From Spain to France.
Trip Start May 30, 2013
21Trip End Nov 25, 2013
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Where I stayed
Homeexchange Port of Nice
We are now down to our last full day here on our own before the owners return to spend the night ,then drive us to Barcelona Airport for our late flight to Nice and to meet Susan & Don on Monday. OH DEAR ….G has now taken over half of my suitcase, and on latest count has 8 pairs of shoes…who said women were the best shoppers. Jobs all lined up for the day - cleaning vacuuming and same for the car….drive out to the main road to gas up and I say; ”why don’t we take a run up to Peniscola????“
and there went another 5 hours. Peniscola is a dramatic seaside town with a huge castle perched above the beach and township. We approached our walk a different way from our last visit, and followed the old cobbled pathways up, that lead to the fortified ramparts that hugs the sea wall. There in front of us was a procession setting off from the church ,down to the port - another Saint to be revered and remembered- with the men carrying the said ”Saint” (looking colourful, but very wooden),on their shoulders in a row boat . Right behind was the town band (mostly young men) and lovely little girls and their Mothers all in costume with the well dressed villagers right behind- quite a sight and very stirring. The movie EL CID was filmed right here in the 1960’s (starring Charleton Heston) …we stopped later to cool off in a quiet, cool little alleyway - to enjoy a Paella for a late lunch …..the proud waiter , told us his Mother was part of the ‘crowd scene’ in the Movie when being filmed here .Now for those Vegetarians amongst you (and my Grandchildren) …SORRY but it was Rabbit Paella for lunch!
we ordered ,and oh so delicious , washed down with our Claras (Shandies).
After a super meal with Jesus & Pepita, up high above the ocean at El Pinar on our last evening in Alcoceber ;, the following morning we walked to the Marina to check out their lovely boat…..then returned to do a final pack, leaving reluctantly for the last time. A 2 hour journey and we were saying our goodbys at Barcelona airport…knowing we will meet again in NZ in November, when we will return THEIR wonderful hospitality.
Our flight with Easy Jet to Nice was like clockwork- arrived 10 minutes early after an enjoyable 1 hour flight- flying in from the sea over St Tropez, then continuing low over beautiful green 'market' countryside, until we finally dropped onto what seemed to be a runway created on the ocean off the Nice coastline, with ALL the private jets lined up along the runway....
Our Virginia friends Susan & Don ,were there to meet us from our flight , and we were actually able to find our way through the heavy traffic in time to meet the housekeeper from our home exchange at 8pm as planned (sometimes plans do work!!)
The traffic here is just crazy - Don cannot believe the kamikaze style motor cyclists, who weave their way in and out of the .dense traffic at right angles to the vehicles
This afternoon we took a car journey to St Paul De Vence -(G & me had visited in 2004).
A hilltop village that was important in Roman times and equally important in the early years of Christian France. In the ‘wars of religion, the town was besieged by Huguenots , but did not fall… a fact , that each year is commemorated with a festival ...
forgetting that the Tour D France was going on !!! Big mistake - once on the way, there was no turning back- a journey that our GPS told us would take 30 minutes ,took 2 hours. And the return journey took over 2. and 1/2 hours - our accommodation is by the port, and the road along the port is oneway ,and of course completely cordoned off for the cycle race. (most of the roads are oneway in the city). As I am writing this (10.30pm) the fireworks are booming around the port; the dogs are going mad and so are the big gulls from the ocean.
Speaking of dogs -seems everyone has one- big ones, little ones, all having to do what every dog does - mostly along the footpaths!!! And one has to chose their path carefully as you walk.- I will say no more….Bit like the traffic wardens , there aren’t any
We are near the Port and just around the corner from place Garibaldi, which leads into the old quarter, so that is where we strolled this morning when Susan & Don arrived for the day (they are staying about 10 minutes by car from here) ….exploring Nice on foot- the ‘Spanish paseo’ (slow stroll) in France …coming out at place Messina ,absorbing the atmosphere with Susan & me snapping with our cameras in unison (no wonder we have been friends since little girls, still enjoy the same things)- with the 2 Guys following behind........... Then I was blessed “big time” , by a VERY large gull that lives with many other gulls on fresh fish at the markets…
.I said “its raining” and looked up…oh no!! the stall holder crossed herself and said “I had been lucky” (blessed)…”REALLY???” being dropped on from above - all through my hair, down my shoulder bag, clothes and shoes - my sun visor taking in a real good dose….these gulls are HUGE and it is just as well pigs don’t fly , or I would be in deep SHXT.
Another sunny morning in Nice …and the parking of traffic is quite humorous. Just outside our apartment, the cars sit sometimes 3 deep on the road, on corners, pedestrian crossings…wherever you want to drop the car, JUST get out of it and walk away!!!The NZ Police Dept, would be in “parking ticket heaven “ here. Susan & Don arrived on the bus (easier than trying to find where to leave the vehicle)- and we met with Trish outside the steps of Notre Damne cathedral on the Port ( 50 yards from here)…Trish is a lady we met during quiz nights in Allcoceber, who lives 6 months in Nice and 6 months in Spain. She offered to meet and help us while we are in Nice. A great day with her - she knows all the ‘ropes’ - we 5 caught the tram from Messini square to the Gare Nice Ville , (train station) to purchase tickets for the train to Monaco on Tuesday…we do have the car, BUT it is almost impossible to find parking - the train station was even worse than Barcelona …the stress in the air is THICK and the French seem to make catching the train as difficult as possible. Of the 4 ticket selling machines , only one was working and would not accept any notes - only coins or credit cards…because of this the queue to purchase was an hour long. After obtaining tickets , we all caught the tram back to enjoy a leisurely lunch of Tapas in the Old quarter with Trish .