We planned to give ourselves a slow first day. Aix-en Provence was what the Cruise called this stop but what they fail to mention is that the port and listed destination are often times quite a distance from each other. I did a lot of research on all of our destinations and while Provence is supposed to be a great place to see old time France there was nothing that I felt I HAD to see there so we planned to spend our time exploring the port town of Toulon.
When we got off the ship we took a 30 minute walk toward town only to happen upon a bus stop that told us that we were not exactly in Toulon, we had to catch a bus there. Thanks to a very nice French man we found which bus and were on our way to Toulon.
Once we were where we wanted to be we set off to find Mount Faron. Through my research I found that there was a tram car that would take you to the top of this mountain that had a zoo and offered great views. We found a lot of signs but as we walked and walked we didn’t seem to be making any progress.
We stopped a few people and asked for some help but this was not a big tourist town and we didn’t encounter anyone who spoke a lick of English, needless to say it was a little confusing and comical. We walked and walked and walked some more . . . (did I tell you that I had the brilliant idea to bring brand new flip flops on our trip and then wore them on my Barcelona trek up and over and down the bridge to the ship only to score some great blisters?) Well yes its true so walking up and up and up the mountain looking for the tram was not exactly fun but we were determined. After an hour or so of walking we finally found the tram. We bought our tickets and crammed into the tram car with some other people from our ship that had the fantastic idea to catch a taxi up the mountain. Once we started up the mountain I knew it was worth our trek. The view was breath taking and as we continue to go up the views just got better. Getting off the tram we just took a while to take it all in. The view of the port was amazing. Then the view of the village on the other side of the mountain was just as beautiful. The raw natural beauty of the land was over whelming. We wandered around and took a ton of pictures before making our way to the tram to go back down the mountain.
W e got on the tram with another group from our ship only to hear that they took a ferry from the port into Toulon and paid half of what we did for an all inclusive ticket for the ferry that included unlimited bus rides AND the cost of the tram. *sigh* Oh well - I had planned the cost of it all and we were prepared but the bargain hunter in me hates when I find out I missed a deal!
The walk down the mountain was much more enjoyable. We stopped along the way at a food stand and split an amazing panini. We saw one being made and ordered one of the same - it was similar to a hamburger French fries and chick fil a sauce sandwich. I also ordered a tart. I’ll give France major points as their food was great.
We took our time meandering around Toulon the rest of the afternoon before catching the Ferry back to the ship. After all that walking we didn’t feel guilty for gorging on all the amazing food offered on the cruise! We even had a little friend waiting for us when we went to bed.