Monday, April 23, 2012

Parlez-vous francais?

After close to a week back in the real world it is probably about time I started posting about my European adventure as a means of explaining my three week absence from this here bloggy blog. So, without any more convoluted sentences, I shall begin.

Over the Easter/mid-semester holidays I partook in a ridiculous coach tour around Europe. We covered 7 countries in 15 days. Ridiculous. I met some seriously fantastic people and saw some unbelievable things. I'm also wrecked and now recovering from my fourth bout of sickness since being in the northern hemisphere.

Before the tour started, a series of unfortunate and unforeseeable events led to me doing some travel, of the southern France kind, by myself for a few days. I was in Nimes for 3 nights and Marseille for one. And this is what I saw...

My first day in Nimes I pretty much just walked around the city. It really is very tiny. It is also quite a a strange town, with Roman ruins just popping up out of nowhere. Although I really enjoyed my time there, 3 days was sufficient.
Maison Carree
Carved details on the Maison Carree

Nimes Amphitheatre

I spent a good few hours wandering around the amphitheatre. It is in such good condition that you can actually climb all the way to the top - the perfect place to stop for lunch and admire the panoramic view of Nimes.

I didn't know what this structure was when I stumbled upon it. Turns out it is the remains of an aqueduct.   

My second day was spent meandering through the Jardins de la Fontaine. I was really looking forward to this as I'd driven past it when I first arrived. I decided that, since the day was shaping up to be a hot one, I would head straight for the Tour Magne which is conveniently located at the top of quite a steep hill behind the fountain garden. The ascent took the better part of 45 minutes but it was worth it.
Tour Magne (The Great Tower)

The view from the top of the tower

Navy stripes - such a French cliche
After taking in the rather lovely view I headed back down to the gardens for a proper look at the statues and fountains.

The last day of my little adventure was spent in Marseille. I really only had an afternoon and an evening here as my flight to Amsterdam was booked for a hideously uncivilised hour the following morning. I had an expectation of what Nimes was going to be like, but I headed to Marseille with no expectations beyond knowing that it is a port side city. I spent the afternoon just walking around, taking in the hustle and bustle of the city.  

The strange paradox of these two vastly different buildings next to each other was fairly typical of both Nimes and Marseille

I'm glad I got the chance to do some travel by myself, regardless of the fact that I spent the week before I left freaking out about it. It wasn't nearly as daunting as I anticipated but I'm in rush to do it again - everything is more fun if you have someone to share it with.

So from Marseille I jumped on a plane to Amsterdam, ready to start a coach tour on the 2nd April. Stay tuned for a multitude of posts documenting 7 countries in 15 days.


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