Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nice! Beautiful South of France...

*sigh* First, I have to apologize in advance for the detail... part of the reason I wanted to create a blog was so I could look back and recall memories and lessons I've learned... so, I'm going to try to get as much captured as possible. :)

This summer has been really great... but it's also been tiring. The time I spent with the family I work for was, for the most part, really successful. I was able to spend more time and one-on-one time with Aedan (he'll be returning to school when they get back from Iowa). I met some really lovely people. I experienced le Tour de France. I got to go to the pool a fair amount. I moved into this amazing apartment and was able to spend lots of Sundays with good friends. Looking back, I had a really good summer. How better to end a really good summer than with a really good holiday? ...make that the perfect holiday.
The picture above is my favorite beach photo taken in Nice. Everything was perfect. I went with my friend Amanda, from North Carolina. Thankfully, we were in the same mindset of what the holiday needed to consist of: relaxation. And that's exactly what we did.

Wednesday morning we got up at 5 and drove to the airport to catch our flight at 6:40. Little did we know, we had to leave from the French side of the airport (as opposed to the Swiss side). Makes sense... just didn't cross our minds. So we get to the EasyJet kiosks and our flight wasn't an option. After hunting someone down to explain why our flight wasn't available we discovered we needed to be on the French side. We get to the French side and have the same problem, only this time, there's no one there to help us. Argh. The lady we asked to help us told us we were too late (EasyJet doesn't wait if you're late) we explained to her we had been there for 15 minutes trying to check in (obviously unsuccessfully). She must have had pity on us or something because she then helped us get checked in and we did make it to our flight. (We weren't the only ones who had this trouble.) We thanked God for getting us on the flight and on our way down to Nice. We were fully expecting to just have to catch a bus or make fun here in Geneva.
The flight was the first perfect thing of the trip. I hadn't slept much the night before as I was excited and had lots to do (wrapping up other things I had been doing the previous few weeks), so when I dozed off and woke up over the coast of the French Riviera, I was on cloud nine. We got to the airport and had a little trouble finding the bus to get us into town. We did eventually and asked the driver which stop we needed to get off at to get to our hotel. He told us and we were on the lookout, but didn't register until after he'd pulled away from the stop. He stopped the bus in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and told us this was where we needed to get out and that our hotel was just up the road (just know this is NOT something that would happen in Geneva/France - here the drivers don't even wait for you if you're right outside the door!) We were so impressed and pleased.

We got to our hotel and had to ring the doorbell. The man who runs it answered the door with sleep lines all over his face and definitely disoriented. We couldn't check in quite yet as it was only 8:30 or so, but he did let us leave our bags while we went to the market.
The market was great. There were probably 50 different salts! (Even lavender salt! ^ Lavender is HUGE in the South of France.) I have been looking for whole nutmeg for months and finally found that down at the market. During the day there's a produce and flower market and at night the old town comes alive with an arts and crafts market! Both are amazing and beautiful.

After the market we explored the beach. With little sleep the night before we decided a café crème was appropriate. (Above: the lovely Amanda!) We found a little cafe across from the beach and enjoyed our coffee and talked about how amazing it is that we're living in France. Needless to say, this was a highlight for me.

We made it back to our hotel and settled in then set off to explore the beach! It is so beautiful!! The water is this breathtaking blue - unreal! We went sea kayaking and then swam in the water. Did you know the salt helps you to float? It was so much fun!
Wednesday night we went out and ended up having dinner at this cute Indian restaurant. On the way we met Michael from Belgium (blonde in the front) and he organized a super random photo as you can see. One of the best things of this holiday was that everyone there was on holiday... so everyone was happy! People didn't mind being bothered just to chat. :)

Thursday was a great day for meeting people. We met some Canadians on our way to the market. Some delightful Brits (above from left: Carole Ann, moi, Jim, and Dot) at lunch and a cute Irish couple at dinner! Then we met up with a friend from chruch who was biking through to Corsica with a friend of his from home (New Zealand).
We had so much fun Wednesday sea kayaking, we decided we'd go back for more. Only this time we decided to parasail... it was AMAZING! It was like a dream! We had the most incredible veiw of the coast and of this breathtaking water I mentioned earlier. Just cruising. The driver of the boat dipped us in the water every once in a while, which I enjoyed, but Amanda was just being dragged across the water... less enjoyable. :-/ At one point we were sailing up there and a cruise ship was beneath us, so we waved while the whole ship waved back at us... it was like we were in a movie or something! *sigh* Did I mention it was amazing?! Haha. Then we just enjoyed the beach and eventually made it to a lookout for the sunset. For dinner we found a restraunt called "Pasta Basta". YUM. Amanda and I both got gnocchi, Amanda had hers with a 4 fromage sauce and I had a basic tomato sauce. This is where we met the couple from Ireland. They were super cute too! After dinner we met up with our friend Michael and his friend Jeff, we introduced them to the famous Finocchio's ice cream shop. They've got more than 100 flavors of ice cream including avacado, black olive, tomato basil... seriously. I didn't try any of those... but I did have my fair share. :)
Friday was kind of bittersweet. We were still in paradise, but we knew our return to reality was approaching quickly. :( We made the best of it. We had these yummy salads for lunch, just chef salads at a little place called "Granny's". We made our way to the Marc Chagall museum. It was really great, unfortunately I didn't have my ID on me, so I couldn't recieve the under 26 discount OR the audio commentary. I loved that the photos they had of him and his family they were all smiling. I think of Frida Kahlo and Picasso and the depressing lives they lead, but this Chagall seemed to really enjoy his life and used his gift of creativity to share that joy with others.
This is a photo of his piece called "L’Arche de Noé " or "Noah's Ark". Chagall chose to paint the inside of the Ark rather than its construction. "The meaning of this biblical episode is in the gathering of humanity and its delivery, arranged by God, to a new life, cleansed by the anticipation of a baptism: the Flood." I think it's so great how he focused on the new birth of humanity after the flood. I love a change of perspective. :)

After the Chagall museum we made our way back to the beach for a final farewell. We also made a pitstop (or two...) for some more ice cream before returning to reality. Here's a photo of my favorite place we found ice cream. It was fluffy and perfectly delicious... not to mention beautiful!
Goodbye, Nice. Until next time. :)

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