Admittedly, I was a little cocky when I decided to do a half-day hike through the Calanques. I became THAT dumb tourist that got lost but thankfully was able to figure things out before ending up on the news.
With no map I headed towards the first summit I saw near Luminy. I was in awe of the natural surroundings and noticed colorful little markings on some sporadic rocks and thought "Hmm the graffiti is even in the national parks. These symbols can't possibly be important. The only directions I need to know are up and down."
I got hungry around noon and wished I had packed a lunch so I decided to head back down. I encountered very few other people and was all like "Sweet! I have the whole park to myself!"
My half-a-day hike evolved into a 7 hour ordeal because I got thoroughly lost. I wandered for a while before I met a French couple with a map. I asked about Luminy and he told me in English I was quite far away and showed me the RED trail around Mount Puget to get back.
Turns out I should have actually paid attention to those colorful little symbols after all. So there was some up and some down and some climbing up through rock crevices and then a lot more up.
Eventually I found a rock designating the summit of Mount Puget so I was sorta going in the right direction. I took advantage of the view, but could no longer see the city. It was here that I realized I should have taken pictures of that guy's map with my phone. Facepalm.
I then spotted a path several meters below me that looked like it went where I needed to go. I started climbing down a cliff face that looked safe until I got half way and then it wasn't anymore so I went back up and followed some symbols that guided me down a different cliff face.
This is where I met a small, fit, middle-aged woman who was climbing up the same path I was climbing down. She noticed my vibrams and asked in English if I climbed and I replied "Not intentionally… but I am now because I'm lost."
Her name is Christin and she is from Geneva and she has a daughter my age but most importantly, she has a map. Oh, how I love the Swiss! (And not just because my sister is married to one.)
Christin offered me her phone number and to join her and her sister and to drive me back to Luminy once we reached the car park.
The map, which I took pictures of this time, indicated there was a bus that stopped at the car park. I didn't want to be a burden so I thanked her profusely and intentionally followed the red trail she recommended towards Col de la Gineste.
I made one last wrong turn before getting back on track and finally arrived at the car park around 17:00 to wait for the bus. Impatiently, I contemplated hitchhiking just a little ways until I found another bus stop.
Thirty minutes later, my Swiss Angel appeared again. This time I gladly accepted a ride. She dropped me at a stop for Bus 21 that would take me back to the city and then they drove back toward Cassis.
I was happy to pay Christin's kindness forward at the Metro station and gave a kid a Euro who was just short of ticket fare.
Moral of the story: A map is always a good idea.