Saturday, July 11, 2009
TOULON - Observations and generalisations
For the next week we are going to be on or near the Med with our first stop being Toulon for two nights. Toulon, on the coast between Marseille (50 km) and Saint Tropez (50 km), is a much bigger place than I had anticipated - population 180,000 which in NZ would make it our fourth largest city. Much much bigger eg than either Dunedin or Hamilton.
It is the home of the French Mediterranean fleet and boasts thousands of yachts and an impressive array of super yachts down at the harbour. We are staying in the old part of the city, totally pedestrianised (very civilised) about a 5 minute stroll from the harbour. Cafes and bars abound along with the occasional restaurant along with clothing and shoe stores (all having July sales).
Toulon is a major rugby centre and the RCT (Rugby Club of Toulon) emblem is found in many shop windows. We have also seen the official RCT store selling all the gear from playing strip to blazers, boots, caps and scarves.
There is an impressive large opera house here on Place Victor Hugo with a varied repertoire promised for later in the year and into 2010.
Much less English is spoken here than in Paris so my schoolboy French has been severely tested .Being on the Mediterranean the people seem browner, there are quite a number of North Africans, and a small but noticeable Muslim population.
Temperature range the two days we have been here - 28 daytime max 18 overnight min.withut humidity - very agreeable.
Rose has been my drink of choice, some of them so exquisitely pale you can only just see the pink - best one so far - Chateaux Roubine Cru Classe 2008 - NZ$22 - a bargain.