August 7, 2017

The Getaway Part 2: A Big Ass Boat and France

When last we left I had just left Barcelona and so our party of 52 (yes 52!) got on the lovely Freedom of the Seas for 7 days and 7 nights of non-stop ports, fun, food and adventure.  Few things about the ship:

They have stores and restaurants there and seriously WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? If I want to go to overpriced stores and restaurants I can do that at home. Luckily, our group had a reservation nightly at the formal dining room so we could all sit together and man did I ever miss eating escargot starters when I came home and found all I had in the cupboard was stale cheerios.

All that is forgiven though - because we were on a damn boat set for France, son. Word.
One really cool thing about our cruise was that, since it was international, you got to hear tons of different accents and dialects while on the ship. I made small talk with an older Australian man in the elevator and boy, I could have talked to him all day about absolutely nothing. More about the boat later. Our first stop was Marseilles, France. Different members of our group had booked different excursions but luckily I managed to get onto a tour bus that took us around the city, which was pretty cool. And folks, Marseilles even has it's own Hollywood type sign. Guess who paid for it?

Not even joking. They have a French series called Marseille and to promote it they built a friggin' sign overlooking the city. Out guide told us people who actually lived there were less than impressed by the thing and I kind of agree. You have beautiful architecture and monuments - why muck it up with Hollywood?

So we toured the city and got to see the Notre-Dame de la Garde a beautiful church with an amazing amount of stairs where I learned just out of shape I really am. My ailing Mother stayed behind while the rest of us trapsed about but when I came back, I found her and the tour guide talking animatedly - which is funny because my Mom really doesn't converse with strangers that much. We learned that he was not French but from Portugal, traveled a ton and spoke a great many languages. He also wanted to visit America but said he was "afraid".

Mom: Why?
Guide: Because I travel and I visit Muslim countries recently. I don't know what this Trump person would do to me. I might not make it out of there. I no not why people vote him in.
Mom and I in unison: We hate Trump.
Guide: (looks relieved).

And people, let me tell you - this was a conversation we had all during the trip with people from different countries. Quite a few people told us they were scared to visit America because of Trump. So Trump not only killed democracy but our tourism as well. Screw you Trump!
Luckily most people upon hearing we were Americans were nice to us because it was evident we weren't evil people. Or we hide it pretty well at least. The guide was probably the best guide I'd ever met AND  he'd kept my Mom entertained - I wish he would visit the U.S. sometime, at least to see that we're not all xenophobic assholes.

The next day we hopped along a tender (boat) to Villefranche (Nice) and let me tell you, the water that boat was in was pristine. The Paris Climate Control is a good thing, although one other thing is that seemingly everybody in France smokes. But as my cousin's husband put it "They look so cool." My baby nephew (well okay, he's 15) noted this too, but also added two simple words - "lung cancer".  At any rate, that water was beautiful and clean. Here's a video and excuse my lack of directional skills.

We managed to talk a taxi driver into taking us to Monaco and he even promised to pick us up a few hours later - which he did and was right on time. Whoever said French people were rude must have been rude to them first, because everybody was super wonderful. I wish we had taxi drivers (or Uber drivers) like him in America.

Oh and also, Monaco is the size of a postage stamp. We ate at an pizza eatery there because we had Middle Eastern food in Barcelona, so why not eat Italian in France? We are a backwards people. Anyways we didn't get to see Monte Carlo but some family members made it to the casino, and by that I mean, they were able to get into a lobby but not beyond that. They had to, of course, keep the undesirables at bay. At least there were a ton of cool cars to look at - cars that costs more than their homes.

So France was beautiful and one day I'll make it to Paris, where I will take a room in the hotel looking over the city, smoke many cigarettes, eat many fresh croissants and have many torrid love affairs while writing my memoires and waxing poetic in the style of Voltaire.

But for right now, I'm stuck back in my stale Cheerio life. Sigh.

Next up: Rome! (if you want to)


  1. I'm not surprised to hear a lot of people asked about Trump. What we look like on the outside must be truly terrifying. Your adventures sound like tons of fun, though!

    1. Thanks! I have to say the people in Italy, France and Spain were very very nice to us. We were nervous because we thought everybody would associate us with Trump! But I think they were able to see that we weren't like that. :)


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