I tried on a perfume while I was waiting for my first flight to Madrid (Armani, Aqua di Gioa – mm, I love it!) but it had all worn off by the time I was boarding for Marseilles. I brought what is left of my Bvlgari perfume (Omnia Amethyst) but it looks like I’ll have to pick up some more while I’m here! And France is the perfect place to do so, of course!

My flight to Marseilles was easy and quick, just an hour and a half on a narrow little plane. I switched seats with a couple kids who were traveling alone and wanted to sit together. Lucky for me, I got a row of two all to myself in the back. So I got to stretch out and kick my feet up for the first time in a while! Took a nice nap for the majority of the flight and when I woke up, we were just arriving over Marseilles. Below, it was overcast and the water was grey – not the best first sight of France, but I wouldn’t be staying there anyway, so I wasn’t concerned.

The plane was so little, that they couldn’t hook us up to a jetway. Instead, we walked out of the plane, and down some steps right onto the tarmac! I’ve only had to do this once before, in Iceland, where the plane and the airport were both so tiny! My pack rode with the cargo during this flight, so I picked it off the cart on the tarmac and continued inside, where my bigger suitcase was one of the first off the carousel. Talk about timing!

The Marseilles-Provence Airport is not as new as Madrid-Barajas, but also not as large or central. Coming in from the tarmac, the baggage carousel was right in front of you, and no more than 200 yards away was the exit into the parking lot.

However, for such a small airport, I did have some troubles. One of which was getting money! Oh la la la la la la! Quel grand problème! With no ATM in sight (and none in Madrid, either, so I was completely Euro-less), I was forced to use the dreaded (and expensive) exchange counter. I only exchanged 40 USD, which only got me about 29 Euro! Not. Happy. But I only needed a few bucks to 1) Call my lovely host C that the shuttle bus (Navette) I was taking was running a bit lat and 2) Pay for said bus.

Alors, just like that, I managed to find a pay phone (in the 21st century! Imagine that…), read the bus schedule (depart à 17:30), and ask for directions to the bus. While I did have to have the directions repeated a few times (go straight and turn right, go straight and turn right, go straight and turn right) I managed to communicate with the people at the airport! Granted, this did not require advanced French skills, but it reassured me that, even in semi-crisis mode, I could in fact communicate.

Arriving in Aix en bus, I was met swiftly by C, who whisked me off through town (I caught quick glimses of motorbikes, sidestreets, and pizza places) to their house! Quelle belle maison! I am in love with this house: it is so old-French with tall ceilings, a long walk to the door, balconies, and flowers. I forget that this is Southern France, so the vegetation is closer to, as C puts it, Monterey, California than ol’ New York. Despite the overcast evening, the air was warm (to me at least). I (re) met J and A, had an easy meal, settled into my room for the week, shot a note off to the fam (I’m safe!), and went to bed just two hours after arriving. Finally: close to fourteen hours after leaving my home in NY, I was in Aix!  

9/6/2012 06:04:20 pm

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