Marseille? one of those few cities? of which I had no expectations and which had never aroused my curiosity? pi? a lot, but in the end they conquer me and capture me.
It was March and it had just stopped raining. From the Genova Principe station, on board a bus of the Low Cost company, Flix Bus, M. and I left Italy, traveling along the entire western Ligurian Riviera, accompanied by a new sun that seemed to give us its blessing.
The initial plan was to be hosted by a young French student, contacted through Couchsurfing, but things turned out differently.
The driver, with a sparkling and witty air, was trying to explain to us the wonderful seats that passed before our eyes from the window, in broken but funny Italian. First Nice with its new stadium, ready for the European Championships and then five minutes of celebrity? in Cannes, just enough time for the driver change.
In the meantime, we contacted D. who with a super offer on Airnbnb, attracted? immediately our attention: 20 euros an apartment in Marseille. Thanks to the Wifi connection of the Flixbus, we were able to complete the payment transaction and get in touch with D., who also spoke Italian! It's done. Easy! Screenshot of the route to take, before the connection abandoned us and arrival scheduled for 23.00 pm.
The arrival in Marseille was truly impressive. We imagined a station, but in reality? Will the bus leave us? by the side of a road, in a neighborhood that was a lot of Bronx. Was the subway already? closed, none of the passersby spoke English and we, apart from Merci, didn't even have a French survival vocabulary. No wait, we would never starve, why? at least baguette as a word, it was assimilated. We relied on M.'s sense of direction and boarded the first random tram. With difficulty we reached the port of Marseille. Silent and illuminated and with the Ferris wheel to the side, it gave the feeling of an amusement park that? just closed.
THIS WAS THE HISTORY OF MARSEILLE. ITS ETERNITY. A UTOPIA. THE ONLY UTOPIA IN THE WORLD. A PLACE WHERE ANYONE, OF ANY COLOR, COULD GET OFF A BOAT OR TRAIN, WITH A SUITCASE IN HAND, WITHOUT A MONEY IN THE POCKET, AND MIX WITH THE FLOW OF THE OTHERS. A CITY? WHERE, AS SOON AS PLACED THE FOOT ON THE GROUND, THAT PERSON COULD SAY:? THERE ARE. ? MY HOME?
Our apartment was on Boulevard Tellene and Google Maps didn't mention n? descended n? go up. When a bar waitress told us "do you want to walk there?" we began to have the presentiment that we were more? far from what we thought. From the port we went up to the steps of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Looking back now,? been worse than any ascent made on the Camino de Santiago.
When we got there, D. couldn't figure out where we were, yet we were under the closest monument. famous city ?! Before the credit in her cell phone ran out, we managed to convince her to send us a taxi, after ten minutes of sterile phone call and without any useful information. The taxi driver surprised and pleased with such easy money, asked with a smile if we really wanted to take a taxi. The apartment was 400m from there. I do not add anything else.
Of D. not even the shadow, her husband was waiting for us and giving us the keys. Did the night pass? quickly to our French apartment and the next day we woke up and ate breakfast with the breeze blowing insistent and strong and the seagulls hovering somewhere there? on the port, but able to be heard up there, where we were.
Marseille? one of those few cities, of which I had no expectations and which had never aroused my curiosity? pi? a lot, but in the end they conquer me and capture me. I knew her because of the French rapper Keny Arkana, but I had never planned a trip to the capital de la rupture.
From the hill on which? located the French apartment, we began to head towards the port, getting lost in the narrow streets of Marseille. M. and I are generally drawn to the same details, but this time he didn't see the oven anymore? Marseille antique "Four des Navette". It is famous for the navette, sweets flavored with orange blossom. Actually, after an initial "Wow", my curiosity? vanished? and we didn't even go in to try anything.
"M. where are the gulls? Is there a J. Livingston among them?"
The Vieux Port, which we had seen the night before,? between Fort Saint-Jean on the right bank and Fort Saint-Nicholas on the left bank. Around the port? full of bars, restaurants and terraces, full of life and people. I was enchanted to watch the women of the fish market, who carefully handled octopus, sea bream and scorpion fish, better than silks and jewels.
Notre Dame watched us from above as we continued our walk, before being captured by Foster's mirrors. We reached the right bank of the port, to admire Fort Saint Jean and then discover a structure that does not leave indifferent at all.
In the words of Yann Kersal ?, "MUCEM must be a cultural sounding board of the Mediterranean that moves to the rhythm of the tide". Mus? E des civilizations de l'Europe et de la M? Diterran? E "with dark metallic colors, it almost looks like a hatched pearl, cradled by the blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
La Cathedr? L La Major? a must, but for us it was only the reference point to reach the Marseilles district of Le Panier, famous for having become a refuge for sailors and immigrants over the years and defined a disreputable area. But banning anecdotes and rumors during the day? the hipster area of the city? with artists' ateliers, craft shops, the facades of public houses and? here is the Hotel au Vieux Panier, with a unique design and a street-art theme. Each room has a story, that of the artist who filled his walls with personal graffiti of an unparalleled style.
A little Naples, a little Genoa, the true soul of Marseille? in the Noailles district, which borders the luxurious Can? biere, and it was exactly the essence we were looking for. Here the peoples of the Mediterranean intertwine their cultures and exchange their products, regardless of tourists and in a popular neighborhood, which is resisting the renewal and restructuring trend that has been underway since Marseille was the capital of culture in 2013.
GET OFF RUE D'AUBAGNE, AT ANY TIME OF THE DAY,? HOW TO TRAVEL. A SUCCESS OF SHOPS, RESTAURANTS, LIKE MANY STAIRS. ITALY, GREECE, TURKEY, LEBANON, MADAGASCAR, LA R? UNION, THAILAND, VIETNAM, AFRICA, MOROCCO, TUNISIA, ALGERIA.
Street art calls, Cours Julien responds.
No restaurant to recommend, we traveled with a backpack, shopping at the supermarket and some refreshing drinks in some bars, not trendy at all! In the afternoon we reached the beaches outside the city center. Many kilometers of sand, green areas, skate parks and a kiosk with the churros pi? good I've ever tried and I can say it after traveling all over Spain and living there for a year. A few kilometers from the complex of beaches where we were, the first Calanques extended. It was too late to undertake a trekking route among the most? beautiful and rewarding of the old continent. Immersed in the magical atmosphere of the Côte d'Azur the most? beautiful Calanques are located in the stretch of coast between Cassis and Marseille: Port Miou, Port Pin, En Veau, Sormiou, Morgiou and Sugiton.
Night fell, a bus took us? directly a few meters from our French apartment. Notre Dame de la Garde, more? that a church, was a beacon for us and illuminated at night, recreated the seafaring atmosphere without relying too much on the imagination.
French wine and homemade crepes, to give us the last Marseille night and leave the following day for Montepellier. Of D. not even the shadow, only the memory of a French female voice, with an alleged Sicilian origin.
MARSEILLE NOT? A CITY? FOR TOURISTS. NOT C'? NOTHING TO SEE. HER BEAUTY CANNOT BE PHOTOGRAPHED. YOU SHARE. HERE, YOU MUST SIGN UP. GET PASSIONATE. BEING FOR, BEING AGAINST. BE, VIOLENTLY. ONLY THEN, CI? WHAT IS IT? TO SEE YOU LET YOU SEE. SO ? TOO LATE, YES? GI? IN FULL DRAMA. AN ATYPICAL DRAMA WHERE THE HERO? THE DEATH. IN MARSEILLE, EVEN TO LOSE YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO BEAT.
Phrases taken from the book Total Casino, by Jean-Claude Izzo.