Tuesday, December 29, 2009
A day in Nice, France
Nice is better than nice;
As we have five days left in the Antibes area, we decide to visit the old part of Nice. When we were here last, there was a little discomfort voiced from she who must be obeyed, over the lack of seeing Nice. Well we just got back and it was wonderful.
We drove from Antibes up the ocean road, to Nice, drove a little further as the Old part of Nice is just Northeast of the center of Nice. We drive into a parking structure below grade and disembark from the Citroen. We note on the way to the stairs that the caisse machine is near the door to the stairs / elevator. The caisse machine is where you insert your parking ticket, when you are about to leave, and the readout displays the amount owed to the proprietors. You insert the correct amount of coins, or bill closest to the amount and the ticket is validated. I’ve not had any problems with any of their anti-vending machines, there are two or three at each parking structure / lot. I don’t think the French would put up with faulty parking machines to where they couldn’t get their cars out of a parking lot, we’ve already seen how they reacted to food shortages, the parking commissioner being paraded around the local town enroute to the hastily built guillotine, ( which you know would work) is probably enough motivation to keep those caisse machines in top working order, at least two out of three. As we exit the building we look out over a beautiful park, replete with the WW1 and 2 combo monument, a carousel, Ferris wheel, and an assortment of other children’s rides. To the left is the Mediterranean on the other side of the boardwalk and the Promenade de Angliase. So we venture over to the Ferris wheel and Caleigh and I buy tickets. I discovered a few years ago that I was afraid of serious heights, not basic three or four story walking around on beams fraid-o-heights, but 100 feet or more on amusement park scrappily built fraid-o-heights. I will recount at some later point, the workings of my mind while ascending the temporarily constructed erector set that was built only to last a year, and was built a hundred or so years ago…Eiffel tower. Built out of …I kid you not…wrought iron. It was a $@#&%* lawn ornament that some %$^##@ metal worker….I mean wrought iron worker decided to put stairs on. But luckily every ten years or so they slap another coat of fix-o-paint / miracle glue on the thing. Sorry, so Caleigh and I are in line and Cindy cozies up to us. You think I’m afraid of heights, well Cindy is even more so, the difference between our phobias is like a mountain to a mole hill. Literally.
So our turn comes and we get into our little canopied rust bucket, and imploring tell Caleigh, “ don’t rock this ………just don’t.” Caleigh is very thoughtful and respectful of Cindy’s plight, but the amount of payback she owes me, well that’s a couple volumes of ledgers. Had Cindy not joined us it would have been within Caleigh’s right to start unscrewing nuts and bolts during our ride. Caleigh is Part Audrey Hepburn, part lemur, part cat, and all any future young man is going to be able to handle as a full time job. May god have mercy on his soul.
With Cindy on board we ascend the spiral of some insurance adjustors nightmare. The city is spectacular, off to the north we see the alps, in front of that just within the city’s boundaries is a park, with a walkway up to a viewing area that has waterfalls below it. As we continue to look around Nice we see the Med., the newer part of the city, penthouses with orchards on their deck’s. It really was special, not windy at all, clear day, rather warm. After we get off the Ferris wheel the half lemur jaunts over to the trapeze set up thingy, with six stations for kids to belt into, once secured the operator winches the kids to a height that allows for safe monkeyshines. Well Caleigh is in heaven and does assorted flips, bounds, and other gastronomic challenging feats for five convulsing minutes, and is then lowered once again to our level.
So now its time to explore Nice, the old part of town, we head down alleys that are beautiful building fronts, facing each other. Every street you go down leads to more beautiful building fronts, shops on the ground floor, selling some pretty cool stuff, and at every price point. There are bistros, cafes, and restaurants and the smell is wonderful. Turning a corner we are met by an open square with the local ancient courthouse checking us out. A beautiful square that just oozes ages of history, on two sides there are places to eat, so we pick the center outside dining area. A nice waitress asks if we are here to eat, and we reply correctly in our french, so she gives us three menus, and we further give her the impression that we know what we’re doing by requesting in our best Pepe Laphew accent that we would like a demi caraf of the local “payee rouge vin” with an unclean bottle of tap water for the peasant girl accompanying us. Ah this is just going altogether too well. Well lets look at the menu, hmm the pizzas look like a safe choice, I know I’ll order the “Royal” it has ham, cheese, a little garlic, tomato. Can’t screw that up can you, wait, for a euro more you can get an egg on the pizza. Hell why not, it could actually be a favorite for years to come. Cindy had the salad du chevre, salad with goat cheese, and the half lemur had pasta with red sauce. The wine was pleasant, and we really enjoyed people watching for 20 minutes as the chef was performing his magic. The meals arrived and were steaming hot, delicious. Caleigh won this round of food ordering, her pasta was great, Cindy came in a close second her only comment was questioning why the melted goat cheese was on what appeared to be wonder bread. My order lost today, don’t get me wrong hard to complain about hot delicious pizza, I just had to eat around the centerpiece, that being the raw egg looking like Berlin surrounded by Germany, just kinda laying there congealing, Cindy actually taunted me between suppressed howls,“ come on rocky, don’t forget the raw egg.” We ate and paid up and will always remember Nice, somewhere in the background you can hear an old phonograph scratching out, Eye of the Tiger.