Bastille day tomorrow

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Nov 25, 2013

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Flag of France  , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur,
Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our friend Trisha had emailed  , (who we met in Spain and also lives here in Nice) ;
and as Susan & Don have headed down into Italy, we accepted her offer to take us inland for the morning to 2 famous feudal villages  , high above Nice. The hamlets of Eze and La Turbie, though only 4 miles apart, have so many similarities, and both boast fortified feudal centres high above Nice and Monaco, and she wanted us to see them.
Eze is a medieval village perched like an eagles nest on a narrow rocky peak overlooking the Mediterranean sea. The ancient village is still crowned with the ruins of its 12th-century fortified castle (torn down in 1706), sitting on a narrow rocky peak. The area surrounding Eze was first populated around 2000BC as a commune and is described as an eagles nest because of its location overlooking a high cliff 427 metres above sea level.
La Turbie still has standing the ruins of a large monument ‘Trophy of Augustus’….. made to celebrate the victory of Julius Caesar over tribes of the area. Some of the earliest sites of human habitation in Europe are on this part of the coast, and Hannibal is reputed to have bought his elephants this way on his march  to attack Rome in 218BC.
A wonderful morning out (being driven by a local who knows her way around) ,and just incredible how these villages have survived for this period of time. We just love exploring the little cobbled lanes within castle walls - trying to envisage who had walked the pathways , all those centuries ago, that we were now walking.. Life must have been very hard..The zigzag on the mountainous road getting there ,was challenging in the car- at times the road doubled back on itself as we climbed , and sometimes we were down to first gear.

4 weeks of listening to ‘Spanish’ spoken all around, now 2 weeks of French, and today we have been amongst the Italian voices…..G & me caught an early train across the border into Italy to a weekly market in Ventimiglia. The top deck of the train enabled us  splendid views of the coastline- and the trip into Italy took just under an hour. Through Monaco and Menton , to the last stop, on the local train from Nice. No signs anywhere, but we just followed the large crowd off the train, and quickly were among the largest outdoor market we have ever seen. Prices a little higher than the  market in Spain, but still a huge variety of anything one would want to purchase. .One stall we stopped and looked at had pickled tomatoes, aubergines, seafood prawns, anchovies, sardines and garlic. They were also  selling cheeses and pastas- boy some people lead busy lives, keeping up with all their stock. 
 Ventimiglia reminded me of Girona- with the new town on one side ,and  the OLD medieval town across the fast flowing river Roia, that we were able to cross to ,using a foot bridge. The river dividing  the city in two. The market town (oceanside) was BUSY!!!! With people and vehicles going in all directions- we did find a 2nd market as we were walking back to the train station, this was all flowers, fruit and veges..Again our plan to stay longer, thwarted by the heat, and we were only to glad to get back on the 3 oclock train and ‘Nana nap’ my way home.
It is Saturday night in Nice , and tomorrow is Bastille day…..already the music has started and who needs to be down on the street, when we can hear all the big beats  from our terrace. Great sound BUT not sure there will be much sleep tonight for us !!
 Our last day together with Susan and Don and we left this morning, heading  to Biot,
 (a 40 minute drive south and Inland from Nice)….. a rocky 'spur top 'village where the Romans have ruled since they defeated the Ligurians in 154 BC. They have occupied this site for 5 centuries leaving monuments and inscriptions still visible today. Its past has seen pillaging gangs, and Black Plague that decimated the village in 1387, when the village became inhabited by robbers and thieves. It is now prosperous and   is an important centre for pottery , arts and crafts- and especially glass blowing- particularly bubble glass, with many local factories having resident glass blowers in operation.

  Leaving Biot we travelled out to the coast , passing the huge fortress that makes Antibes famous,……. to Cannes. The shopping streets were very busy,  and although we kept our eyes open for a famous face - we did not spot anyone   or at least no-one we recognized. 
 Found a park by the Marina where all the BIG BOYS TOYS are floating - before heading north again , following the coast  back to Nice.

The street to the South of us, towards the Old Quarter, has a little square in it called Napoleon...we have noticed a lot of Gay men in that square- Friday night when we walked through,we think we were the only straight couple - THEN on Saturday night ,while sitting writing our blog on the terrace at 8.30pm, the music from that square , was getting louder and LOUDER.....finally , at 10.30pm, I said "lets go see what's going on"- 
 a full on Gay, men and women Mardi gras night . We stood and watched, with VERY heavy rock music blasting from outdoor speakers all around . We walked through the packed crowd to get an ice cream at the next square (Garibaldi) and back again..
NO SLEEP FOR ME!! even with pillows over my head, G snoring beside me - he says there are times when it is helpfull to be deaf. Finally silence at 1am....

so up this morning for packing and cleaning ....this afternoon will head out walking to see what the Bastille celebrations bring- hopefully some BIG fireworks , to give us a nice send of from Nice...have to leave  for the  airport at 8.30am in the morning for Nante, France and our friends Arlette and Pierre.
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Barbara on

I'm sure you have seen some beautiful sites as I have enjoyed the blog and all the places you have been. guess you will be here in the US on Saturday. Looking forward to seeing you.

glenna gray on

We have really enjoyed following you around Europe. Truly, you should have been a travel writer. The pictures and commentary are wonderful. Hope you have a easy flight and that your suitcases arrive when you do. See you soon! :-)

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