Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Marseille (and Toronto)

I'm reading Pictures from Italy, written by Charles Dickens. I was going through my 1600+ photos from Europe and thought it would be a nuch more solid-headed recap; Dickens wrote it during his travels through Italy (via France) starting in 1844, and amazingly, he is tracing my steps backwards through France--Avignon, Aix and Marseille. He talks of the gypsies, the beggars in the streets, crowds gathering at popular tourist sites (the same as today), and so much of it is the same, yet so different too, with Dickens and his family taking three full days to travel from Paris to Marseille whereas it took me all of the hour and fifteen minutes to travel overhead.

Here's a passage he wrote of Marseille:
I was there, twice or thrice afterwards, in fair weather and foul; and I am afraid there is no doubt that it is a dirty and disagreeable place... a compound of vile smells perpetually arising from a great harbour full of stagnant water... which, in hot weather, is dreadful in the last degree.
And that seems to be an opinion of Marseille held by quite a few travellers I met on the road. Those who love Marseille, however, are more than infatuated with it. What I have of it are kind strangers eager to point me in the right direction, lasting patience with my less-than-perfect French, good advices and good seafood.

Nom, mussels and fries.

Clearest waters, my first dip in the Mediterranean

Notre-dame de la garde, seen from the Vieux Port

...but I guess divided opinions are true of every city. The same goes for Toronto, it seems--I jumped onto my flight home and was uneasy with impatience my entire flight home, dying to see my garbage strike-ridden city and reunite with my hometown that I love so much. A friend of mine was disappointed that I still held such enthusiasm for Toronto. When I asked him why, he answered that he wanted to hear from another person, and be assured that Toronto is not a place to stay.

But you know I feel otherwise.

Forest City Lovers and the D'Urbervilles tomorrow! SummerWorks is yet another point for the T.O.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else loves toronto.