The first thing we accomplished was the Rick Steves walk of Nice…the “scratch & sniff” walk actually. Our tour began in Cours Saleya, Nice’s main market square. The first part of the square consists of the Riviera’s largest flower market. The rest of the square is dedicated to a lovely produce market, which we took full advantage of. These are always the most interesting places to people watch. You end up with a mix of tourists and locals all going about their own business, which makes for entertaining interactions and, occasionally, confusion. Then there are the stalls themselves, exploding with fresh veggies, local & exotic fruit and multitudes of nuts & dehydrated goodies.
Along our tour route we passed a small church dedicated to St. Rita, the patron saint of desperate causes. This sacred center holds a special place in local’s hearts and this is the most popular church in Nice, despite it’s diminutive size.
Upon completing the walk we climbed to the top of Castle Hill. It was a good hike but we were rewarded with some great views of Nice, the Mediterranean, expensive boats and the Alps in the distance. The city of Nice was first settled here by the Greeks in 400 BC. In the Middle Ages, a massive castle stood atop it’s central hill. For some reason, Louis XIV leveled the castle in 1706 so today there isn’t much left on the hill other than great views.
After looking into Nice’s attractions, we decided to visit the Chagall Museum. This is a modern art museum, which would definitely be something we haven’t done yet on this trip. The walk there was an experience enough. You had to keep going up random tiny staircases and take so many right turns that you feel as if you had to be walking in squares. But eventually we did arrive. The museum was built in honor of Marc Chagall, who painted 17 large murals designed for, and donated to, this museum. These paintings, inspired by the Old Testament, are done in a modern style, but still look like paintings. We liked this…it wasn’t one of those modern art places where you are staring at things that you don’t even know what they are. When we entered we were given free audio guides. These were awesome! They described each of the 17 biblical pieces; telling us both what was being portrayed and facts about the techniques used. It made everything so much more meaningful! Here’s pictures of a few of our favorite pieces from both the biblical wing and the special exhibit entitled Cirque!
A million left turns later we had returned to the beach from our museum. Perched on some rocks we ate a snack lunch of baguette, strawberries and grapes from the morning’s market. It was great to be so close to the water and able to hear the waves splashing. Of course we couldn’t resist doing some splashing ourselves. We got our feet a little wet and did a little wave chasing like we were little children. The ocean (or Mediterranean) really is a novelty for people who live in a land-locked place like us.
And one last photo for those of you who really know us and, considering we were at the beach, are expecting this:
The Promenade des Anglais is a four-mile-long paved walkway raised slightly above the rocky beaches. This pathway was full of casual strollers, runners, bikers and roller bladers. We couldn’t imagine how busy it would be in the middle of summer. This ‘walkway of the English’ was financed by wealthy English tourists who wanted a safe place to stroll and admire the view without walking on the rough rocks. We appreciated the solid ground as we strolled the majority of the stretch. While we walked & took intermittent “stop & enjoy the view” breaks we played the random facts game. In reality it’s not much of a game, but that’s what Kristin calls it. It involves thinking of the most random facts you possibly can about yourself…it’s a variation of the random question game (which is another non-game that Kristin finds incredibly entertaining). To help you understand the awesomeness of this activity, here are 3 of the random facts we could think of about ourselves:
1. I could once name all the mammals of Alberta by their scientific name and when I get home I may have to lock myself in a room & learn to identify all of Alberta’s birds by their calls.
2. I own a ukele and 8 pairs of Ugg boots.
3. I once dropped my cat from a tree and kamikaze rammed into my sister on a bike (have you heard these stories before??)
1. I once caught a clam with a fishing rod in the middle of a lake in Northern Alberta. It was possibly the most random moment of my summer.
2. I own more than one shade of purple nylons. I am certain this says something about me & my personality, I’m just not sure what.
3. I am a dodgeball All-Star…meaning I was actually on an All-Star team for dodgeball. It was one of my proudest moments of university.
We had picked a restaurant for supper during our Rick Steves walk so we returned there come evening. Unfortunately we returned before the restaurant was open (because Europeans don’t eat until the middle of the night) so we had to wander the streets for awhile before we could eat. Once we were finally seated we started our meal with mussels. The pot we shared was full to the brim with fresh sea life corvered in an incredibly delicious white wine & cream sauce. We followed this with crepes…oh how we love crepes! Justine’s was filled with cheese, mushrooms and chicken. Kristin’s was bacon, mushrooms, onions and cheese.
The walk back to the hostel was filled with much hilarity. We were rather hyper (not drunk! We didn’t even have wine with dinner) and laughed at pretty much anything…including Kristin pretending to be an airplane.
Highlight of the Day:
When Justine payed our supper bill with all of the change in her wallet. She left if perfect to just get a €20 bill back for change…but instead received 2 fives and a multitude of €2, €1 and 50 cent coins. She was so excited to have her wallet lightened up, only to end up with more coins than she started with…and larger ones at that!
Love, Luck & Lots of Change!