Heading south into the "king of the Mediterranean"
17.02.2011 - 19.02.2011 10 °C
Arrival in Nice after a most miraculous and nerve-wrecking airport experience
Life sometimes throws flashes before our eyes, which we interpret as inspirations in disguise. Some of us who are proactive, jump to take the cue and act to the signal! Jane and I completed our three-day Monaco trip in one night after hearing the names of Morocco and Monaco together on the same day. We found a pretty hotel in Nice, called Villa Rivoli, for a nice price through Expedia (90 Pounds for two nights, twin bed).
We got a free upgrade! The service at this French hotel won our hearts.
The view out of our French window
We enjoyed taking photos against this Belle Epoque styled room
On our night stroll, I couldn't resist the impulse to capture this classy scene, lady on the balcony
We'll later return to this illuminated square for the Nice Carnival!
Hungry for food, after 30 minutes of walking in search of Gras Fois that would not leave us penniless
The White Queen pizza. Nice is only 90km from Italy, making Italian cuisine a common offer at most restaurants.
Amazing mussels - Eat as much as you want - of course, we ordered three servings 1) white cream sauce 2) Napolean tomato sauce 3) spicy sauce
Our contented faces
Dessert = Crepe with dark chocolate and a scoop of Pinocchio's special ice-cream at Pinocchio
A moment to remember and to enjoy
The gorgeous streets deserve a million embrace
A sunny trip to Monaco and Villefranche
Our second day welcomed us with bright sunshine. Thanks for Marie, a French girl how we met at the bus stop and gave us a ton of great local advice on where to visit and where to eat! We took the bus from Nice to Monaco, a journey of about 40 minutes with the best views on land and sea.
The tall girl walking away is our heroine, Marie. Hope we get to meet her again in the states or London sometime, or Nice the next time we go!
Breathtaking views from the bus
Breakfast croissant - sorry the croissant is not seen because I'm eating it
Are you scared of pigeons? seagulls? These giant versions of seagulls, albatrosses, are fearless of humans!
We climbed up the hill to the Prince's Palace. While waiting for the Change of Guards, we indulged in photo-taking and drinking in the panoramas of the Monaco region.
Friendship sealed with the kiss of sun and cool breeze from the ocean
Attack with my binoculars
Our perspective, our lens
Grace Kelly, once the regal actress hailed on Hollywood screens, graced the royal palace of Monaco after marrying Prince Albert.
I'm not a creeper. I promise.
An interesting window that is also very utilitarian - great for hanging clothes!
Ma Belle, qui te souviens?
Local attraction, the Aquarium built by Prince Albert (you'll remember this name after spending two hours in Monaco. He is ubiquitous.)
After touring Monaco, we hopped back on the bus to go see Villefranche, Marie's recommendation. It is a pretty small town, where we grabbed dinner at a popular local restaurant. Sorry I don't have pictures because my camera was out of battery...Will try to update if I get the chance. (Jane's got all the photos!)
La Meilleure Tiramisui! Unparalleled! Insurmountable!
The Nice Carnival's opening - hilarious misconception of us to think that we were there one hour early, when we were there just in time for the festival. The time in Nice is one hour ahead of London time, which led our confusion. When we thought the opening was going to finally begin at "8:30," the crowd began to disperse after the mayor's speech. The real time then was "9:30," the end of the opening. We were there to witness the whole thing, with the wrong impression and interpretation. Nevertheless, we felt the high energy of the crowd and we were very hyped up!
Nice, gorgeous sunshine, beaches, ancient castle ruins, hours on a modern block of rock
Market where people sell things from 5 euros to hundreds of euros for pricey items like old Hermes scarves
French window - my new obsession
Jane's new signature expression: look, that is really cool! =D
Santa is working hard to reach the poor child inside who is still waiting for his Christmas gift
Diamonds in the sea
The distance is our common goal
A comfortable niche among the large boulders on the waterfront
The future is within our sight
The walkway to purity and immersion
Panoramic view of the city of Nice
As we trekked up the meandering stairway to the castle (L'ancien site de la chateau), we came to a forked path with two branches that seem to embrace the mountain is a vase-shape and converge some distance further up. I suggested to Jane: let's split up here and see where we meet again. Off we go, with my awful idea, because soon the fun faded and panic set in, as I realized that my path leads downhill (also I had to pretend cool while walking by a group of high school kids smoking shisha in a sequestered clearing). I texted Jane but realized that my phone could not reach her by any means, text or call. As my quickened steps took me closer to the top, the more enormous my anxiety grew. There was a spacious playground, some outlooks, and several restaurants spread out on the top of the mountain, but no landmark such as the Castle that we had aimed for as our destination and meeting place. When I asked the passers-by, they told me the entire mountain was the castle, or where the castle used to be. Now, people come up here for the panoramic view. Panic and worry stole my breath as I scolded myself inwardly for coming up with the idiotic idea of splitting up in a foreign country on a giant mountain, with no means of communication. Thankfully, Jane eventually found me as I was trying to dial her number on an American tourist's blackberry. Later, I thanked her by taking a picture of her and her two little boys. Never will I ever suggest again something that could potentially cause me heart attack.
The stone stairs
The balusters decorating the railings
The view from the top
An elevator that cost us 90 cents to go down the mountain in 1 minute
On the way back, along la promenade des anglais
Special note about Lufthansa airline:
We love the food served by this German airline.
The snowy peaks from the plane window. We saw the brightest sun and the coldest tips in one day - how distances are so short between such different geographic regions, I wonder how far is my self-actualization from my present position?