The weathermen in the UK described it better than I could. "Although the summer of 2012 was predicted to be the hottest on record, instead we have had the coldest, wettest, and least sun during a summer on record"! As a result Mark and I decided to make sure that we had a real summer even it was just a short one. So we returned to the internet (our favorite travel agent) and started searching. Mark was on flights and I was on accommodation: destination Nice,France. For me it would be a first visit, for Mark a return to familiar grounds. This time rounds we shunned expedia and hotel site. In fact in general we have decided to not stay in hotels again, unless there really is not other choice. So I went on to Housetrip.com and after a bit of searching found a great little apartment in central Nice. It was within walking distance of the Gare du Nice (5 min) and only a 10 min walk to the beach. A modern lovely little flat with massive french windows with a Juliette balcony, a little kitchen kitted out with everything your heart could ever desire in a kitchen, lovely touches of home, books, simple, clean modern, fabulous! All this for the same price of a budget hotel. The only thing it didn't have was A/C but the host did provide with two large and powerful fans. All booked up we then began practicing our French phrases.
Arriving in Nice about 3 weeks later we were greeted with clear blue skies, azure blue sea, and hot sunshine! Landing was interesting as the runway is pretty much on the beach so up until just two seconds before touch down it looks like you are going to land in the Med! YIKES! Once again with my Canadian passport I collected a stamp while Mark only got a cursory glance and a wave through! hehe! We headed to the public bus, getting our tickets and taking out seat. Soon we were off. We drove down the promenade de anglais towards city centre. The sea sparkling on our left. So blue! It only took about 15-20min to get to the train station at which point we then began walking. We missed the street the first time, but soon righted our mistake. And found ourselves a bit early to the apartment and meeting point with the host. So we perched on the seats and had a bit of lunch; at 10:45. In our defense we had been up since 3am when we had breakfast.
The host was lovely, and quickly and efficiently showed us the apartment, all of the extra that she provided. Then was on her way to recover from her night shift. We quickly unpacked and then headed out to explore. Mark was tour guide and I was photographer! After a few false starts from my tour guide we made it to the flower market and out to the beach front. From there we climbed to the top of the old castle/fort ruins for the views of the beach and the town.
From there we spied one of the boats that Mark used to work on. What are the chances...which we later visited. We also discovered a man made waterfall impressive for it size given it it on the top of a cliff with very little natural water sources that we could see.
After visiting the yacht that Mark used to work on rather than going up all those steps again, we walked round the front taking in the war memorial and the view of the sea! So pretty! We then wound our way through a bit of the old town were we discovered a lovely ice cream shop. Yummy. This was to be come a regular daily treat regards of which bit of southern France we were in. A daily ice cream cone! So tasty.
After our treat it was back to the apartment for a bit of a rest. As we had been up for ages and had walked quite a few miles already. So we rested, found a food shop, made a bit of supper and then as the sun was setting headed out for a night time adventure. I had forgotten how much I love the night culture of these sorts of towns. The place was thriving the restaurants all tables spilling on to the cobbled streets that were pedestrianized. Each restaurant had different colored chairs so you could easily identify one from the other. so that other would find you and you were sure to remember where you had been. Families and couples strolled taking the lovely aroma's and the music that enticed you towards a chair of some colour....any colour. Shops remained open hoping for a bit more custom from those who wait until the cool of the evening to come out to look for a new pair of sandals or a post card to send home. The Flower Market had been transformed into a large out door seating area for the retuarant that during the day border the flowers. Artists, acrobats and buskers amuse those out for a walk as well as those enjoy a fresh french meal served under the stripped canvas of the flower market, a short walk from the sea. The grey pebbles of the beach had turned silver in the moonlight and people sat by the sea watching the waves crash in or trying to take a picture of the reflection of the moon on the sea. It was beautiful. I wanted to stay out all night. But even with a nap in the afternoon eventually we made our way back.