The biggest reason for my absence these past few months? I went to France!
No, I did not eat macarons in Paris (they’re overrated anyway); I didn’t take a selfie with the Mona Lisa. I’m not that kind of blogger. I did wear a lot of berets, but that’s just practical for late March on the Iberian coast. And I ate my weight in bread, because of course. But my main raison de voyager was visiting my dear friend Amelia, who is working on her Ph.D in Toulon.
Now, anyone who’s vaguely academe-adjacent knows she couldn’t possibly entertain me for an entire week, so I spent the first half of my trip living out a personal dream. I stayed for three days in the Basque Country, home of an ancient culture and what is probably my favorite living language. I spent three days wandering the 12th-century town of Bayonne, eating gateau Basque and butchering simple vocabulary. It doesn’t take long to fall in love with the Basque coast. Someday I’ll return to be seduced by Bilbao and Donostia.
After three days, I took the train to meet Amelia in Marseille, which was an altogether different world. Marseille is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. San Francisco meets the Mediterranean meets pure je ne sais quoi. There were brand-new clubs abutting ancient fortresses. There was a rather nasty run-in with white nationalists and a much more pleasant one with Russian sailors (yes, really). And, of course, there was my best friend, whose love for France in general and Marseille in particular is undeniably catching.
I took hundreds of photos, most of which still need sorting. For now, enjoy these, taken in and around the Basilica at the very peak of the city.