Nice is Nice!!

Bonjour. My writing will probably be a bit rusty  – it’s been a long time since I have written a travel blog but here is our current trip to France, Italy and more.  — Renee Leahy

Our flight to Nice was uneventful thank god, after my experience flying to Australia from London. I am always expecting someone to tell me you can’t board the plane. The flight went so well I was actually able to catch 40 winks a few times. 

We are arrived in Nice in the early afternoon and as we walked outside of the airport to catch a bus to our apartment I could see a palm tree. This sight threw me because Palm trees is not the first thing that come to mind when I think of France. Ah, but we had arrived on the French Riviera the Mediterranean coastline in the southeastern corner of France. 

We took a 15 minute bus to a stop near the train station which then should have been a 5 minute walk to our apartment. Alas the bus we took did not have a close enough stop so our 5 minute walk turned into a 20 minute. Still not bad, we are used to walking however the walk was in the heat of the day which was 28-30 Celsius. 

Slowly melting as we walked along the narrow side walks we found Cafe with shade. We still had some time before meeting up with the person who would deliver the apartment keys and show us the apartment. Naturally being in a Cafe we ordered some nice hot cappuccino along with cold water. Oddly enough that did the trick but also did help the humidity in Nice was not very high.

After our tour of the apartment we headed out to get our bearings. We discovered that we were not far the tram, it went right through the pedestrian zone making crossing to the other side a lot easier. 

On the roads you are literally playing a game of chicken when it comes to crossing the street at the pedestrian crosswalks. 

Much to our delight we found out that we were not far from the beach or should I say free beach. By this I mean you could throw your towel down anywhere and enjoy the sun and water. A beach area where you pay gives you a couple of lounge chairs with umbrella and possible bar service. 

The waterfront was filled with lots of soccer fans as the Euro Cup was taking place in France. There was a ‘Fan Mile’ which we experienced when we were in Berlin during the World Cup. However it was nothing like Berlin. Sadly I believe because of the acts of terrorism that have occurred in France means very high security during the games. Which also explain the why the ‘fan mile’ was heavily policed, everyone searched and patted down etc. Plus it was inside a set a of high wooden walls like a prison exercise yard but without guard towers! And it was only open when a match was on unlike Berlin’s which was open all the time.

Before I continue about our time in Nice let me give you some history about the Riviera. It became a popular seaside resort area due to the 18th century upper social classes as they were able travel through Europe. Through their travels they discovered the special climate and geographic conditions of the Riviera. Around 1789 the British began to build Villas along the coast of Nice that eventually it would be named Promenade des Anglais. 

Eventually the palm trees and the citrus fragrance of the Italian area would attract more visitors that by the 19th century new hotels were being built along the Italian coastline. The railway system would make the Riviera the Bell of the ball for tourism not only in summer but winter as well.

Continuing on with our stay in Nice, after getting our bearings and discovering lots of different restaurants and gelato stands we did some grocery shopping before dining out. The dining experience was overwhelming for us on the first night way to many places to choose from. One thing though the drink of the evening is either a red wine or Rose seldom did we see someone drink white wine. Thus when in Rome this case Nice do as….rose became my wine of choice. 

Dining here was great. Steve even managed to find a tiny hole-in-the-wall vegetarian restaurant which is owned by an American woman who has lived in Nice for over 40 years. She did absolutely everything and the food was terrific.

One thing that is very popular to eat in Nice is Socca. It is a thin crepe made from chickpea flour and baked in a wood burning oven. We tried it one day at a communist party festival on top of huge forested hill with remains of an old Chateau over looking the city.  The fresh wood-oven baked socca was delicious. The commie festival was a fundraiser for local parties – it was all about low-price food and drink in lovely natural setting. Oh yes there were lots of speeches but most people didn’t pay much attention.

The streets of Nice it seemed were always filled with people no matter what time in the day or evening it was. I am not sure if that was partly due to the Euro Cup but the holiday season was just beginning so I can only assume the streets of would be so filled with people like sardines in a can. Since sardines is also the the thing to eat especially in salad Nicoese it might not be such a problem for the people of Nice. 

In case you are wondering we did manage to catch a soccer game or two on TV at the local bars. Happy to say we able to watch France win their game and enjoy the revellers.

The transportation system was great and not too expensive.  We took the bus to travel to Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat (Bay). We walked along the coastal walkway that eventually led to an 11th chapel where in a small courtyard stood the large bronze statue of the Virgin Mary and Child built in 1904. There was also a Belgium cemetery for the soldiers of World War I. No idea what that was about.  

Our day ended with a quick dip into the cool waters of the Mediterranean. 

The next day, thanks to a great transit system we were a 2 hour train ride away in Imperia Italy at the seaside town of Diano Marina. This would become home for the next 3 days. It was formerly a fishing town and commercial town. After a earthquake in 1887 I would transformed into a health resort very popular with rich. Now in some ways still a resort for the rich.

More to come….

Take care,

Renee

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Published in: on June 30, 2016 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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