Urban Hike

There are some days you wake up with that feeling, an itch in your legs that urges you out.  I grew up in some wild areas so there were abundant green patches or mountains available and close by; over the years habits form, but scenery changes and Sunday I found myself with that itch, in the midst of my urban jungle.  I knew where I wanted to go. Norte Dame de la Garde is perhaps the highest point of all Marseille, with a 360 degree view of the whole city; it dwarfs even the tallest of the city's few skyscrapers. The sea is to the south and the mountains rise up on all sides, so that the city sits in a little basin, its urban sprawl halted at the base of these rising mountains.

As I departed from the Vallon des Auffes next to the sea, I knew I had a climb ahead but I couldn't tell exactly which of the winding side streets would take me to the destination. I climbed and climbed, to come to a descending staircase with ivy growing from the roofs of surrounding houses and courtyards. These neighborhoods are so close, yet entirely new to me. Finally over a little wall, the church reappeared and I found the staircase that led straight to the summit. From the top, I had a seagulls-eye view of the whole city, spreading out around me on all sides.