Author: Anne Donnelly

Hiking in Marseille’s calanques: part 1

Stretching along the coast from Marseille to Cassis is one of France’s most unique national parks: the Parc National des Calanques. Whether by sea or by land, the calanques are a must-visit if you have more than one or two days in Marseille. After two years here, I have explored many of the popular hiking trails through the calanques (though I’ve yet to visit them by sea… a huge dream of mine!). But despite my repeated visits, walking through the jagged, rocky paths of the looming limestone cliffs never ceases to be anything less than sublime. Here I’ve detailed several classic hikes that I’ve taken, all accessed by public transportation, thus ideal for tourists or non-driving people like me ! Be forewarned: not all of these hikes for the faint of heart… some of the trails are rocky, uneven, and have intense altitude changes, so be sure to take the proper precautions – water, decent shoes, more water, sunscreen. But if you are up for the challenge, pack a picnic and a swimsuit, and lace …

How about an update

Hey there gang ! So I managed to participate in a full TWO days of the March Slice of Life Challenge, and haven’t found much inspiration to write since… Not because I haven’t been doing inspiring things – au contraire ! I guess I just haven’t been motivated to put them down in writing. Anyways, lots has happened since I last wrote and I hope I’ll soon find the motivation to tell you about some of them. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few general updates and photos to flex that writing muscle again! Since March, I went to Athens with my best friend, my parents came to visit me in Marseille and Paris, I finished my 3rd (and probably final) teaching contract with TAPIF, I applied to three French university Masters in teaching and have been accepted to at least one of them, and have been generally enjoying my drastically reduced work hours in the gorgeous landscapes of Marseille 🙂 So now, on to some… Recent Highs & Lows Highs of …

Those who can, teach

There’s a pervasive notion, especially among expat communities that I’ve noticed, and that has been getting under my skin more and more recently. The idea is treating teaching English as a side hustle, something you do to support your lifestyle abroad even if it’s not something you actually care about or even like. This is a concept I have heard repeated in TAPIF or Expat groups, by bloggers, even by some of my own friends, and it’s something that, especially recently, makes my blood boil ! I have seen countless assistants arrive in France with absolutely no desire to teach, coasting along through their placements with the bare minimum effort and spending the rest of their time planning their vacations to every corner of Europe. Now, I will admit this is okay for a language assistant. It’s a short commitment and it’s designed to be a mobility program : they expect you to take advantage of being in Europe! If you don’t take the job seriously…. tant pis. It’s not like you really have any …

Sun sun go away

It’s official. The French weather authorities crunched the numbers and determined that Marseille was the sunniest city in France in 2017. Our 3,110 hours of sunlight beat out Nice (3,047) and Corsica (3,036 in Solenzara). So a weird thing about living in Marseille is that I am constantly complaining about how much sun there is, especially in the winter. I am 100% here for sunny, warm days you can spend lounging on the beach or drinking rosé on a sunny terrasse. But when it’s cold and sunny, you sit inside all day wishing you could be outside, but knowing you won’t last more than a half hour at most before giving up in favor of warm toes. And when that freezing Mistral blows, no amount of sunlight can make me go outside. This is where I really see the value of lousy weather. Isn’t it sublime to curl up on the couch while rain lashes the windows and you take a sip of warm tea? Is there any excuse better than a massive thunderstorm to …

Wandering feet Wandering mind

I’m on day 3 of 10 days of traveling during school vacation and I’ve already walked 30+ miles in dirty keds and two pairs of socks. My toes feel permanently cramped, and I’m having sense memories of my high school era shin splints. But if you must walk an average of 15 miles a day, Rome is not a bad place to do it ! I spent a regrettably short amount of time in the Eternal City and the only things on my itinerary for the roughly 36 hours were to see some famous monuments and eat as much as possible. Mission Accomplished! What I love about traveling alone is that I’m not beholden to anyone as I plan my day. Want to walk 25 minutes out of the way to eat at a certain sandwich place someone recommended? Let’s do it. Feel like going back to that cute café even though you spent two hours reading there yesterday? Nothing stopping you. Make it up as you go along and suddenly your pedometer reads 38,000 …

Christmas Tag!

Happy Holidays everyone!! 🎄🎄 I was nominated by Bola and Kenny for the Christmas Tag, a fun survey of holiday related questions and answers. It’s been fun to read about everyone’s different traditions 🙂 I’m currently on a bus to Nice to catch a flight to Prague, a nice alternative to distract myself from the fact that I won’t be seeing my family for the second Christmas in a row. What Is Your Favourite Christmas Film? It would have to be a toss up between White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby and the gorgeous Vera Ellen dance numbers. And I have been such a huge Jimmy Stewart fan ever since my mom and I marathoned all the Alfred Hitchcock films back when Hollywood Video still existed. I introduced It’s a Wonderful Life to my French roommate a few weeks ago, and gosh darn if the ending doesn’t make me cry every single time! She was also very touched by the film and said …

Remember me??

Helloooo again! Me voilà! I’ve been back in Marseille for exactly 2 months (as of yesterday), and have like 6 blog posts on my back burner, but can’t seem to get any of them finished. So I’m putting out this little snapshot update, in the hopes that it will jumpstart my blogging again! Lots has happened in the past 2 months, but also not much has happened at all… I found a new (French!) roommate, I met new assistants, I caught up with old friends and colleagues, I started back at school and then immediately went on two weeks of vacation, I went to a concert, I bought theatre tickets, I went hiking, I rode a city bike, I went to the beach – a lot, I started two puzzles, I drank tea and pastis and wine and lemonade, I finished one of the puzzles, I bought seven plants…. The list goes on. So here are some highlights and lowlights: Highs & Lows I’d say on the whole, these two months have been full of …