Capers in the capital of the Cote D’Azur
09.06.2007 - 21.06.2007 30 °C
Nearly three weeks in Nice. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But it was true, although we did have to pinch ourselves a few times to make sure. The first ten or so days we stayed in a friend’s apartment with lovely big windows overlooking the port and hence, overlooking how the other half live. Wow. These weren’t simply boats. They were floating palaces – some chic and some, well, big. All day long, in and out they’d glide, flying the flags of Luxembourg, Monaco, Cayman Islands and other tax havens. Girls in bikinis lounging in the on-board roof-top jacuzzis, attentive crew busily washing decks and delivering drinks in their white polos and sharp chinos. We certainly weren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto. When we could tear ourselves away from this better-than-Neighbours soap opera occurring outside our front window, we explored the city and surrounds. The highlights? Touring a fragrance factory in perfume capital, Grasse (see, I was working, I swear!), swimming (fully clothed) among the nudies at Eze-sur-mer, a gorgeous, pebbly beach, discovering the cobbled streets of cute-as-a-button seaside town Villefranche, and roaming the narrow, winding passages of Nice’s atmospheric Old Town, or Vielle Ville. And the food…The French sure do know how to enjoy things when it comes to eating. Even a simple sandwich from a roadside kiosk to a takeaway salad from a servo is something of a gourmet delight. Fresh bread, good-quality butter, crunchy leaves and fresh vegetables made even our most basic meals memorable. We also sampled the local specialty, socca – a thick chickpea and olive oil savoury pancake. It became our snack of choice for that hungry time when it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Hard life. When we were sick of socca (yes it happens), and croissant-weary, we hit the fruit and veggie market in the town square. Every morning except Monday local producers display their wares on groaning trestle tables under brightly striped canopies. Plump, juicy red berries, ripe tomatoes, smelly sausages, even smellier cheeses, mountains of garlic and at least ten different types of potatoes all jostled for our attention, fringed by leafy herbs and zucchini flowers. And the beauty of our digs – a self-catering flat – meant we could cook with farm-fresh, dirt cheap ingredients nearly every night. We were totally giving Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay (only with marginally less swearing or saying pukka and lovely-jubbly). Nearly two weeks and a few extra kilos later, we had to bid farewell to Nice apartment and commenced location in a city hotel, Le Meurice, in preparation for Mike’s big race – Ironman France. Finally, the bike, still tagging after us along like a bad smell, was to have it’s day in the sun. Speaking of sun, the temperature hovered between 25 and 30 degrees for our entire stay. Sorry. I’d like to say it was cold and miserable, or that the food was nasty, or that we stayed in a rat-infested hovel and had a really bad time, but everything was pretty much perfect. Oh, except the parking and the driving, but a promise is a promise, so my lips are sealed on that particular subject.
The fruit and veggie market
Lovely Eze village
The view from our flat...hard life!