Day 18 – Nice

Posted on July 14, 2017

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Today was Bastille Day, and an interesting day it was. There was a bit of a solemn, tense mood throughout the city, rather than the usual celebratory festivities and fireworks, due to the terrorist attack in Nice last year on this day.

This year they had some serious security on the streets, including police and military personnel.

Our day started with a breakfast at the hotel, before walking down to the beach area, where we believed most of the events were taking place.

We went first to Quai des Etats-Unis, where they were handing out coloured square tiles to lay out in a large formation to spell out the phrase Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité in large letters, to be read/photographed from above. Each tile also contained the 86 names of the victims of the attack last year. It was nice to be a part of that homage.

We then walked up the main street along the coast, seeing all of the messages, flowers and tributes to the victims along the way.

There were however still lots of people out on the streets, walking, chatting, swimming at the beach, and still enjoying the day as best they could in the presence of armed forces.

We decided to stop into a cafe to get some water (and shade), as the sun was relentless. We got a snack too (I had some Nutella crepes). It was nice to just spend some time looking out over the main street, listening to the surprisingly on-point music from the cafe.

After a while, we walked down around the beach some more, and settled down in the shade of a tree to rest once the heat got to us again. Once we had recovered, we walked up the street a bit to where they had fenced off the street and a large crowd of people were lining the barricades. We assumed this was going to be where a parade/march of some sort was scheduled.

It was meant to start at 4:30pm, but we waited a while and nothing seemed to be happening. It was hard to figure out what/where/when events were on since everything was in French (surprisingly). Just as we were losing hope, some jets flew overhead, leaving blue, white and red smoke trails.

Soon after, military troops marched through the street to applause, but they soon walked past and seemingly nothing else was happening. There was supposed to be an appearance by President Macron, which is why most people were waiting around there, but after some more waiting, we were told it was too late and he would not be coming anymore.

We later found out he did come to Nice though and give a speech, but it was in another area, and later in the day I believe. Would have been better if we had a better idea of the day’s schedule, but oh well. It was dinner time anyway. We walked a bit and found a Greek restaurant which looked good. And it was. Also there was this dog just chilling in the middle of the street.

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel briefly to refresh, before walking to the venue where they were having a concert (orchestra and choir), which was actually the same park we visited on our first day here (with the water spraying fountain things). We didn’t have much of a view of the stage, but there were screens we could watch, and could still listen.

There was a solid chunk of speeches to begin with (I think that’s what they were, hard to tell when you don’t speak French). After a while of this, the orchestra began to play, which was nice classical music. We didn’t stay until the end as the others were tired and wanted to head back, as we have to get up super early tomorrow.

I actually didn’t get too many photos today, as there weren’t many great opportunities, but I did get a lot more video which was nice. Tomorrow we wake up early to catch our flight to Prague.


Day 17 – Nice

Posted on July 13, 2017

Food, glorious food.

We spent the day in Nice, hanging around locally for the most part. The women wanted to have a shopping day, so I took the opportunity to sleep in and relax, before meeting them nearby for lunch.

The restaurant we decided on was one street over and was highly recommended, plus I hadn’t eaten since dinner last night, so I was primed and ready.

They offered a three course meal option (appetiser, main, dessert) for a very reasonable price, so I happily made my selections and awaited the food. I indulged in the Gnocchi with Truffle Cream for starters, moving on to my main meal of sliced beef with roasted potatoes, before finishing with Profiteroles with Ice Cream.

If you know me, you know I love food, and eating, and eating a lot. Yet I was very nearly defeated by the sheer quantity of food I was served. Each dish had a very generous portion, and was extremely tasty. In the end, I barely made it through, but was full to the brim.

In case you hadn’t realised yet, I didn’t do anything too interesting today, so I’m just talking about the food in greater detail than you probably care for. Anyway, it was good.

After that, the women continued their shopping, and Dad and I walked to the Chagall museum. I didn’t know who Chagall was, but there was some interesting paintings and sculptures to admire – plus it was air conditioned, which was a lifesaver in this heat.

After our time there, we walked back to the main street, stopping into the Notre-Dame church for a bit, before returning to our hotel. Oh and on the way back, I picked up the McCree POP! you saw above, as I thought it’d be nice to buy something at least from here, as a sort of souvenir.

A nice calm day, but always good to have a few of those to break up the intense chaos of other days. Also tomorrow is Bastille Day, so it’s going to be a big one. Depending on what time we get back tomorrow night, I might not be able to get the blog up that night, as there’ll surely be a lot of photos to process and upload, so it may be delayed a bit.

Until then.

Day 16 – Monaco

Posted on July 12, 2017

Who you think you kidnapped? Chelsea Carter?

Today we travelled to Monte-Carlo in Monaco (by train) to spend the day and look around. Oh did I say train? I meant hellish-sweat-box. Once we were reacquainted with oxygen, we went and had lunch at Valentin, where I had some delicious roast chicken. From there, we went down to the coast, where there is of course the Monte-Carlo Casino and some surrounding nice areas. It’s definitely a rich city, with a lot of people driving around them fancy million-dollar cars. But nice to visit and check out the area.

There was also a nearby Japanese Garden randomly, which is sort of just there among the city, which is a pleasant calm place, if you ignore the sounds of traffic.

After that we decided to head back to Nice, so we could get our laundry done and have a rest before going out for dinner. Which is precisely what we did.

Mum wanted to try a Lebanese restaurant tonight, which I was happy about. I found a good one near Old Town, about 15mins away. It was in a nice street, with a good atmosphere, some old buildings, the setting sun and a bar next door with live music which we were able to enjoy too.

We ordered a few dishes to share (their menu had so much choice – all the classics), and were soon eating some quality Lebanese food, which I didn’t realise I had missed so much. A great day for food.

Then we walked home, stopping briefly to watch the street performers, including a sizable group of people doing what I think was dance-fighting, which was cool. Tomorrow will be a less interesting day I predict, as the women want to spend it shopping, so I will likely sleep in and take it easy. Maybe go somewhere new in the afternoon? We shall see.

Day 15 – Nice

Posted on July 11, 2017

Very Nice.

The first half of our day was fairly uninteresting, involving us packing and travelling from Cannes to Nice via train, then checking into the hotel etc.

We did however walk around the local area to get a sense of the location and city, as well as stopped for lunch at a café. The main street in Nice leading to the city centre reminded me a lot of the main street in Dublin – a very wide road, with trams running down the middle, shops and restaurants either side, people everywhere. Nice definitely feels larger and more spacious than Cannes, which had tighter streets, and felt a bit more residential.

After our little local venture, our rooms were ready and we were able to check in and have a bit of a rest. Mid-afternoon we headed back out (Cherri wasn’t feeling well so stayed behind) and went to a park in the city. It was nice to walk through and was a refreshing change from the surrounding city.

From there we continued on towards Castle Hill, which is a larger park, situated on a hill overlooking Nice, with panoramic views of the city and coastline. It took some time to find the right way and then climb all the stairs up, but we were treated to some pretty awesome views.

We spent a bit of time up there, before heading back down to find somewhere to get dinner. There is apparently a lift which you can use to avoid all the stairs, but it was closed.

No matter – back down we went and found a nice looking restaurant which was incredibly busy, which is always a good sign, so we sat down and ate there. I didn’t see the name of the place, but it was tucked away a bit in a small street, so didn’t seem like an obvious touristy place.

We enjoyed our meal as the sun began to set, and had a pleasant conversation with a young couple sitting next to us who were travelling from London.

We had a chat ‘n’ a laugh.