What do you do when you want to escape the Carnival season and the winter weather in the Netherlands? You visit your brother, in law, who lives in Marseille. My sister Petra and her husband Hans Kohnen visited me in the last week of February, and I was happy to show them around on my new turf. It was sunny indeed when they arrived and during most of their planned week here. They stayed in an Airbnb acquired studio in walking distance from the coast. We noticed people already swimming in the sea in this month of the year.
Besides the must-visit to the Calanques, it was easy to produce an itinerary, knowing they have a deep connection with culture, art, and nature, she being a painter, an Indian folk and Spanish Flamenco dancer, and Reiki teacher; he being a sculptor working with wood and natural stone and occasionally with ice, the program included specific cultural parts of the city as well as museums. At MuCEM there was the exhibition on: Après Babel, traduire, After Babel, translate that we visited, plus the permanent Gallery on the origins of the Mediterranean civilisation.
Fortunately, they were also curious about Cassis. The town should not be excluded as it gives a full day of enjoyment – a comfortable bus ride in a scenic setting along the Mediterranean coast and walking around in town and to its outskirts of Calanque Port Miou, is all about colorful natural splendor which inspired Petra and Hans deeply as artists and nature lovers.
On a rainy day, yes rainy, we visited MAC in Marseille. No, not the fast-food chain but Musée d’Art Contemporain which has a permanent collection of art from the 60s upto the 90s. After MAC, we took the city tram to Palais Longchamp that dates to 1869 and contains two museums while its former Zoological Garden has been transformed into Le Funny Zoo.
We did much more in and around Marseille, including cooking dinner every evening at my place. At the end of their winter escape, they both said that they had not realised Marseille was so beautiful and diverse, having a touch of Paris but located in the warm climate of the Côte d’Azur. Also the morning of their flight back was sun-kissed.
Throughout their stay here, Hans was regularly updated by his sister with news on the condition of his mother who had been hospitalised just before they left. One week after their return to the Netherlands, his mother died peacefully in her home with all direct family present. This vignette is dedicated to her: Rita Kohnen.