After a tear-filled farewell with my parents at the airport in Barcelona, I was finally off to explore Europe solo and my first stop was Marseille, the second largest city in France. When I was first researching about Marseille after I had booked by flight there, I got all these search results that said that it is such a dangerous city run by the mafia. There was also stuff about how there’s a lot of theft in the city and that you shouldn’t visit certain unsafe areas of the city. However, it was anything but scary and dangerous when I was there. Marseille has really been trying to shed the “dangerous” image its been given and it’s been cleaned up significantly, especially considering it’s the European Capital of Culture for 2013.
It just so happened that my timing was perfect as a lot was happening in Marseille during the few days that I was there. The MuCEM just opened and you could visit it for free during the first three days after its opening. I’m glad it was free because I don’t think I would have paid to see the exhibitions inside, or at least not for all the exhibitions. The only exhibition that I really enjoyed was the one about gender. But I must say that the design of the building is amazing!
I also took a boat ride out to the Château d’If, which you may have heard of thanks to The Count of Monte Cristo. The weather wasn’t great the day I went, so it really added to the creepy factor when I was exploring the fortress/prison. Thankfully, the weather cleared up the following day, so I hung out with Anika by Fort St. Jean, a super cool Aussie who I met at the hostel. We also had lunch as this cool vegetarian and vegan place called Green Bear Coffee.
Overall, I’d say that Marseille is a pretty cool city and it’s so not like what I had imagined. Two thumbs up!