Have I ever told you . . .

This is a photo from Wikipedia.
Ours are all on another hard drive.
. . . about my favorite vacation day of all time?

It was in Marseille, France. Doug and I decided that we wanted to travel abroad before we started having children, so we went on a Mediterranean cruise. On this cruise, we met a British couple who told us that we should skip the kids and take more cruises-- but that's another story.

Our first port of call was in Marseille and I was ecstatic. I speak a passable amount of French and had desperately wanted to visit the country since I was in high school. We had no plan for the day, but we were over our jet lag (sleeping for 12 straight hours helped with that) and we both had lots of energy and excitement!

We stepped off the boat and just stood, soaking in the gorgeous weather and staring at our surroundings in awe for a moment. Since we had no plan and needed time to sit and look at our map, we made a bee-line for the nearest outdoor cafe.

So, we were sitting at a cafe, outdoors, in beautiful weather, on the coast, in Marseille... Yep.

When the waiter appeared, I ordered the first thing that came to mind.

"Deux cafe, s'il vous plait."

Being the Americans that we are, we were a little surprised to see two tiny cups of espresso appear before us. (Now I know that we are the odd ones.) We added some sugar -- okay, a lot of sugar -- and took a drink.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This was the perfect cup of coffee. Seriously. I have never tasted better coffee in my life! Every cup of espresso I've tried since that trip has been disgusting. I finally gave up and hold out hope that I'll be in Marseille again someday.

I needed smaller bills with which to tip the waiter, so I went inside and used some very tortured French to ask for change. The host gave me a what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about look and started speaking to me in English. I guess it was that obvious. I was mortified at the time, but now I think it's funny.

Once we had gotten our bearings, we started wandering the streets of this beautiful city. We walked all the way up to Notre Dame de la Garde (seen in the distance of the photo above). That was the sight of another embarrassing moment when I tripped over a kneeler and caused a loud banging noise in the midst of a very quiet church. We slipped a little money in the box, lit a candle, and hauled butt out of there.

We wandered some more and found ourselves outside a little creperie, just as we were getting hungry. It seems a bit redundant to tell you how wonderful these crepes were. Doug had one with many ingredients and I had one with very few. Both were amazing!

After lunch we walked and walked and walked some more.

At one point, we came across a park where several stray cats were gathered. While I was talking to them, an old woman came up and started feeding them. She was trying to talk to me, but didn't seem to grasp that I could not understand what she was saying. I caught about every 5th word and that did not help me. I tried telling her that I did not understand, that I didn't speak French, etc. (all in French, mind you), but she just kept talking. We finally started smiling apologetically, waving, and slowly backing away.

Heck, for all I know, she wasn't even talking to me. She could have been talking to the cats about me. I'll never know.

As it neared dinner time, we finally made our way back to the boat. We had walked miles that day. We were sore. We were exhausted. We were sunburned. We were blissfully happy.

And that was my favorite vacation day of all time.


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