Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blue Coast Logistics

The Blue Coast train is a hop-on-hop-off day line between Marseille and Miramas in the north. By car, it's probably less that an hour. But the train rides along the coast till La Courenne and then go inland, leaving the beautiful blue coast behind. You can buy the pass for 15 euros per person and get on and off the train as many times as you want in that one day. (Both photos taken from here.)

The train starts from St. Charles de Gaulle in Marseille at regular intervals during the entire week. The schedule changes only slightly during the weekend. Make sure to check before you make a trip. We had planned this day trip for the Sunday before last. But we missed the one at 10.30 and the next one was only at 2.30 PM.

This time we were better prepared and took the 8:30 AM train out of Marseille. Initially, we'd thought we'd get off at Martigues. But a closer look at the timetable told us that the train left Miramas only 20 minutes after it reached there. So we decided to go all the way up and see what's good and what's not along the way and then decide what to do.

On the way back, we got off at Martigues, the 'Venice of Provence.' (We'll let others decide whether or not this actually stands true!) When we reached Martigues, we thought that was it. However, the main hub is quite far from the gare. The timetable on the bus stop right outside told us that the next bus to anywhere was a hour later. So we walked in the direction that seemed right, walked into a shop, asked for directions and took the long walk back along a highway into town. Fortunately, we met someone who was more specific with how 'far' town was and this time we were able to get a bus.

We knew that the next train out of Martigues was at 2.30 PM. So after spending some time walking around town, we took the bus back, got on the train and headed to Carry-le-Rouet to spend the rest of the day at the beach.

Some things I realized:
  • Make sure to carry food and water with you. It's less expensive and you can munch as and when you want to.
  • Very rarely will you find yourself without a timetable to refer to, especially when you are relying on public transport in Europe. Make sure to refer to timetables and ask for assistance. If you know how to read one, you are pretty much ready to go!
  • Be ready to adjust along the way, alter your plan and walk a lot. It can be fun and you'll learn a lot more.

Happy travels!

(Make sure to check out our personal photos of Martigues here!)

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