Friday, 24 August 2012

Day 16 - Nice

War memorial, Nice
Our morning was spent in a three km circuit which took us along the foreshore to the Port of Nice. It was already hot by ten o'clock as we swept around the western headland of the long continuous beach which dominates the Nice sea front. Rounding the point, on the last of the Promenade de Anglais, the magnificent war memorial  erected in the early 1920's and inscribed further after WWII, came into view. 

The French government gave money to communities to honour their first world war dead and Nice, with more than 4000 victims of the conflict, created a serene memorial which has been built into the headland. I can think of only the Hall of Rememberence in Canberra for one which might surpass it. Being on the headland, it is visible out into the Mediterranean.

We bypassed most of the port - if you've seen a collection of expensive boats in Monte Carlo, there's no point looking elsewhere - and took a back road, through the shade, to the Place Garibaldi. Along the way, we passed some very high priced antique shops.

Nice fish market
After morning tea, taken among forty or fifty parked motor bikes - most of them scooters - we made our way back to the Place of Justice, back down the narrow streets where vendors stood waiting for our custom and the smells of lunch teased us. Halfway down the race, a small square opens onto the fish market, which operates six days a week. Like everything else in France, no one trades on a Sunday. To date, we have seen very few American franchises. Whether there is a connection, I don't know.

In the centre of the fish market, a fountain with three large fish sprouting water into the surrounding basin, marks the purpose of the small square. 

Beggars marked the start and finish of this long lane of small businesses. It's so difficult bypassing them but we have been warned often that to engage them is dangerous and raising the possibility of personal robbery, because standing nearby, someone sees where you retrieve your money from. Even so, it goes very much against our nature, so I prepared early and dropped some coins in his cloth cap so nonchalantly not even Sue noticed. His murmured merci bouquet brother left me ashamed.

Lunch was taken at our only return eatery of the week and this time we were served by an Englishman from Dorset. Having spent the previous week with a Kiwi, I figured they had similar interests. Great food again but they over priced us for the wine.

The sweep of beaches
We retreated to our air-conditioned room until the late afternoon. The domestic staff always leave the AC running when they make up the room, so we walked into an oversized Kelvinator and crashed on the bed. Late in the afternoon, we battled the heat to the beach, breaking small bones in our feet in an effort to make it to the water and floated there for an hour. Sue, who has quickly adjusted to the local customs, got the kit off once she reached the deep water..

We returned to our room only just in time to field a frantic phone call from son Sam, who had been subjected to a phone scam. At the other end of the line, a voice speaking in another language went on and on and by the third phone call trying to reach us, with Sam unable to communicate, he was worried that something had happened to us. At 2:00am, its not surprising he took the speaker for French. After trying my mobile, which would have been ringing helplessly on the desk in our room, he eventually caught us on the hotel phone as we walked into the room. Poor lad had received a terrible fright.

We turned the room upside down tonight because Sue had lost a white top. It wasn't expensive but she wanted to wear it under a lovely sheer white dress she bought yesterday. After looking in every conceivable place and even discussing whether the domestic staff might have inadvertently taken it with the towels, Sue discovered it hanging in the wardrobe, under the white dress. There's just nothing I can add. 

The opera is in town tonight and a tenor is shaking our windows from next door. Meanwhile, a busker is standing on the corner telling the world that her boots are made for walking. 

I wish they would.

Back to Paris tomorrow.

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