Saturday, April 16, 2017
The French Riviera is absolutely stunning! I couldn’t have thought of a more perfect place to spend Easter weekend in Europe or to wander in for my last big trip. The blueness of the French Riviera is intoxicating. The French haven’t been excruciatingly rude to us Americans. And the markets and Venetian-like houses bring life into full color.
Last night after our eight hour long train journey (with four trains involved), we checked into our Air BnBs and ate dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. Sasha and I have this habit of eating Asian food whenever we travel. It’s been hard to break! The Asian food in Europe just tastes more ‘authentic’ than it does in the States I’m assuming it’s because it’s geographically closer. Olivia loves Asian food too, so she wouldn’t pass up a comforting meat dish with rice. I got pho, and I added four too many slices of thai pepper! My sinuses were almost as clear as the ocean’s water!
This morning we had pastries and coffee and smoothies at Emilie’s before stepping onto the pebbly beach of Opera Plage. We learned that there are very few sandy beaches on the French Riviera! Instead, the beaches are covered with smooth and flat gray pebbles, ranging in size, perfect for skipping rocks. The aesthetic is very pleasing to the eye, and it’s more comfortable to sunbath on rocks than one may think. We did have some unique patterns on our legs after that could have been mistaken for an odd skin disease, but we had no complaints.
It was a bit cloudy today, but the sea obviously looked beautiful still!
We wandered around Old Town Nice after a short sit on the pebbles. The Cours Saleya is a famous vegetable, fruit, and flower market in Nice (and in France). There were so many selections of amazing produce and so many people shopping for ingredients for their Easter brunches and dinners. It was really special to witness. I love being somewhere where there is so much to look at, never a moment of dullness or a lack of interest. I bought myself a pint of strawberries, and they were perfectly sweet. Olivia snapped away at the gorgeous peonies. The French love their medium sized dogs, and so do their tourists. I saw many King Charles Cavalier Spaniels!
The narrow streets of Old Town brought me back to Venice, Chania, and Verona.
After shopping for our own Easter brunch at the smaller yet equally lively markets close to our Air BnB, we decided to hop on the 25 minute train to Monte-Carlo, Monaco! We got 300 grams of prosciutto (100 grams too many) at the market, and we knew immediately the butchers were Italian. we of course practiced ours and told them we study in Florence. I think they got a kick out of us by their Italian chuckles and exaggerated gestures. We had another Italian encounter when we checked into our Air BnB. Our friend’s host was Italian and explained everything about the flat in Italian! Sasha and I were so proud of ourselves and surprised by the fact that we knew exactly what she was saying! It was harder for us to actually reciprocate, but we could process her words. It was pretty cool! Our Air BnB is the perfect little apartment for one person; it has everything you could possibly need, including a nice terrace!
A roundtrip fare to Monaco from Nice is only 6 euros. So we went to one of the wealthiest countries/cities in the world for a cheap price! Monte-Carlo was really interesting to see. The many yachts, Lamborghinis, Ferraris definitely make you look twice, since they aren’t objects you see on an every day basis. We poked around in the Casino (Sasha got asked if she was over 18… Olivia and I did not. She’s not bitter about it at all), looked at the sea from the Starbucks on a terrace (where drinks were 5 euro), and napped on another pebbly beach. I see why the luxurious lifestyle in Monte-Carlo is one many envy, but it’s not what would ultimately make me happy. It was funny seeing people lined up on the sidewalk taking videos of the car drivers who ostentatiously showed off their expensive cars, engines revving for the whole country to hear.
After a packed day before Easter, we relaxed at Le Gambetta for dinner. I had a huge plate of mussels with prawns. It’s one of my favorite dishes that I think originated in France!
Tomorrow is Easter! We didn’t dye eggs, but we did buy some for brunch tomorrow. It’s ‘nice’ here! xo ~ e.