Thursday, 25 April 2019

Curio by Hilton (La Seyne-Sur-Mer, France)
– – Grand Hotel des Sablettes Plage

Yesterday I went on a driving tour of the local area around where I’m staying. The driver today was the same guy who picked me up from the train station on Tuesday. Today our two attractions will be a famous local market in nearby Sanart-sur-Mer that has been recognized as one of the top five in France and the other attraction is a preserved medieval village. The driver is from this area so I’ll learn additional information as we drive.

Our first stop was the market. It was starting to rain and he stayed in the car since he didn’t bring an umbrella. He said that I could walk down one street and see the vendor booths in one direction. At the end of the street is the harbor and a nearby church. From there I can walk back and see the remaining booths.

Since it was raining some of the vendors decided, I’m assuming, not to participate in the market today, but was fine. On the one street were mainly non-food vendors who offered different products and crafts. The harbor at the end of the street was nice and held many fishing boats and the church seemed to be closed but I took a picture. One the way back up the next street I saw an amazing variety of food. I would have loved to purchase some of what I saw, but I have no kitchen. The tomatoes were large and very red. Much of the meat was seafood. A good selection of fruit and produce were offered as well.

To reach our next stop we drove past a number of vineyards. My driver (didn’t remember his name) said that this part of France produces much of France’s best wines due to the area’s geography. When we arrived at the village of Castelet we both walked around the ancient village, bought a few items from a local bakery then stopped in his friend’s shoe store. Very few people were visiting the village today but his friend said he was open seven days a week. He and his son take turns minding the shop. We visited an old church that was charming inside. Very simple but very nice.

We continued our drive to another older village but didn’t get out. We did stop at a viewpoint nearby and I took pictures of the valley below. Even on a rainy day the view was beautiful. Everything was very green. And that concluded my three-hour tour, which was just perfect for me.

It was very rainy in the early afternoon but around 3:00 the sun came out and I could see what the area looked like in the sun. Up until now it had been cloudy and very windy. I could see why people like coming here.

For lunch I went to the quiche shop that I visited on Tuesday and had a coffee and a piece of spinach quiche. The rest of the day I rested and for dinner I ate the rest of the baked goods I bought earlier and the remaining apple, cheese and bread from last night. I’ve arranged for a driver to take me to the train station tomorrow at 9:30 for my 10:16 train. I will travel first to Marseilles where I’ll transfer to another train that will take me to Montpelier.

This morning I woke early and got ready to be picked up at 9:30. Of course I allowed time to eat a Hilton breakfast. At checkout I only had to pay for the local lodging tax which was around 6 Euro. I had used some of my Hilton points to pay for my stay for three nights.

The travel to Marseilles and then to Montpelier was easy. Both trains were pretty much on time. I had an hour layover in Marseilles and from the station I took a picture of Marseilles’ main attraction, Notre-Dame de la Garde. It sits on a distant hill from the train station.

The ride to Montpelier was comfortable. I upgraded to first class for around 10 Euro to have more comfort and an assigned seat. We had no stops between the two cities and we arrived a little before 2:00.

I met the son of my host at the Airbnb flat that I’m renting for the next six nights. He spoke fairly good English and showed me around. The flat is fairly large and is on the top floor. The building is a short walk to the train station, which is very convenient since I plan a few trips outside of the city while I’m here.

After my host’s son left I walked over to the Segway tour office and booked a tour of Montpelier for tomorrow. Across the street from the tour office was a Spar store where I picked up a few items for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. I’ll visit a larger store tomorrow and purchase more food items.

I took a good nap after I arrived back at the flat. This place will be both quiet and convenient. The kitchen has most everything I need and has high-end appliances. One of the items I used tonight was an orange juicer that squeezes a cut half of an orange and you get instant juice. No pulp.

Tonight I also arranged settlement of my rent in Edinburgh for June and July. Good to have that out of the way. This means for June and July I’ll only have my food expense and membership fees for the gym.

I was in bed early tonight. Traveling generally makes me tired for at least one day. Perhaps it is the thought process of memorizing a new neighborhood and a new flat that is draining. I’m sure I’ll sleep well.

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