Sunset BBQ - Marseille & Gruissan, France
We made it to Marseille, and all agreed that it was a highlight of the trip. After Paris this is the second largest city in France, and it's very proud of its culture and diversity.
A quarter of the city's population is from North Africa, making Marseille Europe's gateway to Africa. We spent the previous evening sipping on craft beers in a park, and had a great time making new friends from all over. There's no better feeling than connecting with new people and bridging cultures while traveling. The world starts to feel a lot less scary and immense, knowing that we're all just trying our best to get by.
This port city was once the most important trade center in Europe, and today it berths freight and cruise ships.
We caught a ride up to the Notre-Dame de la Garde to take in the view from the highest point in Marseille.
That little island is Château d'If - any other Count of Monte Cristo fans out there? Like Alcatraz, this spec of land was once used as an insanely secure prison, but is now a tourist stop.
There's not a ton to do up there, so we just rode back down.
I have to introduce you to Carl who met us here on his way from Paris. From here on out, we're that trio from New York!
Tess drove us into Nîmes to see this stunner...
The Nîmes Arena! This beauty was built in 70 AD, and is smack in the middle of the city.
24,000 people can comfortably fit here. Today this space is used for the occasional bull fight and music festival.
I am proud to admit that I was a Latin student for 7 years in high school and college. So ancient arenas are one of the few places I can practice my translation skills. I know, I know... just let me geek out for a bit.
"Are you not entertained?!" - Please go watch Gladiator.
Back on the road (keep up!), we spotted some wild flamingoes as we near the Mediterranean.
I have a newfound passion for French farms after this trip. I mean, these orchards stretch for miles! Ask me about my new obsessions with tapas and farms the next time you see me. I'll chat your ear off.
Our stop for the night was this sleepy beach town called, Gruissan. We were a bit too early in the season for any crowds, but this place gets packed in August.
A quiet shack to ourselves? We certainly weren't complaining. Vivienne runs the cutest little spot here (via Airbnb)! All credit goes to Carl for finding this one!
Tess and I left Carl with the patties for a 10 minute wander on the beach.
I'm lost in a cheeseburger daydream here.
Thanks to Grillmaster Carl we feasted on the finest of burgers!
Later that evening on the beach we happened to cross paths with a guitarist and trombone player. With Carl on clarinet, the three of them delivered a midnight jam session - one of those really special moments on a trip that you'll remember forever.
The next morning we stuffed ourselves with eggs and croissants, and sadly said goodbye to our lovely host. Gruissan is one of those random hidden gems, and is most definitely on my return to list.
Keep up now! We've almost made it back to Barcelona...