A smooth sail from Barcelona overnight brings us to Toulon, France. If the rest of our sailing days remain as tranquil we will consider ourselves very fortunate.
As is a very normal occurrence our ship has docked early in the morning prior to any vacation-reasonable eye-opening time. After I crawl out of bed, carefully open the curtains slowly enough to keep from blinding myself, I find once again the weather is being more than cooperative. Having checked the forecast the night before, visual proof that it was going to be totally accurate was a relief. Clear skies and sun are always welcome companions.
Looking around the port the first thing I notice is the rather impressive personal flotation device immediately beside us. Further investigation, through our friend Google, reveals that it is also for sale. Hard to pass up at only 14,995,000 Euros! If your wallet screams for more information, you can get it here. Across the port another lies in wait, but it’s too far away to get many details.
No formal tour for the day, rather one of easy-going exploration on our own. The four of us had decided a water shuttle from the port into the old town would be faster than taking a taxi through what appeared to be a very circumnavigational route. Ultimately a wise decision.
The ride in took us past the main base of the French navy (also the largest navel port in the Mediterranean). Quite a few ships were in port but we saw nothing in the way of activity on any of them. They were certainly different in size and structure to similar ships on the other side of the Atlantic.
Our trek today was to ride the cable car to the top of Mont Faron. With that goal in mind a plan, of sorts, had to come about. First thing, how do we get there followed closely by where do we get tickets? It is France after all, so talking with the information hosts at the port terminal was…heavy French accented English. No slight to them whatsoever…WE are the foreigners after all. However we managed to not only get a map but also proper information on how to get to the best place for tickets and transportation.
Europeans in general have a very different idea than North Americans as to ‘just a short walk down to the tourist office’. It did take more than a couple of minutes and a number of ‘let’s check the map to see if we’ve past it’ but we did successfully arrive. Here we can buy one ticket that covers return trip by bus And the cable car ride up and down. Totally worth the 7.50 Euros per person. What seemed a little strange was the fact we now had to walk almost all the way back, to the nearest bus stop, to catch the proper bus to the cable car. Ok…we likely need the exercise and it’s only about 21 C, clear skies and little wind. (Am I not supposed to continuously mention the perfect weather everywhere?)
The bus ride was interesting as well. It actually was a long way from the marina to the cable car connection. Most of that was uphill. This would NOT be a walkable choice even for the locals. After about 20 minutes we arrive and it just so happens the car is right there waiting. Ok…the attendant piles us in like sardines, but the ride up was both impressive and safe. Both mandatory. And the views from the top were spectacular.
Once there we walked around to take in some of the war memorial at the summit. The tank and anti-aircraft gun were impressive keeping in mind the time frame they were relevant. Certainly a fitting tribute to those that fought.
A little more walking around, a short pause at the restaurant for a beer (gotta try one of the local beers everywhere) and a small bite.
Back to the cable car, down to the bus stop and as luck would have it, the bus was literally just pulling up. How can you beat the service? 🙂
A ride down to the maritime drive where we originally got on and a walk along to see more of the marina was met with a restaurant. No…wait…MANY restaurants all facing the marina. Apparently it is meant to capture tourist attention. It worked! Wine yanked us down to a table, twisting our arms all the way. We gave in. Sitting at the dockside, picture perfect everything…and when are we likely to be back? There is no guilt. The lady beside opted for the ice cream sundae. Who could blame her?
Such a breathtaking past few days and so many more to come. Yes I am truly catching up so the next post will cover Livorno…and an amazing wine tour.