Saturday, July 25, 2015

Toulon, France

After we got on the ship, we were directed to the buffet to have some lunch and wait till our stateroom was ready. We got some food and grabbed a table that had a napkin and a fork on it, but we assumed that someone had left and it just hadn't been cleaned off yet.  As we were sitting down, a guy approached and we realized he'd been sitting there and was returning with more food.  We apologized and started to leave but he said no, why didn't we join him?  His name was Palle, from Denmark, traveling alone and liked meeting new people, so we stayed.  His English was great (he said most Danes speak English) and we enjoyed chatting with him.  He was traveling as far as Copenhagen, where he'd get off to go home.  He said he'd cruised on Costa several times and always had a nice time.  Yay, our first friend on the trip!

Not too much later, our cabin was ready and we went to check it out. It was nice, fairly roomy and about comparable to what we've had on Celebrity, so no complaints there. Well, the only thing was that someone had stuck a wad of chewing gum in the peephole in the door and apparently no one noticed it to clean it out.  :)

We went to a meeting of English speakers with the "English speaking host," Jon, from the UK.  He basically just explained how things worked on the cruise, talked a little bit about shore excursions and said we could let him know if we had any questions or issues.  There were not very many people at the meeting so we weren't sure how many English speakers were on board, but no big deal!

That night we went to dinner and found we were assigned a table with two other American couples. At first I had mixed feelings--it would certainly make conversation easier, but it also took away our opportunity to meet people from other countries and maybe make some other friends!  I guess I will give these couples aliases--let's call the first couple Doug and Barb--nice enough, though more conservative than us (go figure), from NY originally but now living in the south, retired.  The second couple I'll call Vinnie and Suzie, originally from Chicago, now in California; he's still working.  We had been chatting with Doug and Barb when Vinnie and Suzie came in, looked at the menu, and loudly declared there was nothing on it that they could eat.  Vinnie stated that he didn't eat anything but beef, no veggies, no fish, etc.  They were also annoyed that we had to pay for water or drinks at dinner (which I thought was a little ridiculous myself but I wasn't about to make a big deal of it.)  They got up in a huff and went off to find the buffet. In my head, I was thinking, "Uh-oh, no buffet!" This is one thing we'd heard in advance about Costa--no buffet at night so you either have to hoard food in your room, skip dinner, or go to their little pizza restaurant and pay for a pizza, salad and dessert dinner.  Or go to one of the specialty restaurants that are more pricy.  After a bit, the two came storming back into the dining room, very upset that there was no buffet.  They called over the Maitre' D and insisted that he find them something they could eat. They demanded steaks and French fries, and the poor guy complied. They then sat there gloating as they ate their special meal. Oh, yeah, they also brought back some ice water with them and poured some powdered tea into it.  SO we were off to a great start with our table mates, don't  you think??  Rich and I were appalled at their behavior and embarrassed for them and for even being seen at the same table with them.  And their attitude continued about EVERYTHING else.  Actually the woman was fairly quiet but the guy bloviated on and on about any topic. I wish I could remember all of the outrageous things he told us he'd done in  his life.  He was SO full of himself, and really did not give a *$%& about what anyone else thought. We should have requested a table change right then and there but we did not.

But on to more pleasant things!  Our first stop was Toulon, France.  We did not sign up for a tour because we like to wander around on our own, so we took a shuttle bus from the ship to a drop off point in town.  It was a little chilly but we enjoyed walking along the strand by the water for awhile and then stopped for a nice little lunch.

 We then found the largest, liveliest, most beautiful outdoor market we've ever seen!  The interesting people! The gorgeous fruits and vegetables!  The fish! The cheese! The flowers!  We were in heaven!

 Too bad we were not allowed to take any of this goodness back onto the ship, except for a couple of sealed jars.  After saying "buon giorno" for a week, I had to remind myself it's "bonjour" in French.  :)  The market was one of our favorite things on the trip.  I could just imagine stopping by to browse and pick up everything we needed for dinner if we lived here.

1 comment:

Suzassippi said...

That is so beautiful! I love markets, too, and it was one of the things I enjoyed about South Africa--walking to the market and purchasing just enough for the evening meal every day!