Initially, we had a trip to South Africa planned for this spring, which we were very excited about – firstly because good friends of ours will get married in the Western Cap area on our 6th wedding anniversary in April and secondly because we both have never been to Southern Africa at all.
As you all know by now, this trip will not happen (at this point of time) as no airline will transport me in my final weeks of pregnancy. We still felt like going on a trip before our little one arrives so we were looking for alternatives. We decided not to go too far and keep it flexible in case we had to change our plans last minute. As we both love to eat well and don’t mind the odd glass of wine (okay I skip that for the time being) we chose to go on a road trip to France and Italy.
We ended up driving 2040 kilometers in total. Below our itinerary and what we especially enjoyed at each place 🙂
The post got very long, so we decided to split it in two. So here we go with part 1 (you might wanna grab a coffee or a beer, sit back and enjoy):
Day 1: Fällanden (Switzerland) – Ottrott (France)
We left home and headed towards the Alsace region in France. The weather wasn’t that great, which didn’t bother us too much as we booked a night in the Hostellerie des Châteaux & Spa to celebrate my birthday. With the weather not being that great, we did not feel guilty not to leave the hotel and explore the spa, enjoy our spacious room and later indulge in a five courses dinner.
The time seems to stand still in this hotel; the rooms and interior make you feel like at your grandma’s.
We especially enjoyed the dinner. The food was lovely and the staff very accommodating also with my special requests for some changes in the menu.
Day 2: Ottrott (France) – Lyon (France)
After breakfast we hit the road and made our way towards Lyon, the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region and France’s third largest city. The way was not spectacular, we mainly followed the highway and didn’t end up seeing that much.
The city of Lyon is known for its historical and architectural landmarks (which brought it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1998), the local football team Olympique Lyonnais and its gastronomy.
We went for a walk in the Parc de la Tête d’Or (literally the Golden Head Park), the largest urban park in France and reached the center. It was difficult to decide where to go for dinner as there were so many options. We finally ended up in a brasserie where we had an aperitif and got caught up chatting. It got late before we returned to the hotel.
Day 3: Lyon (France) – Marseille (France)
From the third largest city in France we drove towards the second largest one, situated at the Mediterranean Sea – Marseille. We were excited to be at the sea again – ever since we worked on ships it holds a special place in our hearts.
It was a windy, chilly day but we still decided to leave our cozy, serviced apartment to feel the sea breeze in our hair.
Along the sea we passed the majestic Cathédrale de la Major, the MuCEM (Musée des Civilsations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée) and the Old Port. The light and atmosphere was perfect for some sunset pictures.
We were fascinated by the Le Panier quarter, which is splendidly situated on a hillside above the Vieux Port. The colorful neighborhood is Marseille’s oldest quarter, the historic center and cultural heart of Marseille. With its steep, narrow winding streets and quaint pastel buildings, this quarter offers a glimpse into the charming personality of Marseilles.
We felt very safe besides Marseille’s reputation for being a hotbed of crime. As in any big city, you have to be conscious about your environment and follow basic travel “rules”.
Day 4: Marseille (France)
For breakfast, we indulged in a “pain au chocolat” and some coffee before we set off to further explore the city. We passed once more the Old Port from where we could spot our first destination – the majestic basilica Notre Dame de la Garde up the hill. We decided to walk up in order to stroll through some of the neighborhoods and enjoy the view. It was well worth it!
The weather and the view were perfect, we enjoyed the sun and looking at the sea. A ferry passed by the small Frioul and the If castle which lie just off Marseille’s coast. The idea crossed our mind to take a boat ride to the islands in the afternoon. We slowly made our way down to the harbor just to find out that they don’t transport pregnant woman over seven months. Well, we instead treated ourselves to a crêpes, did some people watching and had a good time.
During a shopping stint, we excitedly choose baby P’s first outfits – thanks God we don’t know the gender, it made it easier not to go completely crazy. Later we went on a dinner date, the restaurant “Hippopotamus” was overlooking the sea and we enjoyed the togetherness and the lovely food. The French really know how to cook!
Part 2 will follow next week – there we really gonna talk about how we ended up having three meals in three different countries in one day! Promised!