Flight LH4352 climbs out of the dour overcast and turns south to skirt the Alps. Two hours later we hop off the airport shuttle bus at Gare St Charles in downtown Marseille. So nice to be back in t-shirt weather — there's just a hint of autumn in the air here.
On their return from Corsica, Ed, Irina and Jonica are staying an extra night in Marseille at the Hôtel Edmond Rostand, so we decide to make this our base until it's time to catch the ferry. A cross-town stroll takes us past streets full of life and enticing aromas of dinners in the making.
The Rostand's owner, named France, welcomes us warmly. Relieved to be free of our bags, we discover an outdoor café nearby and sit down to a delicious meal of coquillages (raw mussels, oysters on the shell, and other very fresh seafood delicacies).
Nightfall. Taxi to the docks. We board SNCM's spanking new cruise ferry, the Danielle Casanova. After showers and a rest in our private cabins, the five of us reconvene for a late snack in one of the ship's restaurants, as the Casanova sets sail beneath a black night sky for the Ligurian Sea and Bastia. Then blessed sleep. By dawn tomorrow we'll be in Corsica.