Note

Further back in the blog there is a post entitled “Stuff of Interest”. You may want to refer back to it as it has only been posted now as it contains things experienced along the way. We are returning home at midnight tomorrow, Friday about 7 days early. That is explained in that post. 

You are now free from blogs until April 2018 where we will visit the west coast via cruise through the Panama Canal, then up the west coast highway, stops in Yosemite, San Francisco, Alaska Cruise and possibly Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. In case you are wondering 2019 will bring us back to Europe with Ireland, Scotland, Paris, Switzerland, and a return to Tuscany and Lake Como/Maggiore all in the mix. I have not returned home and I already have something to do. I have learned much, if now I could only remember it all.

Winding down in Antibes (Anteeb)

Antibes was our Wednesday destination, about 40 minutes by train from our home base of Nice. As always and despite my doubting, Carol has perfected the use of the train system perhaps better than some locals.

 Antibes was charming as much of the French Riviera is blending so many colors in its narrow streets. Again and perhaps moreso here the shopping was very unique with many local one of a kind specialty shops. We purchased our one and only momento here, a small pot to cook mussels in. It will remind us of enjoying them here.

Antibes has more yahcts in it’s marina’s than any other place in Europe. They all look nice set on the Mediterranean blue. Antibes was a joy to visit. Enjoy our pictures as our travels come to a close in about 36 hours. We hope you have enjoyed the ride with us.

Monte Carlo

I am not sure I knew what to expect but this exceeded anything I imagined. Our 30 minute train ride from Nice along the coast passing yachts of all descriptions and sizes was only a small preview of what we were about to see. The huge cranes everywhere somehow was not visible and just blended in to the thousands of high rise buildings along the coast

We visited the princes palace (not sure how I made it to the top) and the beautiful cathedral bearing the remains of Princess Grace Kelly. I can put it in words but trying to describe this setting looking over the bay is impossible. The view from here is just stunning in every direction.

Monaco is a country of about one square mile and they are trying to use every mountain side inch. Quite interesting was the construction of the grandstands and roadways for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix Auto Race. The race weaves it’s way throughout the city streets with impossible turns and along the seaside as well. It even runs in from of the famous casino.

Speaking of the casino, it is the best people (and car) watching anywhere. We had “refreshments” at the outdoor cafe of the Paris Hotel which is right alongside the casino. They searched our bags before  sitting us. One Bl (continued at end of pictures.

oody Mary and one ice cream sundae was $41.00 and the “show” was worth every penny. Saw cars I did not know existed and stopped counting the number of Rolls, Ferrari’s, Bentleys etc. that rolled by. My attention of course was focused on the cars, not the pretty girls.

We attempted to enter the casino but Carol’s sandals did not cut the dress code. And I was feeling lucky. We obviously only touched a bit of Monaco but every part of it was immaculate and well designed. Not witnessed anything like it and would like to return. Tomorrow a slower day and then Cannes on Wednesday and experience some of the film festival. I will add some pictures soon. We are tiring and wearing down but more about that in a day or two.

If heaven is full – Don’t Worry

It is May 14 and our second day in the French Riveriera and each day will bring us to a different piece of heaven. With mountains touching the sea, the development is spread along those slopes and the night brings twinkling lights all around you in the mountain side. The Mediterranean is dotted with yachts that cost in the hundreds of millions. One thing for sure, we will not have anywhere near enough time to see it all.

I speak in superlatives not of the city of Nice but in the developments that run along the coast with it. Today we took a bus to Saint -Jean-Cap-Ferrat and toured a mansion with incredibly deep history going back to Napoleon’s time. Set high above the sea where the sea wraps itself around the mansion on three sides, a better setting for magnificent homes cannot be found anywhere.

The view was of deep blue seas and 200 foot yachts with gardens of different species everywhere. We had lunch there, never before in such a wonderful setting. Go to the website where they likely will explain this place far better than I. Enjoy the pictures that I will add soon. I also have more taken by a better camera.

http://www.villa-ephrussi.com

Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild

It’s not nice to drive in Nice

Since we picked up our rental car nearly two weeks ago and dropped it off yesterday the 13th we have perhaps driven nearly a thousand miles. Our six speed black Fiat lift back performed admirably and I put diesal gas in it only once. It went up many steep hills and mountains and how to hold a clutch was an easy remembrance though I did not like it.

I write this because those of you who know me pretty well know that I am no longer fond of driving, especially in areas which I am not familiar. France certainly falls into that category. Let it be clear that I would never attempt anything like this if I did not have two things; a GPS and my navigator. You can’t imagine (Carol right now is watching Law and Order in French) how difficult it is driving from one place to the other not being able to read road signs and requesting help from some of the non english speaking French people. Simply put, it is more than a challenge, it is nearly impossible. Without Carol I am in a ditch on a deserted road far away from civilization.

Lastly, the drive from Le Thor to Nice was many things. I was driving on the French super highway with limits the equivalent of 85 mph. I lived in the right lane. As we approached Nice, the traffic naturally got heavier with many turns, ramps, and signs you can’t read as you search for a needle in a haystack; the Hertz rental return office in the center of the city. After some searching we found it on the sixth floor of a parking garage. It will be a story we will not forget it. Again, without Carol we would still be looking.

The word tenacious would not be a word associated with Carol. Give her a GPS and watch out.

Lacoste

If I needed to be convinced that Provence was a truly special place, all I had to do was visit Lacoste. This hill town was intouched by anything commercial and was just naturally beautiful. I will let you research its original proprietor the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814. Much of it now is owned by Pierre Cardin.

We knew on advance that the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) had a presence there where by about 60 students studied there in the spring and summer. We had a great conversation with a few students who were happy to have visitors from back home. We live only about 25 minutes from SCAD.

Google Lacoste for more information. The views are stunning.

Le Thor and Pascal

We have lived for three days in the most charming B&B in the French countryside that was once the home of monks five centuries ago. I can’t explain here how this place impacts you; stone floors, clay roofs, eclectically decorated, wonderfull breakfasts delivered by a most charming Pascal and nightly gatherings with local wines and delicious snacks in the huge main gathering room and outdoor arbor shared by guests from throughout Europe and beyond.. What I do know is that when I return home and it becomes 7pm I will think of Pascal and his magical home and who might be taking my place. I am not likely to return and for that I am sad. We have stayed in many unique places but this was special. 

res soon.

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

This neat town in Provence has interesting water ways running through it and is sometimes called The Venice of  France. While that is more than a major stretch it is an appealing place to walk, eat and shop. Those interested in antiques and shopping in general would be very happy here. Stores are unique and this town is a good central location to visit the hilltowns nearby which there are many. We are staying in a wonderful B&B about two miles away but more about that later. Pictures will follow.

Roussillon

It is Friday May 13 and we driving through the Luberon’s magnificent hill towns and incredible beauty surrounds us. Pictures don’t tell the story in any way that resembles actual reality. Winding through the much too narrow roads, these remarkable hilltowns compete against each other in degrees of beauty and awe. Mix the olive groves and countless vineyards and you really have something special. An enormous deposit of ocre gives the earth and it’s buildings a distinctive red color. I will not forget this part of France. It is truly a unique area of the world. Google these areas when you want to get away. Enjoy the pictures but disregard the first one.