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After traveling for over 30 hours, with a long layover in Atlanta and a short one in Amsterdam, we made it back to Vienna for a 1.5-day stopover, before I headed out on a 15-hour train ride to Marseille. This was some pretty intense travelling, but now I am all settled in Marseille, although I have to admit I sometimes forget where I am. Guess that’s a side effect of moving from city to city.

We got a nice duplex apartment in Le Panier, a cute quartier of Marseille. Our knives here are actually able to cut stuff. In Santiago the knives in the apartment were totally blunt. The apartments we lived in so far vary in their stock of spices, cutlery, glasses, cleaning supplies, etc. We noticed that we both miss tall drinking glasses a lot, which we haven’t had anywhere so far, but we have found a solution for that, which I will get to later. In the meantime, we bought a peeler, which we will take from place to place along with some basic small kitchen items like Tabasco sauce, tea and so on. I was able to make up my mind and finally will get rid of some more sweaters and T-shirts, which I hardly wear anyway, to provide space for those new acquisitions.

Marseille is a lovely city, and I guess, for a French city, a little bit rough around the edges, but people feel authentic here and are very friendly. Since Esperanto isn’t making it as a lingua franca, my first go-to language in a non-German speaking country is always English. I hardly speak or understand any French, but have had no problems to communicate. Not everyone speaks English, but most at least try to, once they notice that my French is not going far or when I address them in English. Of course, I throw in some Spanish too by mistake since I am still keeping up with my Duolingo sessions, having a streak of 46 days now.

Le Panier is situated on a hill with tiny streets winding through it that make me get lost all the time. There is a lot of street art to see and therefore I don’t mind if I don’t always go the fastest way home. Our apartment is also very close to the old port and the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, which we haven’t seen yet from the inside, but from where we got to see some beautiful sunsets over the sea.

Marseille was founded around 600 B.C. by Greek settlers, which puts me in awe about how old the European culture is. At the same time, it makes me wonder if humans will ever be able to live peacefully, since we haven’t accomplished that in all those years. Our stay here is of course also overshadowed by the war in Ukraine. It’s heartbreaking to see all the suffering caused by one maniac in Russia.

On a positive note, covid restrictions in France have been relaxed and we were able to go to our first non-classical concert since the start of the pandemic, our last one being Courtney Barnett in fall 2019! We love going to concerts and this felt like a long musical drought. I almost forgot how much fun it is and what is hopefully the start to the end of the pandemic and more concerts couldn’t have taken off in a better way. Skating Polly from Oklahoma and the local band Salvation did an awesome job in re-initiating us into the concert world. On top of that we got some beer cups from Le Molotov, the concert venue, which will serve as a memory and as our missing tall glasses from now on.

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