Some friends and I took a daytrip to Marseille to see the legendary Chateaux DíIf (where the Count of Monte Cristo would have been imprisoned, had he been a real person). It was a pleasant ferry ride out to the island. We enjoyed the tour of the prison cells and ate lunch overlooking the sea. We were ready to go after literally seeing everything the island had to offer. We discovered that, although the island is no longer a prison, it is still very difficult to leave.
As we walked toward the ferry dock I noticed several men in Speedos or wetsuits, stretching and chatting animatedly in rapid French. As we rounded the corner we saw over 100 men and women. After several conversations in broken French, Darren figured out that the island was a departure point for a 5k race. Our ferry couldnít dock until the swimmers left. There wasnít much left to do but make friends with some swimmers.
We chatted with some of the athletes as best we could for half an hour. We could see our ferry circling in the distance. Finally the race began. We cheered for our new friends, and cheered again for the ferry operator when he lowered the ramp. We didnít get to see a lot of Marseille that day, but we have great pictures of a sea of swim-caped swimmers, and in their midst, a half-dozen bewildered American students.
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