The Dental And Guinness Tour travel blog

Now that's what I call a proper duck David's local. Only...

Comes under the heading "seemed like ca good idea at the time!"....

Fast train Paris to Marseille - 3.5 hours, 660km topped out at...

Notre Dame, Marseille

Marseille harbour with Notre Dame in the background.

Another former fishing village, now very touristy but still very pretty, just...

View from our Abnb, 3rd floor, typical old port street. Try parking!

Old and new architecture, Marseille

Graffiti everywhere, some of it stunning, some crap, Marseille

Marseille Harbour - first opened in the 6th century, 3,500 berths! Massive.

You could wander for days (which we did) up and down narrow...

One of numerous little (former) fishing villages just outside Marseille

Marseille Cathedral, 1852. The town is full to bursting with beautiful old...

1.5 Hour flight from Dublin to Paris but has taken us all day. At 8.30am Michael drove us to Gorey, then a 2-hour bus journey to Dublin and finally boarded. Upon arrival at 4.30pm got the airport train and then 5 sub-way trains whilst lugging 16kg backpacks, up and down stairs, through tunnels, getting lost, the station we wanted closed for maintenance so had to back-track and all in very crowded rush-hour, to arrive at David’s at 6.30pm totally exhausted. Must be getting old. David then took us out for a magnificent duck confit at his local which made us feel much better.

Four lovely days in Paris, avoiding the obvious places, just exploring local markets, walking everywhere. A highlight was a performance by Oliver Giraud “How to become Parisian in one hour?” at Theatre Des Nouveautes – getting some kulture you might say. An hour of the vagaries of Parisians -v- tourists (with Americans firmly in his sights). Absolutely side-splittingly funny with reluctant audience participation. Another was a long walk with David on a deserted city train line he knew about. Walked about 8km on the tracks, over bridges, through tunnels avoiding broken fences and mountains of rubbish. Met a bloke who had set up house under a bridge with 3 barking dogs but David talked us out of that and a graffiti artist at work, all very interesting.

Then the fast train down to Marseille, lovely rural landscapes whizzing passed, way down south on the Mediterranean, the second largest city in France. Been going since 600 B.C. with buildings to match. Reputed to be the dirtiest, roughest and most corrupt in France. Upon arrival regretted booking for 12 nights – rude train attendants, hundreds of very poor looking people of every nationality milling around, dog shit and rubbish everywhere and beggars, topped off by young African looking blokes either jumping over the turnstiles into the train station or kicking the gate viciously, all within sight of numerous police and station staff. Jesus – what have we let ourselves in for!

After 10 days we love the place! Our apartment in near the Old Port, the heart of the city and very comfortable. Extremely narrow streets, fronted by very old apartment buildings with small eateries and bars and, unfortunately, the dreaded dog shit. The harbour itself (about 10 mins away) is stunning, thousands of moored yachts, fronted by the inevitable expensive tourist restaurants, malls and bars. Yes, it is dirty and the general populace seem very poorly dressed with homelessness a real problem but there is something very real about the place. Provided you attempt to at least say hello in French the majority of people are very friendly, establishing we’re Australian a.s.a.p. as I’ve mentioned before.

Bought public transport passes (about $20 each) and have been thrashing them mercilessly. The trains/sub-ways/trams and buses are extremely good, safe and clean going to just about everywhere within 50km. Have visited little fishing villages, tourist towns, just getting on and off at the end to explore. Glad to say the weather has been mostly good. One Sunday sitting by the 3rd floor window of our apartment as I threw back the wooden shutters, heard the bells of Notre Dame ringing out – can’t get any more French than that! On our long walks within the city sniffed out a fabulous market, lots of middle-eastern and African produce, along with Provence’s cheese, salami, fresh vegetables, wine etc. All cheap and really fresh. Our go-to place for dinner.

One weekend David came down from Paris to visit us and see old friends. Long and boozy story short ended up, after about 3 bars and a nightclub, staggering home at 2.30am with David piggy-backing me for the last 50m, all much the worse for wear. Did feel a bit like a headmistress on the dance floor in the nightclub though – at least I think it was the dance floor…….good fun none-the-less. Definitely on our “to be re-visited” map.

OK, now for the business part. Have been in Budapest for a week, every day either or both of us having long (up to 3hrs) dental appointments. I finished my treatment today – 1 implant, 3 inlays, 1 filling and every cleaning therapy known to science. Must admit the clinic is exceptional, very professional with patients from absolutely everywhere. Very busy. Poor Peter, having triple the amount of procedures goes back in a week for the final push. Hopefully will be complete in a fortnight. Rather him than me.

P.S. Actually got snowed on yesterday - just very light flakes on my face but notheless snow.

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