One cancelled flight and 16hrs in Marseille

So, we have to set the scene for this little adventure. We had been in Monaco for the day seeing how the ‘other half live’, gasping in awe at the sky-rise covered mountains and walking around the Monaco Grand Prix track pretending we had enough money to even buy a Coke there. We were congratulating ourselves on the train for dragging ourselves away soon enough to make it back to Nice in time to grab our bags and run to the airport for our flight back to London.

However, this is when we checked our phone and our blood ran cold; ‘We apologise, FR1875 on 31-05-2018 has been cancelled’. Now, we’ve experience cancelled flights beforehand and it has resulted in overnight airport napping and living on the extremely pricey baguettes which have about half a tomato in them. We were gutted to say the least. After trying to re-arrange the flight on the train whilst zooming in and out of some of the most stunning coast line mountains to no avail we concluded our only option was to get our bags and head to the airport to see what they suggested.

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We ran to our hotel from the station and hop-footed it in an Uber to the airport. When we arrived we realised one, there was no desk for the airline we booked with, and two, our French is awful – if only we’d paid more attention in our French GCSE classes!

Finally, we found the desk of another airline who had been roped into helping all the passengers on our cancelled flight, along with all the other flights which had been cancelled back to London that day due to bad weather – our dad said it was only a light drizzle but if BA cancelled their flights as well you know it’s serious.

Problem number three, the next flight back to London with our airline was five days later and they had no hotels to put us up in or way of funding our living expenses while we wait. All other flights with other airlines had sold like hotcakes, so our options were limited to say the least. Some people had now decided to drive back to England, a gruelling 12-hour drive to Calais, a boat across the Channel and then another three hours back to London. This seemed like our best option and we befriended a dreamy family of four to plan our ‘once in a life time’ road trip… if only!

Then bingo! What if we headed to another part of France and flew from there – if there were flights of course. We were brainstorming Paris, Lyon and pretty much every other major city when our limited geography knowledge kicked in, Marseille. When we checked there were flights the next day – BOOM! Due to all the flights selling so speedily we booked then and there. Then the next issue – how do we actually get to Marseille?! Train was a no go but lucky us, we could get a three-hour coach there. When in Rome hey!

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It was leaving in half an hour and we had to make it to the main terminal to catch it. This was the epitome of our Home Alone experience and we bolted. We always see other people running through the airport like headless chickens and arrogantly comment ‘how can you be so late for a flight’ or ‘gosh how unorganised are they’. However, this is our time to apologies. It was unbelievably stressful and we promise never to make those remarks again because it may not be that person fault, like this was not ours.

Eventually, we were on the bus and with the last few hours behind us we were slowly coming around to the realisation that we had another day in France AND we were going to be able to explore another city which we hadn’t even planned! Coming to the conclusion that not all cancelled flights need to be a downer, right? We watched the sunset as the coach drove to Marseille and we have to admit we were very excited.

Twenty minutes out of Marseille; hold your horses… where were we going to sleep? We’re the sort of people who spend hours picking hotels and normally the day we book the flights so all the ‘good ones’ don’t go. This time we had twenty minutes. We did a quick booking.com search and picked one that looked half decent and was in the centre of town by the port.

Arriving in Marseille bus station after having been in the most beautiful coast towns for the last three days was slightly jarring. We hadn’t given any thought to it being a huge city. However, things always look better in the day so we swiftly jumped into a taxi and went to our hotel.

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Now, this is why you shouldn’t book a hotel twenty minutes before you arrive. We’re not snobs, we’ve stayed in some pretty undesirable places in South East Asia and India, but we were hoping for a little more from France. The advertised ‘air-con’ was a fan at the end of a bed and the room was so small you couldn’t swing a bikini. But, there was a shower and a pillow so at this moment in time, after a tricky few hours, that would do.

We woke up the next day and all our troubles were behind us. The sun was shining, it was 25 degrees and we were in a new, exciting city. Thanks to the help of all our amazing Twitter and Instagram followers we already had a full day’s itinerary too! We headed out of the hotel and wandered down to the port. It was the biggest port we had seen our entire trip and although it didn’t have the mega-super yachts of Cannes or Monaco it had traditional wooden sailing boats which were ornate and simply beautiful.

After grabbing a quick breakfast due to limited Marseille exploring time we headed to the Notre Dame De La Garde which we had been told had some of the best views of Marseille. The people of social media were not wrong. After a pretty intense up hill walk with the sun beating down on us (you can get a bus from the port but we wanted to see as much of the city as possible) we arrived and it was breathtaking. You could actually see for miles and the Notre Dame De La Garde itself wasn’t too bad either.

The Notre Dame De La Garde has the most stunning ceiling covered in detailed paintings and quirky boats hanging down in all the corners. It was like no other church we had seen before. The people of Marseille had completely put their own individual stamp on it and we loved it.

Unfortunately, our time in Marseille was nearly up so we wandered back down towards the port nipping into little squares and a couple of boutique shops along the way wishing that we had more time to explore this city. When we were at the top of the Notre Dame De La Garde we saw the steeples and domes of other seemingly incredible church which we were longing to see close up and a maze of allies we wanted to explore. But, we ran back to the hotel and grabbed our bags – we weren’t missing another flight.

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We didn’t have long in Marseille but luckily for us the gods dealt us a hand where we got to explore it for a morning. Having a flight cancelled is one of the most stressful things you can go through especially when there is no point of contact to support you through. However, we’re now back in London, in the comfort of our own beds and it was a little adventure we’re pretty chuffed took place.

Till next time Marseille.

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