343-351: Nine Nice Nights Near Nice!

343 – Tuesday 29th April 2016 – Destination Nice and a Nice Call

We had a last run along the coast in Lavento – our last run in Italy for … we don’t know how long before we return to Italy.IMG 0564

The beach front at Lavento.

We took the motorway up to Nice.  Now to speak in French … tres cher compared to Italian motorways!  Nice is too nice for campsites and free parkings so we are quite a way down the road in Antibes at an ACSI site, so EUR17 for 2 plus electric.  Campsite quiet with large and hedged pitches.

As we arrived we said ‘Good day’ to an Aussie Camper on tour.  A few glasses later and we had exchanged France / Spain and Italy good spots info and wifi Sims.

Nice phone call from my Munchkin who is on 4 weeks of Easter holidays.  “I’m bored, broke and I miss you” … not necessarily in that order.  “Can I come out to where you are?”.  Yes, but since very important A2 exams are looming, the deal is 4 hours of revision per day.  Agreed … she arrives on the 1st.  Our Nice destination is really so we can spend some time with J’s daughter and granddaughter, Sarah and Jade, who live in the old port area.  Slight change of plan – we had planned to mostly sleep at Sarah’s apartment, but when Maddy is here, I will sleep each night in Chardonnay so Maddy has a bed – although she complains it is like a park bench!  Also, the revision is more likely to happen without the distraction of the most cute 10 month baby.

 

344-350 – Wednesday 30th March to Tuesday 5th April 2016:  Nice is Nice!

 

For a change, I am condensing the next week into categories ….

Running

We ran most days and my Pilates mat made an appearance.  J ran along the Boulevard des Anglais several times when he stayed with Sarah.  I only had one opportunity to run here as I slept in Chardonnay with Maddy except for the first night – and knowing it was my only chance, I even ran in the rain!   It really is a special place to trot.  Otherwise our run was 1.5 km down the hill to the coast.

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We ran on the bike track along the road … not a patch on the Boulevard in Nice.  This is looking east towards Cagnes sur Mer

My return run up the hill, took me sweating and panting into a bakery to purchase croissants for M – was kindly given a bag as the assistant could see I was about to carry on running … incongruous!  I managed to gasp out that they were for my daughter … wonder is she believed me?

And there’s J – had to buy him a belt …. all this running meant he had to walk holding up his trousers!!!


Transport

On our second day (day 1 being jobs for both us and Sarah, who had just got back from seeing family in Dublin), we walked down to the sea front to catch the number 200 bus to Nice Centre.  It is supposed to come every 20 mins, but busses in either direction seemed scarce.  Another patient passenger explained that there is a general strike today … about 40% only of the transport workers are working.  I explained that ‘en greve’ was one of the first French words I learned.  They speculated that in England we no longer have the right to strike … we subsequently read that the French air traffic controllers have been on strike 43 times in the last 7 years!   After 50 mins the bus did arrive and after another hour we made it to the centre of Nice.  A bit of a walk then to Sarah’s apartment to drop our stuff … it had become a 3 hour journey!  a 20 min walk each end and a 1 hour bus ride, without a strike and I and Maddy were going to have to do this each day AFTER REVISION!

However, a saviour in the form of Sarah very generously offered us use of her car … her English driving license has just expired so the car would be dormant.  So K remained sober.   I have been zipping back and forth between Antibes and Nice, although not always the same route – and not intentionally!   I eventually sussed the shore route is best as fewer traffic lights… one evening driving back, Maddy and I were stopped at 18 sets!  Great to use the car to collect M from her flight.  Given M’s heavy bag and the 1.3 km walk from the bus stop up to the campsite … it was really appreciated.

Sarah had mentioned she needed to get the car cleaned as her husband Gareth was arriving home shortly … I did the inside and then we took it to the jet wash.  It still did not look sparkly so J attacked it by hand.  But the DUST – it blew in and rained in.  Chardonnay is no longer an off white, but has orange streaks and so did Sarah’s clean (or was) car.  So the morning we handed the car back, we took it for its third wash.  The jet wash place was heaving on a Sunday, possibly to be expected, but also on a weekday morning …. Queuing 20 mins plus.  With all this dust, it really is the business to be in.

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Evidence that for a nano second, it looked all sparkly!

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We spotted this Monaco plated Bentley, illegally parking and commented that due to the colour (not the parking infringement) that it had to be a female’s car.  It sure was – blond and beautiful … but I now notice that it is parked under a pawn brokers … wonder if she’d been selling her 21cwt rings?

Revision

My Munckin started well and then flagged …

  • Day 1: 1 hour, and after a flight 🙂
  • Day 2:  3 hrs 20 mins 🙂
  • Day 3:  3 hrs 20 mins 🙂
  • Day 4:  Sadly ZERO!  The concept had been that M revised, whilst J and I cleaned Sarah’s holiday let apartment …. however, sleep seemed to kidnap M.
  • Day 5:  Another big fat zero, but to be honest not much opportunity.

I suspect, it was more than she would have achieved at home!

 

Food

One lunch in an amazing bio restaurant – limited menu, but oh, so fresh.  A pizza on Maddy’s last day with a really thin crispy base.  We did not care much for the waitress – her nose twitched like a rabbits and she seemed not not be entirely happy with her work, but I ate all my pizza, it was so yummy.  Sarah led us to THE MOST AMAZING ice cream parlour … homemade and so many flavours, including macaroon, creme brûlée and Irish Coffee … of course!  She then managed to lead us to a bar!  I had my first French espresso … twice the size of an Italian one and not a patch on the caffeine kick … I’m so gonna miss the Italian cafe!  Please notice, my coffee, whilst J had wine … I was driving M and myself back to Chardonnay that evening to sleep.  Made up for it with a couple of glasses of Marsala later 🙂

It really helps to have a local to take you to the best places!

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Yes, Sylvie – just for you!

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Limoncello after the Pizza.

And a few shots of Jade in the restaurant … somehow seem to have missed taking a pic of Sarah.

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351 – Wednesday 6th April 2016:  Bike to Antibes

No Maddy, she flew home yesterday afternoon.  No Sarah or Jade:  Gareth arrives for his 8 weeks shore leave after 8 weeks on a super yacht.  Lazy start and then we cycled to Antibes.  Lunch in a cafe with a half litre carafe …. yeah, I could join J in a glass.  Walk to wall sunshine and still 27C at 4.00 p.m.  Lovely!  Then an interminable wait at a mobile phone shop to sort out mifi hub SIM data.  I needed to phone to activate it, but the French was so fast, I could not keep up.  Asked a couple of youths – they could not do it either, so had to go back to the shop to ask them.  The whole exercise took 1.5 hrs GRRR!  

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