Back to Europe 2017

By | May 14, 2017

Since our trip to the Danube and Portugal and Spain this time last year, we’re back in Europe for some more cycling and exploring.

We decided to fly into Nice this year and to explore some of the South of France before heading to Paris to join the Upper Cape Ski and Sports Club for a bike and barge journey aboard the Zwaantje from Paris to Epernay in the Champagne region.  We met the fun folks from the Upper Cape Ski and Sports Club on our Danube trip last year and then visited their home town of Falmouth on Cape Cod in Massachusetts last October where Roger took part, as one of the tellers, in a Tales and Anecdotes evening over two nights at the Woods Hole Theatre Company.  We’re looking forward to catching up in Paris next Saturday.

In the meantime, to avoid having a really long layover in Dubai waiting for connecting flights, we opted to fly out of Sydney at 6.30pm heading first to Bangkok and then on to Nice via Dubai. Well, it reduced the layover time in Dubai but added significantly to flight time, so we got a good chance to see the inside of an Airbus A380 and then a 777 on the Nice leg.  Besides the usual long haul grind and sense that these are hours of our lives that we’ll never get back, the flights were uneventful and we arrived in Nice and checked into a hotel for the first night before heading out for a wander along the promenade and a magnificent dinner at a local restaurant which Lynette had managed to ferret out, before getting a good night’s sleep to hopefully reset our body clocks.

As we walked along the promenade our thoughts returned to those horrific events on Bastille Day last year where a truck was driven through the throngs of people celebrating the birth of the Republic.  We notice the next morning, rows of fairly new bollards and remember that our own public events like Anzac Day have now been accompanied by the strategic location of garbage trucks to minimise the risk of copy cat attempts.

Out bright and early on Saturday morning we watched the joggers, walkers and cyclists as they pedalled and puffed along the promenade past the large pebbled beaches and the beautifully coloured sea from which the Cote d’Azur takes its name.

We wandered on into the Old Town and found the Saturday markets where a vast array of beautiful looking vegetables and flowers drew locals along with their wheeled shopping baskets.

Stall after stall of plump tomatoes, asparagus, aubergine and a host of other vegetables covered one end of the markets while, at the other end, beautiful flowers brought splashes of colour to the vibe.

There was a sense of relaxation amongst the people as we sought some decent coffee in the Place de Palace de Justice.  It seemed as though the people had let go a collective sigh of relief to have had last weekend’s presidential election see a victory for a reconfirmation of the fundamental principles which informed the foundation of the Republic itself: Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite.

We headed back to our hotel to check out and grab an Uber, which delivered us in comfort to the Gare de Ville in Nice, ready to catch our train to Marseille where we play to stay the next two nights in an AirBnB.

The train is comfortable and quiet; paralleling the coast as we speed through places heard about and just now being seen: Antibe, Cannes, Juan le Pin etc and then through countryside to Toulon and finally into Marseille St Charles.  As so often happens, the lyrics of one song or another pop up inside my head:

When you go on your summer vacation, you go to Juan le Pins; with your carefully designed topless swimsuit, you get an even suntan; on your back, and on your legs. Where do you go to my Lovely, Peter Sarstedt.

A short taxi ride takes us to our AirBnB apartment just near the old port of Marseille.

The apartment is clean and spacious, with an excellent view across the rooftops to where the harbour sits below the fort on the opposite side of the harbour.  We head out to explore, with many more pictures to come, before hitting the local supermarket for some supplies and back home for a rest before an evening walk to the Western entrance to the port and a great dinner, before a good night’s sleep in readiness for some bike riding using the share bike system on a Sunday which is predicted to reach a very respectable temperature in the mid twenties.

One thought on “Back to Europe 2017

  1. Sam Reich

    Great blog, guys! Hope you’re having a wonderful time.

    How long will you spend in Paris? We will be arriving there sometime in the next week, and would love to get together.

    I’ll PM you when I have a firm date.

    Sam and Kav Reich


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