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The grand voyage begins

This blog is going to be sadly lacking in photos because my only goal today was to get on this ship.

So, in that respect, mission accomplished. I am now at sea somewhere between Marseilles and Barcelona.

It was still dark in Paris at 8 am when I shlepped my bags to the Gare de Lyon, which was a four-minute walk from my hotel ... but 100 pounds of luggage is not easy to drag even that short distance. And then getting the bags on and off the train ... well ... I did it, but it was not pretty.

The train departed on time and my seat in first class was roomy. Some guy in the cabin was hacking up a lung the whole way which was disconcerting. I know I will get COVID at some point on this trip. I think that is inevitable on a ship with 4,000 people getting on and off at different ports. And I am quintuple vaxxed - so I am not worried about dying from it ... but I do not want it today.

Anyhoo, the fast train across the French countryside was a pleasant experience.

And the Uber guy who eventually found me at the Marseilles train station was wonderful. But he dropped me (and my luggage) at an abandoned port terminal. I quickly figured something was wrong and lugged the suitcases another half kilometre to the right place, but was one of the last Marseille passéngers to board the ship.

As expected I am one of the younger folks on board. There are not many solo travellers. And there are few whose first language in English. Lotsa French.

But I met two lovely sisters from Windsor who suggested that we pal around together.

Trouble was I thought I had the 8 pm dinner sitting (which I picked because I figured that is when the cool kids eat) - and they had the 6:30. So I lost them when we boarded.

More about the ship in later posts. Suffice to say it is quite elegant. My room is actually not on the bottom deck. It is interior but well equipped and comfy.

BUT ... after unpacking, I looked at my ship card and realized that I too had the 6:30 dinner sitting. Which is a good thing. Because the second sitting is at 9 pm!!! I could not wait that long for my evening meal.

By that time it was 7:30 so I ran to the dining room and was seated at a table for five that had two other solo travellers at it - a man and a woman, both from France, both of whom speak little English. But they were lovely and eager to speak to me in French and are excited about making me bilingual over the next four months.

I had the coq au vin. It was nothing special .., but also not awful.

I went my own way after dinner to sort out an internet issue. And then I had a glass of wine in one of the many bars. A woman was singing and I just crashed.

Then I realized I had been wearing my sweater inside out all night because I was so tired - great first impression but it will look like a new sweater the next time I wear it.

Barcelona tomorrow- a place I have visited a couple times, once with Mark. Thinking I will tour the old city on foot.

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07 ene 2023

Phew! So glad you made it in time to board.

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