Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, and Genoa
As I mentioned previously, I'll be skipping the first stop at Barcelona, since not much happened there. This post will include the both the first stop at Marseille and second stop at Genoa. Apologies in advance - these two stops had less going on, but I tried to explain what I did to the best of my ability. I also included all the pictures I took, and hopefully this gives an idea of what my experiences at these destinations were like. If you're curious about anything, please don't hesitate to ask, and I'll answer as best as I can! :)
Bright and early in the morning, we arrive at the port of Marseille. We had a local tour guide waiting for us when we got off the ship. She led us to the van that would be taking us around for the day, and from there we headed straight for our first (and sadly, our only) destination in Marseille, the Notre-Dame de la Garde.
The Notre-Dame de la Garde, meaning "Our Lady of the Guard", is a Catholic basilica built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point of Marseille. It's a beautiful basilica, and the location atop the highest point allows visitors to experience a view of all of Marseille as well.
We stayed here for a while, and then that's all we saw of Marseille. Next, we took off for Aix-en-Provence, which was a couple hours' drive away. Upon arriving, we went straight to eat lunch downtown.
We were served three courses - an appetizer of foie gras, an entree, and a dessert. I have to say, foie gras is definitely not my thing, especially when it's served cold and bland as it was here. I tried a bite because I felt like it was the thing to do in France, decided I hated it, but powered through and ended up eating half of it anyways out of politeness. Needless to say, I was excited when the entrees finally came. Roast leg of lamb is a famous dish there, and that's what most people ordered. I don't eat lamb though, so I got a salmon entree instead, which came with a yummy leek fondue. The dessert I chose was a flan, which was delicious as well.
Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the food, nor did I get any more pictures for the rest of the day. We only had around an hour after lunch to wander around before we had to get back on the bus and head back towards Marseille to board the ship.
The next day, Christmas Day, was spent in Genoa, Italy. I'll be honest - not much happened during this excursion either. It was Christmas day, so everything was closed, and everyone was probably home, spending time with their families. Despite that, we still had a tour guide who brought us around the city for a bit and explained some of the history.
My favorite part about Genoa was definitely the facades of the buildings in the historical district. They all looked like they were painted on, and according to the tour guide, they have maintained all of the painted facades since whenever they were created.
The Genoa Cathedral was another wonderful site, and honestly, it was nice to be able to enjoy the landmarks without dealing with a large crowd of people/tourists.
The Piazza De Ferrari was another site to be seen, and there seemed to be an other-worldliness to the site.
After the sightseeing, we were led to an underground room for a wine tasting. As weird as it sounds, it was awesome, since they offered some yummy bread and free wine! The wine was pretty good too, as you can tell from my sister's face here.
With some wine and bread in our tummies, the tour was over. Since not much was open anyways, my family decided to take a leisurely walk back to our ship. Honestly, it wasn't the most scenic route, but the station where we boarded the ship was quite pretty.
And that was all of what I did in Genoa - we were back on the ship by lunch time...
Because I had such short stays at these two destinations (Marseille/Aix-en_Provence and Genoa) with little to do, I definitely want to visit again. If you've gone to any of these places before, what did you think? Do you have any recommendations for things to do? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for the next post on Rome!