Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 10 - Toulon, France

Friday, June 5, 2015 – Toulon, France

Or rather, not Toulon. The ship is docked on the opposite side of the harbor from the city. We can see it out off the balcony, but you have to take a boat shuttle to get to it.

We’re perverse, however. It costs 20 Euros to take the shuttle (each!), so we’ve decided to explore the little seaside town on THIS side of the bay, La Seyne Sur Mer. The old quarter is about a 20 minute WALK from the ship and Steven has insisted I get in my chariot and he will take me to France. I’ve told him I don’t want him to hurt himself trying that, but he’s insistent.

French cobbles aren't any bigger
than Italian ones!
He rolled me along an unpaved pathway that runs along the shoreline and I managed to keep most of my teeth. Had to get up a few times because there was no ramp down the curb, but this area of France is like most parts of America: ramps at the ends of sidewalks to cross the streets. And EVERYONE stops as soon as a pedestrian puts foot to crosswalk. Pedestrians have the right of way here and the drivers aren’t even upset about it! Steven used me as a traffic light several times and each time, sure enough, the cars all stopped to let us cross.

It’s not even 9:00 in the morning and the bars are all open. We stopped at one, thinking it was a café, but it was a bar. Found one called “Le Colbert” but didn’t stop to take a picture of it.

Interesting hot chocolate - and wonderful pastries!
We wandered toward what we thought was the city center but it went uphill and after a bit, we stopped and turned around. Pushing me up the hill wasn’t going to be nearly as hard as taking me down the hill. We’d seen a patisserie down by the docks and decided to go back there to have something to eat. Steven went inside to get pastries and I tried to translate the menu on the wall. I did all right and figured out most of it, even though my French is VERY rusty.

He brought back a croissant for me and a lemon/apricot something for himself, along with two cups of hot chocolate. It tasted like baking chocolate in water, but they’d given us packets of sugar as well. Added a packet and a half and it was quite good! The croissant was, of course, wonderful. Steven kept sighing over his pastry, so I think he liked it.

Cours Louis Blanc early morning

We’d passed a street right by the patisserie that looked interesting, so we decided to go along it for a bit. It was a pedestrian way, bisected by single-lane, one-way streets. Very narrow and very shady. We got to a plaza with a tree-lined boulevard filled with vendors selling every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine. Mostly locals out doing their shopping. We’d found the quintessential France we’d hoped to find.

Of course, we had to go shopping. Bought some things for the kids; I wanted to get a scarf for Kate and Jenn but they were made in China and I said no. Steven bought himself some strawberries and just about had an orgasm when he ate them back on the ship.

By then I was tired and my foot was starting to ache in the cast so we headed back down the street towards the port. We made our turn and there was another pastry shop. Steven parked me at the side of the street and went in. He came out with a box tied with ribbon and said, “That’s for later, on the ship.” My lap was quite full now!

No troubles getting back to the ship. We stopped for glasses of water on the Lido deck and opened the box. He’d gotten two chocolate éclairs (chocolate fillings as well as chocolate on top) and two other somethings that look wonderful. We ate the éclairs while we had our water, then he wheeled me back to the stateroom.

He caved and went to the Internet café onboard and paid for a few minutes of Internet to confirm with Linda (our travel agent) that everything is set for getting home. It is. We’ll disembark tomorrow VERY early (6:05 AM) and be taken to the airport. Once there, we’ll go through customs and get to our gate. Our plane takes off for Rome at 11:45 AM. We then have a short layover before boarding the plane from Rome to Toronto, landing in Toronto at 7:45 PM (their time). But it will be later for us and we’ll decide about going right home or getting a place to stay when we get there.

The doc here has ordered a shot of a blood thinner for me for the flights. Says it will help keep the swelling down. We have business class tickets, up front with recliners, so I can keep my foot elevated. That means I’ll be able to take the boot off and rest my foot during the flight. Thank goodness for small favors! Okay, it’s a big favor, but I’m still grateful for it.

Right now (12:30 PM) Steven’s gone back into Toulon to explore a little more. He said he didn’t know exactly what he’d do – I told him to eat more pastries! J It’s funny, I expect him to come home today looking as French this afternoon as he did Italian yesterday.

Later –

Fell asleep this afternoon. Took a good 45 minute nap. So did Steven, although for less time. He came back from the town with more pastries (told ya!) and I had some wonderful chocolate mousse cake as a mid-afternoon snack.

We packed our bags and now have them outside our door to be picked up. At this point we’re checking all three to make getting through the airport easier. I’d like to keep my red bag with me just because all the souveniers are inside, but we might have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. Steven did some painting while here; those are packed in plastic bags and tucked inside his suitcase, again, crossing fingers they make it to Toronto.

Not much else to report. No dessert social tonight like on the Statendamm. Princess is nice, but we got spoiled with Holland America.

Going to be a long day tomorrow, so signing off now. Next stop – Barcelona!

Play safe and travel well!

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