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Published: December 21st 2007
In an attempt to replace my devastating memories of Australia's defeat to England with happier recollections, I again headed to Marseille - this time by plane - for Renee's 29th birthday celebrations. I am happy to report success!
A crew of 8 of us stayed in an awesome villa at Carry le Rouet, about half an hour from Marseille itself. The villa had great views across the Med to Marseille itself. Luckily for the rest of us, Rich and Rhona (who flew in from Frankfurt - we are such an international crew) had arrived early and sussed out the way to the villa (and Rich had got his desire to drive the wrong way round roundabouts out of his system). Also luckily -despite a late arrival in Carry le Rouet - we managed to find a restaurant that was still willing to serve us food (after having been refused at 4 other places). Otherwise it would have been a packet of chips between the 8 of us for dinner!!
On the Saturday, we headed into Marseille. We purchased supplies for dinner at the markets - where I tried to use my French - but apparently my accent is too
appalling to pass for a French speaker - so nearly everyone replied in English. The excess of alcohol we purchased certainly tested our biceps on the way to the car!
After the 'chores' were over, we headed up to the fort to see the views and check it out. Luckily, Saibs is as keen on ridiculous photos as me, so we took (more than) a few. We are particularly keen on the 'Marseille Massive' boy-band series (one of which heads this blog).
We had another success with lunch, where the waiter, in honour of the birthday girl, left the aperitif bottle on our table. It did not take much twisting of his arm to get him to enjoy a drink with us. Lastly we visited the cathedral on the hill. I suspect the views of Marseille are better during the day!
Back at the villa, we cooked a feast fit for the birthday princess and sat down to a fab meal with champers, wine, cheese and fresh fish from the markets.
Sunday was Saibs' actual birthday, so after a brekkie of bacon and egg rolls (thanks Prehn - they did wonders for our hangovers!) we made
our way to Avignon. Avignon is a lovely town (with a wall - which as you all know I love), although a bit quiet on a Sunday. It was the site of the Palais de Popes - where the Popes lived in the 14th century (although no popes there now).
We wandered around the castle and then down to the Avignon bridge - made famous by the song - which Saibs sang for us (accompanied by an appropriate dance). It was windy and cold on the bridge, which is apparently par for the course in Avignon - the wind is known as the mistral and is pretty much constant.
Apparently the bridge was built there because of a shepherd called Benezet - later made a saint. An angel came to him and said 'Benezet, Benezet. Build a bridge over the Rhone.' (For the full effect, you must say ‘Benezet, Benezet’ in a deep, ‘monk-like’ voice.) He rushed to the village and told them the story, but they scoffed at him (scoff, scoff). He insisted that God had told him to build the bridge there. So, to prove his faith and the divine will, he lifted a huge rock
The birthday girl looking hot
(much bigger than an ordinary person not following the divine will of God could lift) and laid it as the foundation. Convinced - the townspeople got down to the business of building the bridge.
Anyway - enough of the history. Despite the wind, was great to get out of grey old London and experience some blue skies (even if scarves were required) and celebrate Saibs' birthday the way all birthdays should be spent.
Happy Birthday Saibs!
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