Cote d'Azur at its Best!

Trip Start Nov 24, 2010
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Trip End Jul 14, 2011


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Flag of France  , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur,
Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cote d'Azur! What do you say about the playground of the rich and famous (and the not so rich and famous) except that it does not disappoint. Here we are in an apartment (thanks to Lotte and Finn) across the street from the Mediterranean for 10 days, and fantastic weather to boot! We are ready for a break before our final month of the 'great adventure’ so what better place to do that. Not that walking and climbing up and down for many kms a day is a break, but we are not complaining, and it helps wear off some of the fabulous food we eat here. The only thing missing is our wonderful family and friends.

We arrived around 4 p.m. but had to park miles, well blocks away and carry all of our possessions and groceries, beer and wine from the car to the apt. after meeting Sylvain and getting the keys. This is something that we are constantly amazed at in France – how busy the roads are and the lack of parking, especially in some of the ancient towns. Australia, Canada, so many fewer people in a larger, modern space. Not sure if we got many pics of the countryside of France as I was too busy navigating and John too busy driving. And thousands of roundabouts. I never want to see another one again but guess we will in Calgary. So we were thrilled to rid ourselves of the car at the airport and buy our bus pass for the return to the apartment. Bus passes to travel around Nice, along the coast and to the airport are 15 euros a week so you can’t beat that too many places in the world! They have a bike program in Nice as well that we didn’t end up using as it requires a cell phone – too bad for us. In hindsight I wished we had picked up a cell phone in our travels that allows you to switch out the sim card in different countries. Anyways, we get around just fine a pied and bus.

Nice is beautiful with its long, curved beach and the coast stretches for miles both east and west from here. The town has open areas as well as narrow streets with lots of outdoor restaurants – all very cool. Markets as well but to tell the truth, after almost 7 months of travelling, markets and eating out is getting old. Still we do some but we are enjoying having the apt. and Sylvain, the charming, funny and friendly owner of Chez Sylvain, a boucherie and charcuterie downstairs and his amazing poulets cooking on the rotisserie and waiting for us when we arrive home. The weather has been great the entire time here, low 20s but often feels like high 20s.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat http://www.saintjeancapferrat.fr/forum/ and walking for kilometers along the ‘sentier littoral’ (coastal path) of the Mediterranean is our idea of a great time and has become our favourite activity here, even if we are bagged by the time we get back to the apartment. But there is always beer, wine and food waiting there to revive us.

We were on our way to Eze but weren’t sure how to get there so we ended up in Monaco instead. Good to see but definitely not our thing as way too overbuilt and congested and a bit claustrophobic for me. They were dismantling from the Grand Prix so that was kind of cool to visualize. We have better directions now for Eze so will go over the next couple of days.

The number 82 bus from Nice took us right to Eze, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%88ze http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/alpmarit/eze/eze.htm a beautiful old town situated high on a hill which is sitting high on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Again, why do I keep finding myself on the edge of cliffs when I don’t particularly find it pleasing – but I must say I think I am adapting more each time. Touristy (but that’s what we are) we climbed up the narrow streets admiring the old walls and the incredibly beautiful art and clothing in the shops (well, I did). We walked down the Nietzsche path after, 45 minutes down to the coast or an hour plus up, sat on the beach for a while and then caught a bus back to Nice.

Another lovely place we visited and walked for many kms was Juan les pins Antibes. Similar in many ways to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat but without the treat for us commoners of a sentier littoral, where we have the path to ourselves and don’t have to share it with autos. We were going to rent bicycles there for the day but ended up walking instead, the narrow roads and not having to return back to Juan being the motivators. Now having a home there would definitely be lovely but having just read ‘The Paris Wife’ over the past couple of days, not sure that we would fit in. They were rich, crazy and drank too much; we are none of those things.

One last visit on our last day back to Cap Ferrat and it was again so lovely. The variety of blues of the Mediterranean (such a pretty word) and the sky, the many shades of greens of the pines and other trees, and the birds singing; it is incredibly beautiful. To contrast the beautiful hot and cloudless day on the ocean, we could hear thunder in the hills above Eze and beyond. It was fun to watch the dark skies change as we walked along the sunny coast a short ways away.

So the end of another short vacation and now it’s back to work travelling again. London, Prague, Slovakia… and then home!
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