In which Pedi and I check out the Italian and French Rivieras, including Ventimiglia, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Nice, France in one day
The weather finally cooperated. The sun was out, and coupled
with a nice balmy breeze, it was actually the textbook definition of a pleasant
day. All throughout our walk through Monaco, I wondered what native Monagesque
people do. I read somewhere that something like 30% of residents are
millionaires. (I saw a few convertible sportscars on the road). Are they
dreaming of making more millions? When they imagine escaping to faraway
lands, do they dream of the tropical islands of the Far East or the Caribbean, onboard
their luxury yachts piloted by staff named Jeeves or Raoul?
This morning I had just enough time to wander off and walk along the beach by myself as Pedi had to
abandon me go back to Milan. It is Monday morning, after all. Temperature was just above single digits, I reckon, but people had on jogging pants and trainers and were having a go at it along the boardwalk. The beach was nothing like what we have back in the tropics, but then, I suppose people make do with what they have. Although one can argue that at least they don’t have to deal with floating garbage and a septic tank-y smell.
22 November 2015
Somewhere near Menton Garavan, France
We’re on the train to Nice from Ventimiglia. Pedi’s singing Adele’s “Hello.” It’s sort of become the unofficial theme song of this trip. He plays it on his phone and brings the phone with him in the shower. Freaking hilarious.
Ventimiglia is a charming small town. It was freezing this morning though. The cold cut through my paltry gloves and crawled into my fingers. That didn’t stop Pedi and I from staging an impromptu photo shoot on a bridge near the train station though.
|A bridge in Ventimiglia|
|Next stop: France|
It was Pedi’s suggestion we go to Nice and then to Monte Carlo in Monaco. I would have never even thought about going to these places if he hadn’t mentioned them. Now I’m kind of excited to find out what’s going on there.
Wait, I see lots of policemen outside my window. I think this is the first town in France, which means we just crossed the border from Italy.
Some cops came onboard and sort of swept through the train. They didn’t ask for our passports though.
I see more towns perched on cliffs overlooking the sea. This must be the French Riviera. Cöte D’Azur? The late morning sun is exactly in the right angle, bouncing off of the houses and then back out onto the sea. Filtered through the grimy glass windows of the train, it’s like an otherworldly glow. It just looks so…rich, in the literal, money-in-their-pockets, diamond-chokers-on-their-throats kind of rich.
23 November 2015
Hotel Flandres in Nice, France
I will make this quick as I have to catch a flight in a couple of hours back to Rome. On this leg of the trip, Pedi and I went to Monte Carlo in Monaco and spent a day here in Nice.
Is there such a thing as “beauty fatigue?” Monte Carlo was stunning. When your only previous encounter with places is through song lyrics (“I’ve been to Nice, and the isle of Greece…I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo…”), actually being there is pretty surreal.
|Hello from Monte Carlo|
|Port Hercule, Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|Tourist shot going up the Prince's palace|
|It wasn't that cold yet|
|The Prince's Palace|
|You'd be smiling, too|
I liked the old town of Nice. The new part's easy on the eyes, too, but the old town has so much more character. We had time for a glass of wine at an outdoor café (freezing!) and for dinner, we had rice and ulam from a Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant. Sacrilege, I know. But I was hungry, and the sauteed chicken with cashew looked delicious (and it was), so, there you go.
|Lots of waiting for the train|
|Place de Massena|
|There are seven of those humanoid figures, representing the seven continents conversing with one another|
|Lots of restaurants offered "Fruits of the Sea" specials|
|I love old alleys like this one|
|Basilique Notre-Dame de l"Assomption à Nice|
|Jogger along promenade|
|Bicycles by the Mediterranean|
|I like how calm the sea is here, compared to how rough it was back in Cinque Terre|
|See you at the Lido|
France has been great, and I wish I could stay just a bit longer, but I suppose wanting more of something is better than getting sick of it. Kind of like steak. Or sex.
To be continued...