Friday, July 31, 2009


Saturday, July 31st, 2004 Nice, France

After sending our journal yesterday, we went out for our final walk around L’Isle sur la Sorgue. Watched the locals playing in the water throughout the city. Spent some time at the boating club observing members challenging each other in the flat boats and sat for a while listening to singers doing short routines for mike checks for the concert tonight in the town square.

This morning we were up at the crack of dawn and ready to leave by the time we had breakfast at 7:15 am. The newspapers and television news shows were full of reports of major traffic for the Autoroutes towards the south as people started out on their traditional August vacations this weekend. When we stopped at the rest area after the first hour it was full of people still sleeping in their cars. Traffic was heavy but not impossible.

When we opened the instruction book from the car agency to verify the procedure for returning the car this morning at the Nice Airport we discovered that we were suppose to have made a reservation four days ago. Opps…guess we’ll stop by on the way in to Nice to see how we can overcome this slight problem. The plan had been to drive to the hotel; drop the luggage and then go to the airport. (When we leave from Nice we will be using the train for the Italy portion of our trip). Airport traffic was bumper to bumper. Accidentally got into the “Kiss and Leave” (that’s exactly what the sign said) and that took even more time. Finally parked; went inside to the return counter and Jim worked his magic charm. Never mentioned that we didn’t have an appointment; requested the gate code (that we were supposed to have received when we got our appointment four days earlier) and when the guy couldn’t find our name in the appointment book; Jim said we’d be back in a hour as we needed to take our luggage to the hotel in Nice prior to leaving the car. Worked perfect! The clerk slotted us in for the noon appointment.

By noon the luggage was at the hotel, the car had been returned to Peugeot and we were on the bus back to Nice. After getting checked in to the hotel and a short nap; we put on our swimsuits and headed for the beach with our bamboo mats and beach shoes. The beaches here are rocks…shoes are very important! Advantage is that you don’t have sand sticking all over you; disadvantage is that the rocks can be rather firm! But we enjoyed our hour in the sun (that was about all we could take) and even the novelty of the topless ladies all around us soon wore off.

Back to the hotel, we’re about four blocks from the beach; rested up a bit before dressing and then headed for the local Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral for Saturday evening Mass at 5:15 pm. From there we walked another mile and visited the Russian Orthodox Cathedral; very ornate and beautiful inside and out with extensive use of gold leafing plus onion shaped turrets. They were in the process of chanting their Vesper Service while we were there. Checked the train station on the way home and then had a wonderful dinner at our favorite restaurant from the 2002 trip. Walked to the promenade along the beach by way of the old center and enjoyed an evenings’ stroll for about six blocks. The English tourist who didn’t like walking on the rocky beach to enjoy the view built the first promenade; it was built of marble. Today it’s concrete and asphalt. Swimmers still dotted the beach and ocean; bicycle riders, skate boarders and roller blade pros were streaming down the bicycle section as other just strolled along as we were; enjoying the sights and sounds of an evening in Nice. We had street musicians entertaining us; a magnificent evening sky and a mixture of language sounds surrounding us as we enjoyed our evening walk before heading back to the hotel.

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