Friday, 25 May 2012

Thursday 24 May, Marseille

Went in search of a travel agent or ferry booking office to get our tickets to Corsica. The first 3 places would not help us because we did not speak French, quite rude in fact. On the 4th attempt found an English staff member who said our experience was the norm. He has lived in Marseille and thinks it is the pits. He initially thought we were too late to book for today as the lists for the day would have been closed off but he got us tickets with just 10 minutes to spare. The two of  us, the bike, and an ensuite cabin for the overnight 12 hour voyage to Basti in Corsica for 176 euros which was 30 euros cheaper than the best deal I could find on the net before we left Oz.
Has some breakfast in a cafe hot chocolate, coffee juice and a croissant, and then returned to our room to pack and check out. Rode through dense city traffic to the Gare Maritime to check out where our ferry would depart from and then followed the coast west to Carry-le-Rouet a flash expensive resort town where rather the pay the extortionate restaurant prices for lunch we bought sandwiches and ate them on the quay watching some disembarking learner scuba divers being bossed about by their teacher. Then had a coffee and an orange juice at a little coffee shop .
Rode back towards the port along the coast hugging minor roads past some crap beaches and one very nice one. Stopped at a park to rest under a tree in the shade to kill time and update this report before checking in at the terminal at 5.00 pm. Apart from walking up and down Marseille this morning it has been a lazy day.

Boarded the boat about 6.00 pm. About 30 other motorcyclists, mainly with French plates plus two Portuguese guys who have toured extensively round Europe and Scandinavia on a Yamaha scooter and a FJR.

Unusual system for lashing down the bikes – a specially fitted yoke that swings over the bike seat and then fixes to the floor. Excellent cabin with comfortable beds, plenty of space and a good shower.

Some last comments on mainland France: excellent road surfaces; some people very nice and others very rude; the French seem to have no sense of humour and are serious about everything; excellent food; tasteless beer; all bikers wave to each other; good drivers; scooters and motorcyclists can park anywhere including footpaths and can nip up one way streets the wrong way, use bus lanes, tram routes, etc , with seeming impunity; all scooter riders think they are Rossi; most petrol stations are credit card only and have no staff; petrol about $2 a litre.

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