yesterday was filled with walking but nice is smaller and everything is closer. i started out in cours de saleya, the main town square in vieux nice, where the daily market is held. rick steves guided me through the old part of town and then i stopped for lunch. the market is incredible though – gorgeous flowers like i’ve never seen, large boxes of every spice imaginable, farmers’ fresh fruits and veggies, oils and soaps, candies, art and other knick-knacks.
outside by a fountain and beautiful church, i are the best gnocchi while the church bells rang and the midday cannon went off. shooting the canon is a daily tradition in nice because it is said that sir thomas coventry complained to his wife about never being able to eat at a decent time so he would fire the canon at noon to remind her to serve lunch. after eating this great meal i of course had to get gellato and then head for the beach. i walked to the musee des beaux-arts where i fell in love for the first time of the day. he was la securite and kept watching me as i walked through the exhibit. finally he started to talk to me and our conversation was a mix of french and english. never got his name, but i’ll call him etienne. the art was mediocre – some really good and some really boring. i actually liked the sculptures a lot, which normally is my least favorite part of an exhibit.
from there i walked to the other side of town along the promenade to collin du chateaux, a hill on top of which used to be a castle. it isn’t there anymore, but you can climb stairs to the top and get a great view of baie des anges. this was where i fell in love a second time, andrew from australia. he is a photographer. andrew and his mate tom-tom are travelling europe and he smelled like heaven. i asked him to take my picture and we talked for a while before i continued up the hill and he went down to find tom-tom.
as i walked through the park i hoped he would magically reappear, but instead i found the other side of nice and was easily distracted by the view of the port. i’m not sure why but they fascinate me!
thinking it was much later in the day i headed down. when i saw that it was only 3:45, i stopped at a beach restaurant for sangria and a pitcher of water. i finished part one of my book then headed for the hostel. two new girls were in my room, ariane and sophie from montreal. they are absolutely adorable! we decided to go to the opera together today so i told them i’d stay another night.
they went on to do their own thing for dinner and i went to do my own – dinner at il vinoino, where i fell in love the third time. guillaume, my waiter. when he wasn’t busy doing his job he was talking to me – he knew english which made it easier for me. as i left he gave me his number on the restaurant’s business card and said he wanted me to meet him after he got off work, but i was tired so i texted him (sorry, mom!) and he said he’d call me today.
now back to the restaurant because let’s be honest, i love food and wine more than men… even french men. (food and wine is just so much more reliable!) i love this little french/italian restaurant. sitting at the counter i could watch the cook prepare the food which is always entertaining to me! i had a glass of red with my steak and saffron pasta followed by a heart-shaped tiramisu (i’m pretty sure it doesn’t normally come in that shape!) haha… it was all very good!
anyway, today i’ve been with sophie and ari… eating, shopping, relaxing on the beach. we weren’t able to get opera tickets so later we’re going to a bar to watch the rugby final! not sure if i’ll see guillaume, but it’s a definite possibility. i don’t think he owns a vineyard but i can look past that fault.
(at the end of the day)
today was a beautiful day – not so much with the weather but because of the people. like i said before, i spent the day with sophie and ariane. they are soooo much fun! sophie has these bursts of energy and a great spirit about her. ariane has the kindest heart. as louise said “they really are a double act!” (you’ll meet her later.) sophie and ari are best friends and they’re taking this four and a half month trip together through europe.
after being very unsuccessful with the opera tickets we spent some time by the beach interrupting people who were making out, reading, writing, and enjoying the view. then we did a little grocery shopping so we could make dinner together.
the three of us went to a bar in vieux nice to watch the france v. wales rugby game. france lost but sophie and ari were secretly happy because they wanted wales to win. we didn’t actually pay much attention to the game, but when we did we were usually commenting on the awkward positions they get themselves in. instead they planned my wedding with guillaume. they will of course be my maids of honor, giving the toast which will be all about how they were there to see our love blossom. then we will have a gelato bar and crepe stand, in true nicoise fashion. there will be beaucoups of beer and wine of course!
back on the ranch… or at the hostel, the kitchen was super crazy. everyone was making dinner and i was just in the way as usual. this is where we met louise and renee. louise is from the UK and renee is from cali/seattle. they teach english in a small town on a fulbright scholarship and travel together on the weekends.
for dinner we ate couscous with sauteed vegetables and red wine while we shared pictures and stories. sophi and ari have this habit of inventing imaginary friends and boyfriends and they come up with “stories” and “events” about their relationships. they date canadian hockey players, naturally, and it is an absolute riot to listen to them one picture i showed them was a building along the promenade lit up at night. spontaneous sophie said let’s go!
and we were off, but not before stopped for gelato because now it is a tradition: when in nice, one must get gelato before going to the beach. it was in vieux nice, sitting on a bench with our sugar rush on a cone that we ran into louise and renee again. they had just left a bar and were unsure of their next move so we invited them to walk the beach with us.
so the five of us set out, and boy it was interesting! we got cat-calls in french amongst other languages. at one point a speeding car stopped right next to us and two men got out, one yelling in french “where are they? where are those men?” luckily the other one kept saying “they don’t know” then they left. very strange.
it really was a great night and i will be so sad to leave them. girls, you are so sweet. (sorry inside joke – not sure why it was so funny to us, but the note on the hostel fridge was talking about writing your name and departure date on your food so it would not get thrown away. at the end it said “you are so sweet” and then was signed by one of the employees.)
tomorrow it’s off to the little town of manoske to meet charisse who is kind enough to let me stay with her for a few days!