In a weekend that initially seemed doomed came the best and most exhilarating experiences. Sunday morning of last week I woke up in the Lafayette residence dorm and began booking my plans for the next weekend.
Sunday, September 25th
“There, we’re all set for the weekend: 4 beds, 3 nights, in Marseille!” As I finished booking my housing for the weekend. As the school week began I started tracking down my travel buddies, Clyde, Luke, Cannon. However, after each conversation I had no one willing to join me for a trip to Marseille. Luke was the only one willing to join me. At this point I hadn’t known him that long – sure, we played soccer together on Tuesdays, but traveling together is a whole other story.
Friday, October, 7th
As I woke up in my hostel and reached for my phone, I felt different. Arriving last night, I noticed a distinct change in weather and air quality. The air felt salty, there was always a slight breeze, and everything seemed more natural. The hostel was no different. And as i checked for any messages regarding Luke’s arrival, I felt truly rested for the first time in a long time.
He got in around 10am, and we started for the mountains. My plan for the day was to hike in one of Marseille’s national parks, go swimming and the likes. After a short delay we found the correct buses and made our way toward Mont Puget. As the climb progressed, we started talking and getting to know each other. Within 20 minutes we were laughing and having a great time, the awkward tension I feared from it just being the two of us was nonexistent.
An hour or so later, we noticed that our paths we taking us around the mountain and not up to the top. We both agreed the view would be legendary from the top, so we decided to shear face the side of the rocks. My legs burned from the ascent and scratches of thorny bushes as we grabbed edges and corners of massive boulders and made our way upwards. Both the pace and path were almost always set by Luke, getting lucky at every turn and decision. Luke raced up the hill, and as I finally caught up to him I was able to look up for one of the first times and really see the city of Marseille, the Olympic de Marseille (soccer stadium), the city center, the shore line, island in between the bay, and more. The view was truly breathtaking and won’t be one I forget anytime soon.
As we descended and made our way towards the shore, we both understood that the water would be cold, but the view and experience would be well worth it. By 4:30 pm we had made our way down to the cove and noticed we were the only ones about to swim. A good group of people were already in towels shivering and telling us it was too cold to swim, but that was to no avail for Luke as he cannon-balled in and convinced me to follow.
The locals were right; as I jumped in, a cold shiver ran through my spine, and salt water rushed up my nose and mouth. Gasping for air, I rose to the surface and tried to remember what warmth felt like. I looked over my shoulder to see Luke climbing a small island boulder. As per usual I followed – and so began our cliff diving experience. After a few jumps I couldn’t take the heat, or lack thereof. Luke kept on, jump after jump, varying his style and approach. Finally we took off for home, shivering and planning tomorrow’s excursions.
The rest of the weekend consisted of traveling all along the bay, catching local experiences, food, activities, Bochy ball, wind surfing, paddle boarding, and so on. And by mid Sunday as we boarded the metro for the train, we both agreed, someday we’ll come back, and maybe someday we’ll live in Marseille.