Thursday 23 July 2009
After a slow awakening we walked the short distance to the bus stop on the Port, today we were going to Eze-Bord sur Mer. The fare anywhere along the route, which went as far as Menton, was one Euro, amazing!
We soon found our way to the beach, which is public, by crossing the railway line that you weren't supposed to cross but everyone did. We followed a little lane down to the beach. This was where most of the grandest houses were and Debbi and I recognised Bono's house. We walked along the fairly busy pebbly beach and found a nice vacant spot in front of it. The house is literally backing onto the beach and the outside areas appeared to be not very high above it, not that private really and we occasionally could hear people talking up there.
After that we headed back for the bus stop as time was getting on and we were eating out that night. I think we were both ready to leave Monaco, neither of us were enamoured with it.
Me and Debbi at Le Barbecue, Nice Old Town
After the meal we walked to the sea front and promenaded like everyone else was. It was windy but it was warm, the palm trees rustled, the cicadas "chirped" and the waves broke on the rocky shoreline. The lights of Nice swept in an arc around the bay, people walked, sat in huddles on the beach, played music, no drunks, no hassle it was lovely. We walked on past the war memorial, lit up with the colours of the French flag and along the quays of the Port. It too looked almost unreal with all the lights dancing on the water and shiny decks and hulls of the luxury yachts. I don't know what it was, but you know every now and then you get a time when everything seems perfect? Well that evening was like that for me, good food and wine, great company, a beautiful place to walk around, simple things really, but all together they made such a special evening for me. Nice has captured my heart and I can't wait until I go back there again.
So that's it, my time in Nice. I've written these articles quickly as I wanted to get them done before I have a whole load of other stuff to share about Dublin - I'm off there this Friday. So please forgive any typos or bad grammar.
Tuesday 21 July 2009
We stayed in the apartment this morning as we were waiting for Julie's case to be delivered. It duly arrived at 12:30, and Julie was delighted to be reunited with her belongings. After she'd had time to sort out a bit we decided to go into the centre of nice and do a sightseeing trip. The tram we were going to get left from Place Garibaldi, but on our way we saw a gorgeous patisserie/chocolatier shop - we just had to indulge! And boy, the little expensive cakes were works of art beautiful to look at, subtlety flavoured and worth every Euro.
After that diversion we finally got to the tram stop. We thought you bought the tickets on board but we'd missed seeing the ticket machine on the platform. Luckily an inspector didn't get on during the short journey. The fare was 1.30E to any destination, very cheap and the trams were modern and left every six minutes.
We got off at Place Massena, a very large square just off the Promenade des Anglais. We knew where the tour started from and we walked there. We sat on the top of the open decked bus and set off. First we headed back the way we had come, past the Old Town and Port and onto the road that does a loop around Mount Boron on the Cap de Nice. There were some fabulous mansions in the hills over looking the Port including one that was very eccentric looking, Indian influenced and had been built by an Englishman. The views down to the Port and city were wonderful.
We went round and back towards the city and up into the Cimiez area where there was a Matisse museum. We continued on and heard about all the aristocratic Russians who had moved to Nice at the time of the revolution and many built very grand homes. There is even a beautiful Russian cathedral in the city that we passed by.
Finally we drove along the famous Promenade des Anglais, so named because it was built by the British. To be honest I was a little disappointed in it. The pebbly beach was covered with sunbathers crammed together like sardines, you wouldn't get me on there! We passed the famous Hotel Negreso, a lovely building that is still as exclusive as it was originally intended to be.
After the trip we walked back up to Place Massena. We had the most delicious Italian ice cream ever, mmm. Nice was once part of Italy and only ceded to France in 1860 so there is a strong Italian influence in architecture and food. Nice has it's own language, Nicard, that is being resurrected. All the street signs are in both French and Nicard, the latter bearing a strong similarity to Italian.
We went into the famous Galeries Lafayette store. It wasn't as grand as the one in Paris but still large and bustling as the sales were on. We spent ages searching for the toilet there and eventually had to ask and found it hidden away in little corridor.
We walked on along Ave Jean Medecin, Nice's main shopping street and wandered into a few shops. It was tempting to buy things but after all we had spent on the U2 tour we were quite sensible for once and didn't buy anything! We noticed lots of signs everywhere offering U2 tickets for sale.
After a while we got the tram back to Place Garibaldi (paid this time!) and walked home. We were eating in tonight and I was cook. Afterwards we sat and chatted. There was no TV in the apartment which I found really good, it encouraged us to communicate more. We did quizzes and had some good laughs.
Tuesday 14th July 2009
On the sightseeing trip the guide had said that there was a lift to the top of Castel Hill close to our apartment so we decided to explore there. We found the lift ok and soon were up at the top of the hill, which was the original settlement of Nice. It was an oasis up there, lots of cool shade from the abundant vegetation, a large waterfall the spray of which was very welcome! Play areas for kids, a cafe, shops, lots of seats and fabulous views down over the city and sweep of the bay on one side and the Port on the other. It was quite windy so even in the sun the heat wasn't too overpowering.
Afterwards we walked back via the Port and saw boat trips advertised so decided to go on one. They told us that because of the wind the trip might not go but we put our name down and were told to be back by 14:40.
We went to an Irish pub on the other side of the Port for a late lunch which was very good. The boat trip was on and soon we were sailing on the slightly rough Mediterranean. The route took us around Cap de Nice in the horseshoe bay and Villefranche sur Mer. It was beautiful, mansions littered the hillsides, the bay was full of boats, some very luxurious and even a cruise ship. The guide pointed out the luxury homes of the likes of Bill Gates, Mick Jagger and Tina Turner. The rich know where to live!
Photos: Promenade des Anglais and Nice Villefranche sur Mer
We did a loop in the bay and then sailed back towards Nice before turning and following the Promenade des Anglais back to the Port. It's always nice to see a place like this from the sea, you see a whole new perspective.
Monday 20 July 2009
The apartment manager, a chatty Australian called Mike, was waiting for us. We entered the large, old green double doors into the stairwell which was tiled and had grand marble stairs, very French. Unfortunately we were at the top of the 65 stairs, but we somehow managed to haul our cases up.
We walked out of Vieux Nice and onto the seafront beside Castel Hill. We stopped for a rest at the beautiful war memorial that was built into the rock of the hill as our arms were aching, we were weary and very hungry. By now it was dark, but we could see the Port now and knew our ordeal was nearly over. Soon we were plodding up the marble steps to the apartment.
Sunday 19 July 2009
Stuck In A Moment.... was next dedicated to, "Another Michael". It was really good to hear this song again and it was performed so well.
Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Stand By Me (snippet)
Desire / Billie Jean (snippet) / Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (snippet)
Vertigo, Let's Dance (snippet) /
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
View of Nice Port from the Castel
The cakes were a work of art, almost too nice to eat, absolutely delicious!
Tuesday 14 July 2009
Wednesday 8 July 2009
Thursday 2 July 2009
This apparently is called an Electronic Press Kit and it has surfaced on the Net. It shows snippets from the first night opener in Barcelona, great panoramic views of the stadium and claw, fans, the band, Willie Williams. There also seems to be parts of a new U2 song 9which is a bit Fez-like)at the beginning and end of the video, interesting. The video is official and is very good, well filmed and gives a bit of the feel of what it must be like to be at a 360 gig.