Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2 Continents - 4 Countries - 1 Ocean

As predicted, the moped girl did not show up to prepare our breakfast this morning. That's all right. We had a good nights sleep, the sun is shining, our French neighbor/housemates have not been heard from and we have a full ten hours to get from San Donato to Nice for our 7:00 pm flight to Paris. It's been a great trip, certainly one of the more diverse we've taken. Packing light with a five day wash cycle has worked out very well, and I can't see us lugging huge suitcases anytime in the future. Time to go.

Monday - October 5, 2009 - Tuesday October 6, 2009

Our original plan was to highway drive to Bologna to see Michelangelo's statues of St. Proculus and St Petronius. They are in the Church of San Domenico, which looked to fairly easy to get to. However, we were so mellowed out that we didn't want to spoil the mood, so instead decided to take the back roads up to Pisa, then drive along the coast to Monaco and then to Nice. Bologna would have to wait for another day.

The roads less traveled to Pisa were great, and reminiscent of driving around the Bordeaux countryside with Rich and Lu. Misty valleys with vineyards and olive trees interspersed among the farms. We passed through picturesque farm villages, and by small wine cooperatives. Sure we got stuck behind some slow trucks for a while, but couldn't have cared less.

At Pisa we hopped onto the Autostrada and headed around Genoa, back through all the tunnels, and toward the French border. I was really in the mood for a French omelet and shortly after we passed Monaco, I pulled off the highway toward Eze Village (nice name). It sounded perfect. Making one wrong turn after another, we ended up down the hill at Eze Bord de Mer, which everyone (except us) knows is a beach community and has no places to eat. Foiled. Hugging the coast, we passed through Beaulieu-sur-Mer and down into Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Every cafe or brasserie we passed in these little towns had NO parking available anywhere.

Finally in Villefrance-sur-Mer we spotted a little bay-side restaurant and a parking spot about a quarter mile away. Right on the water, with beautiful boats docked feet away. Perfect; except the kitchen was closed, so we had to settle for beer. Oh well.

Our idyllic little beach side towns suddenly gave way to the city of Nice, and it was bustling for a Monday afternoon. When we were here with Alicia and Ed they had wanted to drive down Promenade des Anglais with the tall expensive hotels on one side and the beautiful azure blue French Riviera on the other. Driving through Monte Carlo cured them of that. This was similar except instead of a single lane in each direction there were three and stop lights every 5 feet. Add to that the double parking in the right lane and the buzzing of motorcycles, scooters and bikes, the traffic kind of squeezed it's way along like a long sausage.

We saw our share of beautiful cars and the beautiful people. Everyone seemed happy, everyone except the guy and girl on the motorcycle who plowed into the back of the car in front of them just before we got to the airport. We were going to have trouble getting that image out of our minds. How quickly life can change.

So that was our trip The rest passed without incident. We flew to Paris, overnight-ed at the Marriott at CDG, had my omelet for breakfast, flew to Philadelphia, flew to Richmond and was home in Studley by 7:00 pm, tired and pleased.


It was a great trip, with lots of new sights, time with Richard and Lucy, and a bunch of different cultures.

We liked our B&B experience in Ireland, in fact we liked everything about Ireland.

We didn't spend any time in downtown Belfast and after reading about it on our return (figures) wish we had.

Newgrange was a waste. We could have taken another walk around Trim castle instead.

Trip Advisor reviews for everywhere we stayed were right on target and we're religious about adding our reviews on the places we stayed. Should have looked up Casserta before we left, but I figured Dr. Melfi's hometown had to be OK.

Three weeks (20 days for the purists) was just right. Packing for 5 days worked like a charm.

You can't see the mosquitoes in Italy, but when they bite the itch lasts for at least a week.

The inspiration for what to see in Italy came from reading The Agony and the Ecstasy. Great literature will do that for you.

To the kids and grandkids (and farther down or across the Silveira tree) who are reading this: I hope it has encouraged you to get on a plane and go somewhere, and I hope you are able to share your experiences with someone as special as Kathy. She has a wonderful way of making the best day in your life better.

I've included some pictures on this page that didn't fit with the narrative from my journal. I just like them.

No comments: