Monday, March 29, 2010

Walking the Moyenne Corniche, hanging in Nice, and Palais Lascaris

Arrgh, uploaded these with such care and then realised they are, in fact, in reverse order from the way I experienced them on my travels. Will never learn!

Staircase in the Palais Lascaris

Tapestries in Palais Lascaris

Inside Palais Lascaris. I didn't see the attendants, who were hiding behind the wall here and took this with flash (which yes, I know is very naughty, even though I hadn't seen any signs banning it) and for some reason the lady goes "no fuh-lash" and then enjoyed her comic stylings so much that she repeated it the same way another three or so times, while her co-worker giggled. I suppose when you have what's probably one of the world's most boring jobs (after the first couple of days), you take your fun where you find it.

I just liked this painting (or detail thereof)

Detail of a tapestry in the Palais Lascaris

A ship heading out from the port at Nice. I just liked the way in real life it looked just like a little plastic ship, and after being "I'm feeling lucky"ed in Picasa photo editor, it looks kinda like a painting of a little plastic ship...

Sorry if you're of a sensitive disposition, but I just had to take a photo of this fat, old, inadequately covered couple who for some reason came to the beach with a hacksaw and proceeded to cut up a plank. I was fascinated to discover what would happen next - maybe they would construct themselves a lounger? But nothing ensued, the mystery remains! PS It was pretty windy and not really bikini weather at all, although I supposed they were working up a sweat with their sawing.

The Baie des Fourmis at Cap Ferrat

View of the Baie des Anges from the Moyenne Corniche road

Nice viewed from the Moyenne Corniche road to Eze. Admittedly, this isn't the greatest photo, but I had to stand on a wall next to a busy road to get it over the chicken-wire fence, so whatevs haters

So.(All my students begin all their oral presentations thusly, drives me mad but I don't usually comment cos they probably have enough to worry about without taking my pet peeves on board.) Big news, the clocks have gone back, and we have had some sunshine! Some clouds and rain too, but I'm optimistic.

On Saturday, I set out brightish and earlyish to walk up the Moyenne Corniche from the Port at Nice to Eze - had wanted to do this since the last time I took the bus up to Eze and walked down, because it looked from the bus like there were some stunning views and I thought, seeing that my walks are generally quite long but not very strenuous, it would do me some good to go uphill for a change. Well, within the first half hour or so, my calves were burning, so I think mission accomplished! As it happened, a lot of the views were obscured by fences unfortunately, but it was still a good walk. Once I got up above Beaulieu and Villefranche, I decided to abandon the plan to walk to Eze because I could see the beach tempting me down below with its siren song. As you can see on the map below, I'm not sure exactly how I got down the hill - it involved staircases and short-cuts and zigzags and I was never quite sure which direction I was going except 'down', but in the end I made it to sea level and spent an hour sunning myself as best I could despite the strong winds on the Baie des Fourmis.

(and yeah,if you squint at that screenshot you can see that I do have my MA thesis open - geek! I was reading something about the Guardian about a website that analyses your writing for common words/phrases so you can tell if you overuse certain turns of phrase, and this is the longest piece of writing I've ever done. The results, by the way, were pretty boring. 'Incest' was the most common word after names and things like 'the' and 'and', which is only surprising if you've never read so much as the title of my thesis!)

After that, I caught the bus back to Mt Boron, and stopped off at a supermarket there because I wanted some water and I know it has different varieties of pasta sauce than my local supie, then I walked down to the port (the second purple line on the map) and along to Old Town. In my private lesson on Friday (we have been doing 'food' for the last couple of weeks at my student's request), she raved about Fennochio's icecream, which as they say in NZ (sorta) is apparently world-famous in Nice. And you know when a French girl, who generally will admit only to eating coffee and fruit, raves about a sugary/fatty substance without reminding you how forbidden it is, it's good stuff. So I just had to go and have my first icecream of the season (had my first strawberries of the season the other week, even though they are probably out-of-season imports anyway I suppose). There were all kinds of wacky flavours like olive oil and ummm others I've forgotten, but I wasn't brave enough for that, so I got Ferrero Rocher/Gianduja mmmm. I have to say, not quite as good as the legendary gelati I had in Florence, but not bad at all. I took my cone down to the beach at Nice and sat there for a while - still windy, but at least Nice has big rocks and not small, flying pebbles like at the Baie des Fourmis.

After that, I was going to head home, but I walked past the Palais Lascaris, former home of old Nice/Ventimiglia nobility, and decided to pop in for a look. It was pretty cool to see that they had a palace just shoved in the narrow streets of the Old Town - if they weren't in a castle, they must have lived much more cheek-by-jowl with the plebs in those days than the likes of the Russian oligarchs who apparently own a lot of the coast do today. It wasn't the most lavish palace ever, but it was pretty cool, organised around an ornate staircase which was next to an open-air internal courtyard. If I'm ever rich (ha!) and living somewhere warm, I think the interior courtyard is a design feature I'd like to have in my dream home. Very cool. It was all done in the 17th century and had collections of antique furniture, art, and musical instruments from the same period (although not all original to the palace), including, for some bizarre reason, the original interior of a 17th-century pharmacy, which was originally somewhere else entirely, but got bought up by someone I think around the time of the Revolution and moved around a bit before ending up here. It wasn't very big, so took maybe 15 mins to look around (as with most museums in Nice, it's free) and then I went home to sit on my balcony, drink wine, and read a book while soaking up the last of the afternoon sun. Great day!

On Sunday I woke up cripplingly early to 'watch' the F1 on my laptop (it was more like a succession of still photos, such was the quality of the feed, but I did get English commentary), very frustrated that I didn't get to properly see what by all accounts was an amazing race. But still, yay, cos Button won! Then after that I have done NOTHING for the last two days. All my classes are cancelled until Thursday, sweet! Have just been hanging around, yesterday on my balcony, today in the park, reading and sunbathing. Clouded over a bit today and might rain tomorrow though :(

LONG post, that is all!


  1. Clocks gone back eh! That means you will be getting up 2 hours ahead of the general population for a while. Still at least you will stay on the same time as us cos ours go back on satday.

  2. Rigolant comme toujours papa


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