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Every once in a while I start a story with “when I was in south France for a week”. And then I feel pretentious. I’m not. I don’t think so anyway. Now I’m having some self-doubt. Anyway, whatever, I really did spend a fantastic eight days in Nice once and the experience left a big mark. I’ll pick up here where I left off in my last post and tell you about the day and a half my mom and I spent together in the French Riviera. It is my sincere wish that each and every one of you is able to spend time there once in your life, and if you do, you might be interested to know a few activities to fill your time, other than drink all the Rosé.
Fresh air and exercise are a cure-all for a whole lot of ailments, including jet-lag. My mom had just arrived, so we set out early with our running shoes on that first morning together and got our heart rates up, climbing the hundreds of stairs ascending the Colline du Chateau hill. Don’t let the name fool you, the castle itself is long gone, and the area is full of history that I absolutely do not remember. Whoops. The views of the sea, the port and the red rooftops of Nice were well-worth the climb. I don’t know how they do it, but I swear the Mediterranean actually glows.
We rewarded our exercise, as all exercise should be rewarded, with chocolate croissants and coffee, changed our clothes, walked around the port and through Old Town to the train station, where we hopped on a train to Cannes. In Cannes we hopped on a ferry boat and took a 15 minute ride to the Ile Sainte-Marguerite, one of two of the Iles des Lerin. One of the most famous prisoners of all time, the Man in the Iron Mask, was imprisoned in the fort on this island. But walking along the tree-lined paths in total serenity, you couldn’t help but feel peaceful, free, and a world away from the busy glamour of the Riviera. Should I ever return to this region, I’d like to go back and visit the other island, where cloistered monks tend a vineyard and turn out award winning vin.
The regional train hugs the coast and on our return to Nice we stopped in Antibes for happy hour. We carried a tradition home that day; my mom and I still have “French” happy hour, which consists of wine (Rosé preferred) and plain, greasy potato chips. As that is the standard pre-dinner table snack we were presented throughout our trip. After another late supper in the Cours Saleya we called it a day. Some days feel like time extends itself, I’m certain there were more than 24 hours in this one.
In the morning we packed up and a local friend met us for cappuccinos before kindly giving us a ride to the airport. On the way, she pointed out the hospital where Angelina Jolie “ffffft”, which, along with a hand gesture mimicking an airplane taking off, roughly translates to “gave birth”. As our plane took off, headed toward Rome and the next chapter of our mother-daughter trip, I looked down over Corsica and started daydream-planning my one-day return.