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September 24, 2013

We had a final day to spend in Nice before Theresa jetted to off to Spain for a week, and I returned home through Paris. Theresa’s flight was earlier than mine, so after our lunch on the beach which we had wanted to visit since we arrived, we finally went shopping, something else we had hardly done. She wanted a souvenir from France. We wandered back to the market (this time it was a flower market) and then veered toward the old area we loved so much. We never really made it all the way back to the oldest part of the town, but we did weave through several streets and pop in and out of a variety of quaint shops before Theresa found a few items at a store not far from our hotel upon our return.

We found out we could take the bus to the airport for a smidgen of the price of the taxi, so Theresa headed toward the bus stop while I headed back out toward the Observatory for the best views in Nice.

The Observatory sat atop a cliff that jutted out at a point which offered beautiful views of the sea and the city. It was also situated next to an old chateau, cemetery, and park, so I spent the next hour or so strolling the grounds.

The remains of the chateau were still being excavated in certain areas. The Chateau was built in the 11th century for military purposes. It lasted until 1706 when King Louis XIV ordered his soldiers to demolish it when the French occupied the area during the War of the Spanish Succession. The original City of Nice was a walled medieval city high on this hill.

The park was complete with cafes, jungle gyms, and waterfalls. Paths wound through the ruins beneath the shade and to the old cemetery where Garibaldi, an Italian general and politician of the 1800’s, is buried. After a relaxing walk through the park, I detoured back to the very old part of town because I wanted to see what all the closed up shops sold. I found such a variety…meat markets, candy stores, local shops, tourist shops and more. I really can’t say enough about this area. As Theresa said, “It’s how I imagined France would be.” I ran out of time, and it was time for my trip home which I can’t say I loved, and I can’t say was relaxing.

Given my whole trip was on a whim, I hadn’t made a reservation in Paris for my overnight layover. I figured it couldn’t be too hard to find a hotel at the airport, but when I took a cursory look this morning, my original thought seemed ominous. I thought, well surely they keep a few rooms blocked for walk-in passengers…not so! I walked to three hotels at Charles de Gaulle. Looked up another six with shuttles from the airport…all were sold out!! I noticed several other stranded passengers sleeping in one area of the airport…so I joined them. When I finally got to Miami…I found out it was FASHION WEEK in Paris!!! Not a time to not have a hotel reservation! That figures…I never do anything on whim! At least I can say I had a new experience I guess…sleeping in airport as guards with AK47s pass by!

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My flight home wasn’t much better than my stay in the airport. I opted to recline my seat the two inches that it goes back. The French man behind me rattled in French, pointing at his knees, that he wanted me to move it forward. I simply said, “No”, since I couldn’t say anything else in French. He got mad and would kick my seat forward any time I put it back. I had to call the flight attendant who had to tell him not to touch my seat or he would get in trouble! REALLY…I’ve never had that happen!! It was sadly humorous. My flight from Miami to Denver improved. I met a man from Brazil, so I picked his brain about the World Cup…a possible trip for next summer! Anyway, lovel Nice is the best city to visit in the French Riviera…ETB

 

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