Day 3: “Parlez-vous tourist?” – our day in Toulon

Another sunrise in France.

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Okay, it was a bit after sunrise – more like 7:30. Picky, picky, picky.

Not much else to write about for yesterday. I zonked out about 9pm and knew almost nothing ’til said 7:30am.

Observation: Milk here (both in Barcelona and on board ship) is, like, 300% milkfat. It tastes like evaporated milk. Even the skim is suspiciously thick. I think they have a herd of dairy cows in the hold, and bring the stuff up directly from the milk pails.

Okay–on to other things.

Toulon is a lovely place–well, what we saw of it, anyway. The area has a vast array of buildings, tucked up into the hills and charging across the flatlands.

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We won’t be able to explore a lot of it today due to time constrictions. Ah well, this was true for every port of call. One day is just not enough.

Toulon is a naval port as well as a tourist town, and man, those ships are pretty big. Lots and LOTS of boats docked at the quay, too. You could probably hop from one to another for a good couple of miles without getting your feet wet. Busy place.

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We took a ferry across from where the ship docked, which set us in the center of everything. First thing I noticed: What’s nice is that Toulon ebbs and flows around the tourist trade without making it the center of its existence. A block from the wharf, the world goes on as if it wasn’t being overrun by non-French speakers armed with cameras and selfie-sticks. I’m totally in love with this place.

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I put my hand in the Mediterranean round about here:

P1050385So now I’ve been in the Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean, North Sea, and the Mediterranean. There will be more to come as our journey continues.

 

 

 

 

 

The sky was partly cloudy and a bit on the warmish side. We were pretty sure rain was in the forecast, but that didn’t stop us.

The first thing we did when we got off the ferry was to take the 45-minute mini-train tour.

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This “train” is not on tracks–it just pull several cars behind a trainy-looking front vehicle.

What’s better than hitting bumps in the road? Feeling each bump in the road multiple times–every time a wheel hit one. And on cobblestone streets. Yep, that was an experience. ‘Twas a very informative tour–a shame I don’t remember much of it.

 

Some shots from the trainy thing:                                                                                                                    P1050372 P1050373 P1050405

I never did find a place that sold absinthe, though I didn’t look all that hard.

Once we got off the tour train, we did what we do best–nosed around all the side streets that we had time to explore.

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After walking down as many side streets as we could, we ended up in the street market.

Fun! I loved seeing all the booths that sold fruits and vegetables–would have bought some if we could have brought them back with us. But for health/disease prevention reasons, that’s against the law in all ports.

But we did buy a few things that weren’t edible. Paul bought a watch for 5 euros–because of the price, we both thought the thing would break down within an hour or so. But it’s still keeping good time. For the first day or so, he kept checking the time against his cellphone. So far, so good.

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We had lunch around 12:30 in a quayside restaurant called Le Grande Cafe de la Rade, “rade” meaning “harbor”–among other things.

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The second picture is the view from our table. So–one bucket list item, “sitting in an outdoor cafe in France”, has been taken care of. Not that I wouldn’t want to repeat it…many times…

Creme brulee for dessert! Yum!

As I said, I got to use some of my high-school French on the locals. I think/hope they appreciated the effort. I just hope I didn’t do too bad a job on it. (I graduated in 1978, so what I learned does not jump to the top of my thought processes.)

It rained a little, which made the paving stones a bit slippery. After a little more walking, we decided to call it a day and get back to the ship.

As I write this, Paul is having a nap and I’m up on the 12th floor in the ship’s library.

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I have a great vantage point, sitting at a large window so I can see the world going by. I watched as the other cruise passengers came back on board. Now I see local buses pulling up, and suspect that these are passengers coming from the other side of the harbor (we’re actually touching land, not bobbing about in the harbor–but it’s on a side that doesn’t really cater to the tourist trade). From what I can see of that area, it doesn’t look very interesting. Ah well, different strokes, etc.

I think I will sign off now and see how much editing I can get done before 5:30pm, which is when Hubby wants me to wake him for dinner. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be even close to hungry by then.

***

Well, actually that turned out to be a good idea. A couple of ounces of steak and a few pommes frites don’t last all that long. Dinner for me was a salad and a veggie lasagna. I like that the servings on board ship are reasonably-sized. Not the walloping doses you get in U.S restaurants. Not as salty either. (In the various restaurants anyway–at the buffet, you’re on your own recognizance. Translation: death to the diet.)

After dinner, we decided to walk along the promenade deck for some exercise, but got only as far as the doors outside the Stardust Theater. Paul noticed that people were going in, which piqued our interest. Turns out that there was a show about to start–flamenco dancers.

Well, what the hey–sounded interesting. At least it wouldn’t be a show where people are singing at me.

And it was very good. I have no pictures–it was requested at the beginning of the show that no pictures be taken (copyrights). We honored that, so  our memories are our only photos. Here are a couple of pictures of flamenco dancers taken from the interwebs:

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On stage were one guy and three ladies. They did a great job; unfortunately, I had a hard time staying awake, even with the fast pace of the dancing, the lights, and the music. Long day, lingering jet lag…

Afterwards, we took a few turns around the ship on the topmost level, then headed in.

Now it’s close to bedtime. Livorno is our next stop, and the day will be starting early for us.

Italian–hmmm…I know little to nothing about the language. Oh well–good thing the folks in the tourist trade know English.

Tomorrow–Livorno, Pisa, and the wettest day the natives have seen in a long time

 

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