From glaciers to palm trees
Originally published 28 December 2017
With my wife, watching the sun go down on the Riviera
I was up before Laurie this morning, which is unusual. She went to bed not feeling well and woke up feeling worse. She sounded rough this morning and I was worried. She got herself out of bed and told me there were things she wanted to see today and she was going to muddle through.
After showers, we headed out for breakfast. We had a nice breakfast in old town Nice and wandered just a bit before catching a bus. Laurie had one thing she REALLY wanted to see and I wanted her to see it first, in case she ran out of steam from her cold. We caught our bus and rode it to our first stop of the day, the Chagall Museum.
Laurie has always had an interest in the arts and was quite excited to be able to see these works in person. While Laurie enjoyed the museum, I wandered the surrounding neighborhood. I studied the buildings, the terrain, the ebb and flow of the place.
A shortcut/staircase from terrace to terrace
Nice is a city of terraces, be it terraced land or terraced buildings. The roads running from downtown climb the hills in switchback turns, running from terraced area to terraced area. These areas have buildings built on them which are mostly residential in this area. The buildings are almost exclusively apartment buildings. While elevated above the rest of town, views from the street are quite rare. The buildings block the views and the apartments have terraces for the view.
Between the terraces full of apartment buildings, are stairs and walkways that run up and down. These are shortcuts for pedestrians to get from level to level without having to walk along the roads for considerably longer distances.
These shortcuts are everywhere. One went by a group of sports courts for a European game similar to bocci. It involves hollow steel balls and a small wooden ball. It’s on TV here and as best I can tell it has something to do with getting as close as possible to the small wooden ball, or to knock other people away from the small wooden ball. There were like 20 courts along this path…..the game is obviously quite popular.
I met Laurie as she completed her museum visit. We chose to walk back to town instead of taking the bus. We tend to walk in cities as it makes it easier to learn about them. As the Chagall museum is up on a hill, walking back to town is also downhill, which makes it much more pleasant. We wind up back in old town and have Chinese food for lunch, before wandering further.
After our lunch, we walk through the local flower market. The flowers are grown locally here and are quite reasonably priced. From what I understand, due to the temperate climate here, most of the flowers in France are grown here.
This huge flower crop also spawned something else the French are known for, perfume. The flowers are made into extracts which are used to make perfume. There are perfume shops that make their own scents here. I’ve heard that you can walk into these shops and they will make a special blend for customers. It takes hundreds of flowers to make a single bottle of perfume.
After the flower market we take an elevator up to the top of a cliff called “Castle Hill”. This hill overlooks Nice as well as the Mediterranean. We take great photos of the area from both sides of the hill, before walking back down. We took the bus up to the museum, and the elevator to the top of Castle Hill. Walking down is always easier than walking up.
Sundown on the Riviera
We watch the sun set from Castle Hill. As it goes behind the horizon, we descend to the shore and walk down “The walk of the English”. This is a paved walkway that runs for several miles along the ocean front bordering the city. There are thousands of people out for an evening stroll, people roller blading, some walking on the beach, made not of sand but of stones about the size of your fist.
The walk is ringed by pipe bollards and large steel cable barriers. This was the place that a terrorist drove a truck up and down the walkway killing 86 people in 2016. The bollards and cables will hopefully keep this from happening again….at least here.
We finish our day with a nice dinner. Laurie treated me to a very nice Italian restaurant for dinner as today was my birthday. I brought her back to the hotel and put her to bed. I hopes she feels better tomorrow. There are considerably worse ways to celebrate my birthday than a nice dinner in a very nice place, with someone I love.
Nice slide show day one
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