After a short sail from Sardinia, we arrived in Toulon. Excited and anxious to explore Toulon, we had to wait a full day at the dock. As the anticipation grew that night, we had the port presentation that was presented to us by the French class. Steve then explained to us all the wonderful port programs that we were going to do.
The first port program consisted of a nice walking tour of Toulon. We started the day out freezing because of all the wind. On our tour we learned about how Toulon is an old naval base. It was really interesting to see all the naval ships that were docked there. We walked along to shore to a small, secluded beach. There were about 10 students that brought their bathing suits and they decided to jump into the water. The moment they surfaced, we could tell right away that the water was freezing. We all had a lot of fun laughing and laying on the rocky shore.
While we were walking back to the boat we stopped at another beach. It had begun to warm up and so we were given options as to what we wanted to do. Some of the students stayed at the beach while others opted to explore the city of Toulon. Exploring the city was quite pleasant because we were able to scout out the restaurants and other shops that we would like to visit later on.
The next day we had our second port program. We started the day off with some more walking. We toured a different part of Toulon. It was a gorgeous little town right by the water. There were rows and rows of sailboats moored, streets filled with shops, and a market. Everyone loved the market and we all spent a lot of time buying fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. There was an amazing dried fruit stand that was also selling every type of olive imaginable.
As we continued walking, everyone was sharing what he or she bought with each other. Incredible photographs from local artists surrounded the park that we were at. We walked up a hill and at the top we visited an ancient chapel. The inside of the chapel was filled with stone plaques that had variations of thanks written in French. The tour guide told us that they were saying thanks to commemorate the soldiers.
One of the stone plaques giving thanks to soldiers.
After visiting the chapel, we had a little more free time to explore the streets and then we got back on the bus to visit a vineyard. When we first arrived, the owner explained to us the history of her vineyard, how the wine is made and the difference between wines and their grapes. We were then led to a bunch of tables that looked out on their vineyard. We were served three of their best wines; white, rosé and red. We learned the finer points of wine tasting and then explored the vineyard some more. Toulon is the largest rosé producer in the world. It’s called the Cote du Provence region, famous for its lavender. After our tasting, the vineyard looked picturesque with the sun setting upon the vines.
Students and teachers enjoying the sunset amongst the rows of grapes. The colours of the leaves matching the orange and red hues coming from the sunset. From left to right, Amanda, Olivia, Alix, Tyson, Yoad, Ali Cem and Sebastian.
With our last free day, some of the students took the time to explore the neighbouring city of Monaco, where the scenery was much different from Toulon. In Toulon the streets were old and full of history and in Monaco we saw modern day France. The students were able to see the Formula 1 track, the largest yacht in the world and a lot of expensive cars. The students who did not got to Monaco stayed in Toulon and explored the city. This included but wasn’t exclusive to enjoying the modern photography museum, the naval museum and going up the gondola to see the sunset over the city. I think its safe to say that both groups had a wonderful day in France.
As we are all getting ready to sail again, we are also collecting Halloween costumes to wear. Our student council has decided to treat us to a Halloween party. There will be multiple activities planned including a murder mystery and a dance. The ship is turning into a Halloween extravaganza. With garlands strung up in the student mess and ghosts hanging from the ceiling. All the students are really looking forward to celebrating Halloween together and then being able to see our parents soon.
Written by: Alix Raduy, Class Afloat student 2017-2018