On Monday, we woke up refreshed after about 12.5 blissful hours of sleep. Eric rushed off to Cannes, about 35 kilometers southwest. Unfortunately, Eric had a hard time fining the correct road to Cannes and got lost yet again. Also, the traffic was really bad. He eventually made it, though quite late. His conference was only so-so, primarily because today’s program focused on facets that didn’t directly apply to him. On his way back to Nice, he again got lost.
Christi had a leisurely morning. She reviewed French vocabulary words, did a little work on the Internet for her Parentella job, and took a long bath (with no bathtub aboard Kosmos, baths are a rare luxury for her!) before setting off at 1100. Unlike yesterday, which was warm and sunny and full of people, today it was cool, overcast and almost deserted.
She walked west to the end of the boardwalk. The beach area didn’t continue for much farther past the Snack we’d eaten at last night. Beyond the beach was a very large marina, filled mostly with boats under 50 feet.
The boardwalk continued for the length of the marina, and except for three or four marine chandleries near the marina, pretty much every shop was a restaurant.
At the end of the boardwalk was a tourist information center. Christi went in and found out that our hotel isn’t really in Nice! We are staying in the town of Ville de Saint Laurent du Var. The agent gave her maps and told her how to get to Nice: go to the bus stop at the shopping mall near the hotel and catch the 200 bus. Piece of cake!
The area beyond the boardwalk looked primarily residential, so she turned around and took the boardwalk east. From this direction, she could see the airport runway clearly. Planes were constantly coming and going, with two planes on the run way most of the time–once there was even three!
The portion of boardwalk east of our hotel became completely residential. We got lucky when we headed west last night. Had we gone east, we would have thought there were no places to eat!
Christi came to the large indoor mall, which was located at the corner where the river met the ocean. The boardwalk goes around the backside of the mall, then turns north and follows the river. Christi turned back when she got to the river. She scouted out the bus stop, then took some side streets back to the hotel. Only commercial businesses were on these streets.
At noon on the button (when the restaurants finally opened!) she was back on the boardwalk to get lunch at a restaurant called Cafe Sud, whose menu she had eyed earlier. She noticed more people were out now, but it was still empty compared to yesterday’s crowd.
She ordered a prix-fixe meal. The first course was called Dolce Vita Salad. It had mixed greens topped with several slices of tender carpaccio (thin slices of raw beef), walnuts, kalmata olives, tomatoes, and a crostini with goat cheese. The dressing was creamy and had mustard and horseradish in it.
The main course was a filet of sole in a tarragon sauce. The sauce tasted like a basic cream sauce made with cream, butter and lots of fresh tarragon. The tarragon taste was strong, which she liked. It was accompanied with grilled zucchini and rice. For dessert, she got an apple tart. The base was pie crust, topped with a layer of thick cream (similar in texture to crÃ¨me brulee), a layer of apples and a sweet glaze over the top. It was dusted with powdered sugar and caramel and served warm. Lunch was to die for good.
Christi went back to the hotel and took a nap before walking over to the bus stop. The sign at the bus stop did not include bus number 200. Hmmm”¦. She asked a bus driver if this was the correct stop for 200 and he said yes. Another woman said “The 217 that just pulled up with take you to Nice. Get on that one.” So Christi did.
After passing the airport, the bus took a road paralleling the ocean. Christi noticed that the farther east the bus went, the older the buildings on the other side of the street were starting to look, like they dated back to the 19th and then 18th centuries. Many were ornate, and many were in the more traditional French architecture styles. She wasn’t sure exactly where to be dropped off, so she picked a stop that she hoped was the heart of town.
To be continued tomorrow…