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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nice la Belle, vous me manquerez.

11:31 pm CET

The past two days have been really great; the weather wasn't too hot or too cold and the sun was shining bright. Yesterday I did some more exploring. I had hoped to go to Monaco so I could visit the Monte Carlo casino, Port d'Hercule, the Prince's Palace, and the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, but--due to the strikes--none of the trains were running. I was a little disappointed, but I quickly got over it and started making new plans. I had remembered to bring my book with me, so I set off for the beach, where I found a comfortable place to read. After quite a few chapters, I decided to appease my growling stomach and find a place to eat. I chose a beach café so I could still hear the sea, and I had my first authentic croque-monsieur. It's basically a glorified ham and cheese sandwich (very kosher, I know), but they are soooo goooood. The sauce is perhaps a tiny bit too rich for my tastes, but it was delicious nonetheless.

After lunch and some more reading, I made my way up castle hill to walk around the ruins of the medieval château. Most of the hill has been converted into a park, so there were several locals and families up there along with the tourists. I slowly meandered through the whole site, going up the tower and back down again, taking in the panoramic vistas and smell of the sea. I had planned to stay up there till sunset, but the park closed at six, so everyone got kicked out. I practically ran down the hill so I wouldn't miss the sunset (I got very lost trying to find my way through the Old Town), and I eventually made it out and back to the Promenade des Anglais just in time to watch the sun sink below the horizon. I had some tasty seafood for dinner, and then I returned contentedly to my hotel.

Today was just as relaxed as yesterday, thought not as warm. I slept in and chilled in my room till two; I didn't want to go out until I had printed my boarding passes for tomorrow, and I couldn't access them until 2:00pm. Once I had them, though, I left and found a restaurant near Place Masséna at which to eat lunch. I ordered completely in French and it made me very proud of myself, haha. Following my meal, I went back to Vieux Nice (the Old Town) so I could find the pirate-themed candy shop that I had discovered the other day. My first try I went in a gigantic circle, but on the second try I successfully retraced my steps and found it again. I bought some candy (they had gummy octopi! YAY!!!) and walked back to the Promenade des Anglais, where I sat near the sundial viewing platform and picked up my reading where I had left off yesterday. I read till sunset and then walked back to the place where I had eaten lunch (I had been torn between two dishes, so for dinner I had the one I didn't eat earlier) and ordered some lamb stew over penne à la niçoise. I was so happy that I went back because it may or may not have been the best meal I've ever had. Ever. Delicious doesn't even start to cover how good it was. And the proverbial icing on top of my dinner's cake was some tiramisu for dessert... I think it goes without saying that this was the perfect last meal of my Nice vacation.

Following my beyond-excellent dinner, I returned, stuffed and happy, to my hotel. On the way, I encountered a clown making balloon animals, a street performer playing Debussy on a piano, and a group of at least twenty people all dressed up in costumes, many of which were hilariously politically incorrect (there was a Robin Hood, five Laurences of Arabia [at least, I think that's what they were supposed to be], four cavemen, a Native American chief, a disco dancer [complete with afro wig], two hippies, two Jedi, and six woodland fairies). When I made it back and was safely in my room, I made a cup of nice, warm tea and I am now settled comfortably in bed, enjoying some much-needed rest after the past few days of exploration and discovery. Tomorrow I get up early, check out, and grab a cab to the airport...

It's been wonderful, Nice. Maybe we'll see each other again someday, but, for now, I bid thee a fond farewell. Au revoir!

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