Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 53: Nice is Nice

Last night was the closest to a normal night's sleep I've had in the past three days. It was well earned after my torturous scavenger hunt to find Yves' apartment. When I told Yves about how the crazy time I had finding his place he asked if I opened the text document which included his address, phone, and detailed directions. Oops.

When I arrived last night Yves was cheating on me with another Surfer. He was two timing! Double dipping! The other fellow was an Indian dude named Prashant. Prashant also had a rough past few days. He came from Marseille, where he was jumped and had his backpack stolen. Marseille as my next destination, this was startling. Good thing Yves had been nursing him back to health with his magic teas and cooking.

The next morning I experienced Yves' culinary mastery first hand. He made a classic French breakfast of baguette, butter, jam, and hot chocolate. I'm all about the jam – it's apricot ginger. He transforms fresh apricots from a tree at work into a jam so good you'll forget about Smuckers forever. My obsession with his jam was so extreme it became an inside joke.

After breakfast, Yves went to work and Prashant and I went out to explore Nice. The view from Yves' balcony had been teasing me all morning. Time to explore! We hopped on the #17 bus and headed down the Cimiez towards the seaside.

Nice is a gorgeous city even when the weather isn't perfect. Upon arriving in the city center, Prashant and I walked along the beach towards a look out point. There beach was empty except for a few folks doing odd stuff, like digging holes.

Smooth stones instead of sand – a natural foot massage!
The dynamic CouchSurfing duo!
The hill that we climbed to get a good view.

The views from the look-out point were stellar. Everywhere we went could have been in a post card. We could see over the sea and the whole city. I can't imagine what kind of mob scene the city becomes in the summer. It was so beautiful – I wanted to go swimming!

Postcards, I told you.
A building down below.
Nice and the sea.

The small hill that we were on offered a view of the harbor as well. We saw a ferry from Corsica doing an epic parallel parking docking maneuver. We joked about it crashing into the lighthouse "Sorry!"

I call this "Harbor With Cactus."
Soon I'll put all these panoramas online biiig.
*Crunch* Sorry about your lighthouse!
The ferry did a sort of flip-turn backup maneuver in order to dock.
These people spoke English with strange accents.
A phenomenal view from the top – complete with gift shop.
This funny dog couldn't see over the railing.

The cemetery was interesting. I told Prashant about the Lafayette Cemetery we saw in New Orleans. The crypt keeper from Nola told us that crypts were a French method of burial but we didn't see any here. Prashant was grossed out when I told him about how they reuse the crypts by scraping the decomposed remains to the back and then putting a new body in. In India everyone is cremated using a funeral pyre. I'd prefer to be buried.

No crypts in sight.

I really enjoyed Prashant's company. Traveling alone makes me appreciate when I have someone to walk around with and talk to. He was an excellent listener and carried on a good conversation. Having someone to take pictures of you was a novelty for me. He was excited and kept insisting I pose. We had a good time taking photographs of Nice and each other.

Compliments of Mr P.
A Ross Connard original photograph.

After the observation point we headed to Vieux Nice, the old part of the city. Many cities that I've seen so far have an old section preserved. They're commonly identified by windy, narrow streets, stuffed with shops. Vieux Nice is a charming area replete with tantalizing restaurants and lots to see. Throngs of people were all over the place and added an exciting air to the environment.

Vieux Nice was packed.
Never seen streets cleaned like this before.
The flowers smelled heavenly.

We wandered over towards the Christmas market. People were desperately hanging onto shreds of holiday cheer. I've really enjoyed seeing all the different Christmas markets in cities that I've been through. We came on a shop selling apples dipped in chocolate and coated with all sorts of goodies. I couldn't resist buying one! I eagerly incorporated the fake holly leaf into my hat.

I'll take 10.

Yes! I shared! Prashant never had a candy apple before.
Fall down and everyone will laugh.

Unfortunately Prashant had an early morning flight so we headed back to the apartment so he could get ready. He was much smarter than me and slept at the airport overnight – advice which I'll follow in the future. Before he left Yves made a delicious dinner. Dinner was amazing but finally getting a solid night's sleep was much better. Fun fun.

Au revoir!

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