff, and E and C and I thought we’d hit the supermarket and buy some fixings for a picnic dinner in Aix.


However, the giant lines at the Géant Casino were not in our favor, so we had to settle for spending more money and eating at a restaurant once we got to Aix.


Why we still went on to Aix is a mystery to me. The original plan made some sense, as we were going to spend a couple of hours there (at least part of them while it was still light out). Instead, we spent one hour, in the dark, with the express purpose of grabbing something to eat. After a jaunt to the ATM, officially dipping into my Paris fund, we lit on a place that was reasonable and ate dinner. Then it was back on the bus for the trip back to Grenoble and as much sleep as we could muster.


At 2:45, we got back into Grenoble, and we started walking back. A couple of the group offered to walk with me back to my place, since they were two and going to the same place. After a false start, where we made an inadvertent loop, we got to my place, where one of the gang needed to use the facilities to make home alive. I thanked them for their generosity, and they went off into the very early morning.


I had been talking tough about taking a shower when I got home, but I was simply too tired. I put on my jammies, and fell into bed, where I stayed awake for another half an hour, too tired to fall directly asleep.


This morning, since it was still morning when I woke up, I puttered some, and did laundry, officially leaving me with enough underwear to last until I finally get home. I was pretty impressed with myself. I have two goals today (other than working on some homework) – hit some of the museums, and try out the free Wi-Fi that is supposed to be available in certain locations in town. If it works…well, you’ll know, since I will be posting this on Sunday and not Monday.