July 22, 09
This whole week there is an FIVB event in Marseille. It is a 2 hr train ride from Cannes so we decided to make a day trip to watch some matches.
5:30am – Wake up to be able to catch the train and make the most of our day.
6:30am – Train ride. On the train we came across many backpackers making their way to the next destination. It was a relatively smooth train ride and we were able to catch up on some sleep.
8:30 am – We arrived in Marseille in time for the morning work traffic.
It is a much bigger city with more people so you can imagine the traffic. To reach the beach courts we learned how to take the metro (subway) and the bus to our destination. We got there just to find out that games will not start till much later. There were a couple of teams practicing so we stuck around to watch.
Soon after we sat down to watch the craziest thing happened. The wind started to pick up, the clouds got darker and it looked like there was going to be a huge storm. We wanted to stay and tough it out like the teams practicing but we couldn’t even see past the sand that was being thrown around by the wind.
We decided to retreat into a cafeteria across the street and when we looked outside it seriously looked like a hurricane. The trees looked like they were going to be uprooted, there was a huge haze over the courts from the sand and there was equipment flying everywhere. The tournament was postponed to the afternoon.
We were really disappointed as we wanted to see some games but took this opportunity to visit the city centre. There is such diversity in Marseille it’s amazing. It is really interesting how cities in France differ from each other. They each possess a unique and special quality, which probably is related to their geography. The people of Marseille are very nice and even have a slightly different French accent.
After touring the city for a couple of hours we headed back to the beach courts. It seemed the wind only affected the waterfront. Games still had not started and there was another postponement. The wind was so strong that the players were at risk of getting hurt, especially on Centre Court where it is encased by metal and pieces of equipment were still flying around.
We had lunch and waited until we could no longer wait. The wind was not letting up and even though we heard they were going to start playing anyway on the other courts, we would only be able to watch half a game before having to leave.
We came to see some matches but left without seeing anything. Even so, watching the practices was helpful. It was good to see how the players were able to adapt to such extreme conditions and still play with a certain level of control beyond our capabilities at this moment.
We were able to salvage the day by attending an unplanned practice in the early evening. I guess we were inspired in Marseille that today we actually felt like our play is starting to come together.