It has been a sunny winter for most of the past weeks in Marseille. Fresh air and natural scenery keep you sane. I wished this could be for everyone. The cremation ceremony of my late brother in law, Paul, which partly had been organised by himself, before his euthanasia, brought me briefly to the Netherlands. Also the coffin he had chosen. It was made of eco-friendly materials. That was him.
Three trains, Marseille – Paris, Paris – Rotterdam, and then to Dordrecht. This was four days before the new year and the trains were full. If you are not familiar with the stations in Paris, they are huge. I had to go from the Paris south station to the Paris north station by an underground train. I had to ask which train and which platform exactly. Parisians were very helpful. It took me from five in the morning to five in the afternoon to arrive in Dordrecht.
The city of Dordrecht sits on an island rich in canals, ditches and trees. The cremation ceremony was perfectly organised, with deeply touching speeches and moving music. Especially in this time of the pandemic, it was a relief to see and speak with family again. As there was a national lockdown which made visiting people more of a challenge, for everyone, I did not stay for the new year.
One afternoon, I got a call from photography friend, Faty, if I wanted to go to Les Goudes, an outer corner of Marseille, to take photos. Of course I did. With her car we drove along familiar sites until we reached Callelongue, a tiny fisher’s village with great views over the Riou archipelago. She works in clinical services and had been visiting, dressed in protective gear, covid patients at their homes. After that, she was ready to see the seaside and breathe pure air.
I mostly carry a camera when visiting Vieux Port and Saint Jean Fort as there’s always much going on. It’s an area of the city where people feel well, for good reasons – the atmosphere of the sea in an enticing historical setting. It’s the true character of Marseille. Ferry boats are operating again but mostly it is private sailing boats on one-day sailing adventures along the coast.
Night temperatures here hardly touch 1° Celsius whereas during the day it is around 12° C, giving you the feeling of winter while the sun shines. Pleasant. In other parts of the country it has been different, with extreme rainfall causing destructive flooding. Governments cannot escape reorganising their industries and redesigning infrastructures in order to prevent the climate crisis from getting worse. Another year of challenges, yet with more awareness and determination, I wish to think.
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