Roman Ruins and Gender-specific Happy Meal Toys, or a French Day Trip

After a detour back to Collioure for, of all things, a luau, we were on our way to Corsica. We had originally planned to go to the Basque country, but it turns out the Tour de France doesn’t visit Spain so instead we headed to the island. Because why bother go on vacation to Europe if you don’t get a glimpse of young to middle aged men in spandex whizzing past you up a hill? At least, that’s how Luke feels. And so we went to Corsica where I was promised lots of beach/swimming time in exchange for enduring the presence of maniacal cycling fans.

We arrived to Corsica in the most epic way, via overnight ferry. In order to get to the ferry we took an 8-hour road trip with Terry and Gina. Some highlights:

We stopped for lunch at Quick, which is basically the French version of Wendy’s. Ever economical and also not wanting to put too much of that crap into our bodies, Luke and I split a happy meal. There probably aren’t too many more pathetic sites than two grown ass people hunkered over chicken nuggets and a child-sized portion of fries but it was all worth it because the meal included gender-specific happy meal toys: two water-squirting instruments of no particular threatening shape. The girl’s toy was a ring with a little water pump on one end and the boy’s was a video game that squirted when you pressed a button. Because GIRLS like rings, and BOYS like video games, you see? Do you get it?

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After lunch we stopped in Montpellier, which can hardly constitute a “highlight”. We walked around for a bit but the mood wasn’t right, after a weekend in Barcelona, some little French attempt at a city just feels silly. There was however this:

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A building that was painted to look like another building entirely. Nothing you see there is actually what the building standing there looks like, in fact the buildings are pretty flat. Once you get over that mind fuck here’s another one:

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Roman ruins just chillin’ on the side of the road at a rest stop. Not even a proper rest stop, just a set of bathrooms and some picnic tables. There are no signs on the road for these ruins, nothing directing your attention towards them, they’re just there. What makes these ruins less impressive than others? And more importantly- thousands of years from now (just kidding I totally don’t believe humans are gonna last another century) will these roadside bathrooms become a tourist attraction? “These are the ruins of an ancient French urination station, visited by people on pilgrimages to lavender-scented bed and breakfasts in Provence”. Ah, it all just seems so trite, thank you forgotten ruins.

Eventually we arrived at the ferry terminal where we bought groceries for that night’s dinner and I panicked about getting on a giant boat.

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Luke and I are painfully thrifty people, and it’s even worse when we travel. One time we opted for seats in the luxury car on the Eurostar from London to Paris but I think that’s about the most extravagant thing we’ve ever done. On this trip we reserved some sort of “executive room” for the ferry. It was only about $10 more than a regular room anyway because Europe=socialism, but had I known we could just sleep on the deck in sleeping bags like all the rest of the young people we absolutely would have done so. The main feature of the room was that it had a shower, which I would have taken more frequent advantage of if I had realized that my next opportunity for an indoor shower wouldn’t present itself for several days. Instead we picnicked in our room and then explored the boat while getting very wasted in an obviously classy way.

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Aside from the awesome experience of being on a ship in the middle of the pitch-black ocean, this thing also featured a Nutella snack bar, which thankfully wasn’t open given our states of intoxication. Also, there was a dog park! If that’s not civilization I don’t know what is.

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