Published: November 5th 2007May 25th 2007
Toys for Monaco's Rich and Famous
Jay's 22 ft. Catalina "Cat-n-Around" has never been parked here nor will it ever be parked here.
I got up around 7:30 and headed for the desk to type for a few minutes and then left for the bus station. I was excited to be heading for the Cinque Terre. I had heard so much good stuff about it. San Gimignano was cool and the Tuscany hillsides were very pretty, but I did not see any reason to be here any longer. I considered the places beautiful and relaxing but I could not stay there for long periods of time. For relaxation I choose Assisi over the others but really they all work and are great.
I got to the bus station and got a ticket at the local coffee shop and waited for the bus. The bus arrived late, which is not surprising. The bus driver was very cool to talk to and I enjoyed that immensely. He was very nice man. Back in Pogibonsi I checked the time for the next train and I had about 45 minutes to wait. I got some food there and decided to walk to look for sun glasses. Again no luck in that department. My count is up to 25 for the number of places I have asked
about having fitover sunglasses. I should have bought those for 30 € in the Dolomites. I went to the tourist information office to use their computer to access the internet. They were plenty expensive, but what are you going to do. They asked for id and I gave them my passport. I checked emails and went back to the train station. I went to the train station and grabbed a snack for the train ride and was on my way to Impoli. On the way I realized I had not gotten my passport back at the tourist information office so the next stop I got off and got on the next train back to Pogibonsi. Sure enough when I walked in they smiled and new exactly what I had come for. This whole passport ordeal took me an extra 2 hours roughly. Oh well, time is on my side. I made it to La Spezia in the late afternoon and learned there is a hostel in Manarola, which is one of the Cinque Terre towns. I walked around looking for sunglasses in La Spezia waiting for the next train to Manarola. No dice in that department again after looking in
about 3 stores. I went back to the train station and got on the train to Manarola. The ride there was short and from what I could see I was more impressed with the Amalfi Coast. It just seemed steeper and more crazy, but lets give the Cinque Terra a chance shall we. I got off at Manarola and walked through a tunnel to the City. I saw a sign that said Ostello and followed it. The Hostel was on top the hill and in a very nice location. I walked in hoping they had room and they did have a bed. They had room for two nights actually and I took both nights. I was impressed with it. On Sunday however they were full and I would have to go elsewhere. It appeared the hiking in the area was pretty good so I was excited about that. I went to my room and got unpacked. I was so excited to get down to the sea that I did just that. I walked around the path and saw numerous people sunbathing. I found a place that looked very cool to swim and there were only a few people there. I
walked down and decided I am getting in. I stripped down to my shorts and jumped in. It was cold in a few locations and a guy from California there said he thinks the cold spots are springs. They were definitely cold spots and I guess that made as much sense as any for the temperature variability. The water was clear it was truly amazing. I loved swimming there. I laid on the concrete for a while and soaked up some rays. Then I wanted to swim more. There were 3 older ladies I assume in their 60's swimming there as well. It was cool watching these 3 older ladies swim. I suspect they have been doing this their whole life. They were overweight, but you see a lot of especially older Italian ladies with some extra pounds. I guess the pasta catches up to them. They were a long ways away from shore and I thought man if they have some kind of ailment out there they may drown. They primarily did the back stroke. They also talked a lot. There swimming was probably the thing I enjoyed the most about the swim. There was also a Swiss lady
and her young daughter there. They were getting ready to leave. The lady took off her top right beside me dried off, and put a dry shirt on. I was a little surprised with the lack of modesty, but I assumed that is just how she was raised. I am sure she will go right to hell for such a blatant act of public nudity. Us Americans would talk about someone doing that on a beach as criminal and as being slutty etc. But then we have pastors who are defending Bush for going to war in Iraq. I think this lady who took her top off has a quicker route to heaven than us self righteous folks that start wars and kill lots of people. It just doesn't add up to me. The public body and it's appendages everyone has so why is it such a big deal to keep it hidden. I believe if you hide something from someone it just increases their likelihood of desiring it. Sure this a sticky topic and is not as simple as just stated, but I think in general the desire to hide nudity to the levels taken in the US is
CinqueTerre - Pic 4
Hiking in the mountains above Cinque Terre
a little ridiculous. I talked to this lady a little as she dressed her young daughter. She seemed like an extremely nice and very intelligent lady. As you walk the beaches and see an occasional topless lady it is mostly the Americans that you see taking the pictures and gawking at the scene. Most Europeans could not care less about the scene. It's not a big deal to them.
At the hostel I saw the California kid who I had talked to swimming. I sat and talked with them for awhile as I was not in the mood to do anymore typing for the night. He was a computer science guy in Silicone Valley and was traveling with a college friend and her sister. He was talking about how nice this hostel is and mentioned he was surprised that this nice real estate was a hostel. He thought that the people could make more money doing something else with it. I had not heard anyone talk about money for awhile and how to make more of it and thought of course it was an American talking about making money. A lady from Canada who was traveling by herself was
seated with the California kid (or my nickname for him is Kid) and the two ladies he was traveling with. The Canadian woman was talking about hiking the next day and the Kid said he wasn't going hiking because he would just get hot and sweaty and would not even enjoy the scenery in the state of sweatiness. He said he is on vacation to relax. I thought it is not going to be long before this guy is going to fit that fat American stereotype that the young kid from Belgium described Americans as being. He and his two traveling companions decided to bar hop all 5 cities comprising the Cinque Terre. I was thinking that is cool come thousands of miles to get plowed. Now that is relaxation. I was getting tired of listening to the Kid and one of the girls he was traveling with kind of repulsed me as well as she was so in your face and loud which I viewed as being obnoxious. She was a nurse too, who normally or my favorite people to talk to. Bronwyn would be a good nurse which I actually suggested to. It was getting late anyway and
Cinue Terre - Pic 6
Having supper at my hostel.
it was time to call it a night. The Kid was in the same room as me. He was polite and courteous over all, I just wasn't on the same page with his views, but that is what makes the world go around.
I left for bed as he did too soon afterwards. He quickly fell a sleep and to my surprise he snored like a rhinoceros. He was not that overweight and did not have a lot to drink so I was a little surprised. It was time for me to find those earplugs. I got them in and it helped. I still did not sleep that well pretty much tossing and turning all night. I had slept well in the monastery the night before, so I guess I was not tired enough to sleep well in the hostel.
I got up and went downstairs at 7:00. I hit the door bar at 7:01 and this loud piercing noise went off. I was confused at first. What in the hell is making this noise and then realized it must be the alarm and I must have set off. I walked back into the front
desk and saw the person who worked at the hostel scrambling behind the bar-like desk trying to turn off the alarm. The noise sounded louder inside. I walked away from the desk and then peaceful silence resumed. I asked the guy what happened and he said he forgot to turn off the alarm and kept saying sorry. I really liked the people here they seemed genuinely nice. Even though hostelers are tourist their self, I don't think they are treated as such. Often for hostelers it is more like people crashing at someone’s place for a small fee. That is not always the case though. They are generally ran like businesses however. A lot of the places however are ran by big money people and the staff working there are employees who are often young people traveling theirself trying to make a little extra cash on the side. They therefore have to run a smooth ship and most hostels are ran pretty professionally.
I walked back outside thinking that even the snoring Kid could not have slept through that town siren like alarm. Why do they have such a crazy alarm for a place that is very safe. According
Scottish Guy at Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix had just finished and I was on my way to Nice and the train was inundated with Grand Prix fans. We talked for awhile and this guy actually said I could crash at their apartment and then retracted the offer as he thought his wife might not like that since they have a young kid. Very nice guy. 300 Euro ticket or about $430.
to the hostel rules you are on lock down in the hostel from 12 to 7. I felt like I was partially to blame as it was 7:01 but I think the staff is up and around much before then and I suspect the alarm gets shut off much before 7 usually. I typed for a few minutes and then Sophie came out, a Belgium lady, and then Lesel the Canadian lady, both of which I had talked to previously and did such this time as well. It would have been nice to get some typing done but human conversation always trumps journaling for me. Even though these are not local people they all are very interesting people and for that matter they are people. It is a bad state of affairs if you do not have time to talk to people. I know some people like Lonn, who is an extremely busy person, but he understands that and always seems to have time to talk. I have learned a lot from Lonn over the years, about how to treat people as well as family of course. I am so glad Lonn came to Calhoun County. He is an impact
A very pretty City.
person and Calhoun County is lucky to have him.
All three of us were going hiking in the Italian Riviera. That sure has a nice ring to it doesn't it? Yes that is where I am and it definitely feels right. If I were to write this story of these travels the way I would like to write I would write in much more detail and would review things and rewrite them so they flowed better but the problem with that is that would not allow time for traveling. I would be sitting in a room typing all day. I might be a wistful traveler, but am not a wistful writer unfortunately.
Well everyone went on their separate way and the day had begun. I was going to hike to the top of the Cinque Terre Park and take that trail. I was really afraid that these trails would not be marked well, like they were not on the Amalfi Coast. Along the Amalfi Coast the directions were written where here it was a map but no topography labeled on the map. Bottom line, this map sucked too. Hey it adds to the adventure though. Who doesn't want
A Worldly Welcome
Nice Welcomes the World!
a little adventure now and then. Some people even want a year of it. I followed the map and got going pretty good. I kind of think like Cata the Czech guy at times, in that if I take tough trails and go where no one else is going then I am going to see something marvelous. With that mentality I went higher up on the mountain. As I went up there I noticed there to be more pine trees and the canopy became quite thick. My theory was wrong at this higher elevation you couldn't even see the sea or the Cinque Terre Villages and the path was not well defined. Half the time I was walking through briars etc. I went back down to the path more traveled and at that point the path had a brilliant view down to the sea and the Cinque Terre village of Manarola, where I was staying. It is not always true that just because you work harder means you will get the best gains. Normally it does, but not always.
I was meeting a lot more people on this trail, which is not good, but the view more than offset
How Ugly are U?
I can not believe this guy is that ugly but then again maybe he is?
the population explosion. I came to a Y in the trail and of course decided to give the more highly elevated trail a go. The trail was extremely steep and I was climbing high onto the Cinque Terre mountain side. I was thinking how great the view was going to be. After about 30 minutes of this I popped out on the road. I looked for a crossing on the other side, but did not find one. I hiked a long the road and realized there was no way that I would be going down this mountain anytime soon as there was a very steep cliff heading towards the water. I looked at the map a little closer and realized that this road was what the map labeled as being trail 1. I was thinking you have got to be kidding me. How can this roadway be labeled trail 1 this isn't a trail it's a roadway. I was smelling a marketing ploy to increase the length of trails available for hiking in the Cinque Terre Park. Come to Cinque Terre to hike we have ___ miles to hike. I was going to have to talk to the Cinque Terre
Napoli or Naples, Italy is where pizza was founded. It's funny how people advertise things as being like the original. I say go to Napoli as far me it is about the people as much as it is the food.
Park District about this.
I soon saw a sign stating Montorosso and Vernazza. I thought if necessary I will walk the road to Montorosso. Not exactly what I had in mind, but hey if necessary make lemonade. After walking a little farther I saw a sign indicating a trail down to Corniglia and Vernazza. I had enough of this pavement crap and was ready to get off the asphalt. At the top of the trail there were two wheel barrow sized crates with a seat mounted to this track. I figured they use this to take grapes and stuff down to the City's below as everything is terraced farmed here. I must be a heck of a ride down this mountain by the looks of the curves and steepness of the track. I was not ready to ride it anytime soon. I proceeded down this steep, rocky, dusty trail. I was walking through this terraced vineyard, when all of the sudden some Italian guy in his 50's started yelling at me. I was aware that Italians are really emotional people so I didn't get too excited about it. Frankly I had used that mindset throughout this trip. Regardless of
Another nice picture of Nice (pronounce Niece).
how upset some Italian guy appeared to be I was just going to write it off to their culture. This guy seemed really excited about something having to do with my presence. I just smiled and said Vernazza and pointed in the direction to Vernazza and walked in place to indicate hiking. After doing such the guy just yelled louder the same thing over and over. I just smiled. I really thought he was messing with me and I again acted like I was walking down the right trail, which went through his terraced grapes. He just yelled more and said the same thing ending in Vernazza. We were side by side and I pulled out my translator not even sure if this man could read and showed him the words I was trying to convey. Finally he motioned for me to follow him so I did. We went back on the same trail I came in on and then started shouting directions again. He was saying the same series of words that he had said before only at varying decibels. It was quite clear that he believed the louder he spoke the clearer my understanding of Italian. This obviously
Let the Monaco Fun begin. There are lots of pictures in Monaco.
was false, as my hearing although not great, is very good at all the decibel levels he used. Finally he just kept motioning down the hill and I saw a path, where he indicated. I walked in that direction and he indicated that was right. I walked down it far a ways and then became a little confused. I decided I better go back to the roadway above. The Italian guy was already ahead of me up the trail as he was heading for the road too and he turned around and saw me walking in his direction. When he turned and saw me I got the impression from his face that his whole life's work was coaching me down the hill and he had failed miserably. He yelled again motioning down the hill. I felt like I was a total failure to this guy who had worked so diligently to help me off this mountain. I decided to give it another shot and indeed I saw the trail he indicated and went for it. I was now confident I was on the right trail. All along he was indeed trying to help me with a passion rarely seen. It
The Princesses Cars
The Prince of Monaco has a few cars in his garage here, that he lets the publc look at. I saw some oil leaking out of the rear differential on one of them and I suggested to the Prince he takes it up to the Jiffy Lube up the road to have it looked at.
made me feel good to know he was genuinely trying to help. I like the Italian people. They are good people.
As I continued on the path it got extremely overgrown with weeds and briars. I was quite certain know one had been down it in awhile. My crazy mindset was I will get to see the coolest stuff here, but in actuality I should have thought since no one comes here this must not be the good stuff. As I walked down the steep rocky path I all of the sudden saw movement on the path about 3 feet ahead of me under some sparse weeds hanging over the path. I quickly realized that those were snakes scurrying around. I saw at least two take off in a direction away from me and another was still curled up on the path. I later tell the story like this, I saw the snakes take off and they were relatively small and I heard no rattling but because I could not identify the species of snake I decided to get off the path and walk a ways around them. The truth is I would not have walked past that area
My Favorite Car
This 1935 Packard was my favorite car.
of the path for a million damn dollars. I was on an extremely steep terraced area so I back tracked a ways trying to find away around that snake pit. I found an area where grass had overgrown the terracing making it look like it was not that steep. I gingerly climbed down this rock wall that had wire ensuring the rocks did not fall down. This terraced area had not been used in awhile hence grass was actually growing in these rocks on this vertical wall. It was hard to see at first but portions of this retaining wire had points sticking out that if I fell on would leave a mark and maybe puncture me. As I worked my way down this 8 ft. wall I thought this might be where I die. I thought about the farmer finding me the next day hanging lifeless on this retaining wall. I wondered what he might say. His life's work did not make it more than 1/4 mile down the trail. He would probably never help anyone again.
I did make it down this first obstacle. I had picked up a stick and was being sure to agitate the
Am I an Accomplice to this.
I met these two women from the US on the train to Monaco and hung out with them most of the day. They are crazy, well all women are for that matter (just kidding women:) ), but these two are more crazy than most as they were getting in the cars for photos. How they never ended up in a Monaco Jail cell I will never know.
weeds in front of me just in case more snakes might be in the area. I thought of that guide in the Everglades in Florida who always disturbed the area in front of him as he said there were 4 deadly snakes that live in the Everglades. Not sure how many deadly snakes live in the Italian Riviera, but at that moment I was sure it is a lot more dangerous here than the swampy Everglades. I gently made my way down that terrace, and then made my way down another smaller terrace, also containing those "accident waiting to happen" wires sticking out of the rock walk. I got back on the trail and could see a road not too far down the path. I walked through a small olive grove and followed a nice path, which I am sure the olive grove farmer uses to enter the olive grove. I was now on the pavement and could see the heavily traveled trail just below me and could see lots of people on it. I decided this time to take the path more traveled and walked down the road a ways trying to find trail access. To get to the
Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Grance Kelly and Prince Ranier III were married and buried here.
path I walked through some kind of concrete block factory, which said private on signs in several locations. I just new I would soon get yelled at by a second Italian guy today but I didn't. I am never concerned about getting shot just verbally abused. Since I do not understand the language the verbal lashings are not too painful. I made it down to the new trail. There was no getting lost on this trail. You could either follow the people or the path either way you could make it just fine. On the path I saw all sorts of folks. A group of kids around 20 years of age were the most interesting. They were hiking from the first Cinque Terre town of Ross??? to Vernazza the second to last town. From Vernazza they were boating to Montorosso the last Cinque Terre town. They had a good plan I thought. The most interesting thing about them though was their footwear. They were hiking the entire distance in sandals. They also had a couple shopping bags. I heard a couple people ask them if they had found any good bargains on the trail. I passed them and 3 of
the 6 seemed to hike faster after I passed them as they stayed with me for awhile with the last 3 a significant distance behind. They were studying art in Rome. Can't think of a better place to do that with the possible exception of Florence.
I was running seriously low on water. Actually I was out of water by the time I reached Vernazza. I knew the remaining distance between Vernazza and Montorosso was significant, but as usual, I was over estimating my abilities. The climb just outside Vernazza was significant. I climbed much higher in elevation than expected. If I climbed much higher I would have to put a light on my head so airplanes would not hit me. There were a quite of few other people on this trail as well. After awhile I ran into Sophie, the lady from Belgium, that was staying at the Hostel. She was sitting on a bench taking five. We talked for awhile and then I decided I better keep moving. She offered me some of her water, but I told her I was the one that got into this mess so I should suffer for not bringing more water.
The real reason was I was not going to let a girl help me. I am kind of believer in awards as well as punishments. It was time for some self-inflicted punishment. That sounds a little harsh I was just out of water it's not like I stole a car or anything and I hadn’t been out of water for that long and didn't have that far to go just a few miles. I should have a warning label associated with this part of the text describing it to be an "over dramatization".
Sophie decided to hike for awhile with me. She gardens a lot and works in the IT industry and lived in Brussels for awhile, but did not like the fast paced lifestyle so she decided to move into the country near Brussels and commutes there for work. She obviously is a very bright lady. It was obvious she liked to live in a tightly controlled world. She had done a lot of hiking today and was going to do more when she got to Montorosso. As we walked we talked a lot, ok I talked a lot and Sophie was probably wishing she had not been
More Acquarium Pics
The eel like to stay in that log.
hiking with me. She did tell me it was cool in Belgium and she had to grow her tomatoes in a green house. This really surprised me as Belgium is a similar latitude as the middle of the US. I suspect their proximity to the ocean and some sort of microclimate phenomena might be taking place. I had met Lesel earlier in the day, the Canadian lady from the hostel. Both women were traveling alone.
We finally made it to Montorosso and I was thirsty. I walked with Sophie for awhile into town and then parted ways when she went to the Tourist Office and I went for water. I quickly found my water which consisted of 2 liter bottles for 3 €. I was happy with the cost. I was sure to get the natural water without gas as they call it. Most people here in Italy love the carbonated water. I do not. I sat there and drank my water and said hi to Sophie when I saw her walk by. She was off to do more hiking, I was ready for some beach time. I walked around and found a place to drink the remaining water
Last Acquarium Pic
This is a precursor of things to come as I expect to see similar stuff on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia!
and eat the sardines I had brought along for the hike. I have been eating a lot of sardines lately for two reasons, they are cheap and I like the taste. I suspect that much salt is not good for you on a regular basis, but for today's like today, which are hot ones, they are probably not a bad thing. I sat down unsuspectedly and Sophie was there again waiting on her bus. I ask her if she wanted some sardines knowing the answer as I do not know of a woman who has ever eaten sardines. You know what would be cool is to have a man’s section of a store. You could put your sardines and beer there and all items historically just for men. That would be quite funny actually. Not to be out done you could have a woman's section of the store as well, where all the diet stuff, beauty products, chocolates and all those feminine hygiene products. That's it when I open up a store it will be segregated. I will probably be closed by the equal rights people and all those other do gooders out there. God, protect me from the good
Can't think of anything to clever to say about this picture. I suspect that does not surprise anyone! Please, no comments Jay.
people and the people that think they are good people. The people who think they are good people are often the self righteous, close minded folks that scare me the most. Those people are the most dangerous in my opinion. Oh for the record I think I am a good person. Therefore look out for me, [followed by an evil laugh].
I finished my sardines and Sophie was still there. She is a planner and the inconsistencies of these buses were probably driving her nuts. Italian mail too is ludicrous in that when you bring it up people just laugh about it. You would think maybe they might work towards fixing it, but I guess maybe that is an American or German mindset. In Italy it is about living in the moment maybe, not sure. Whatever it is it results in poor mail delivery service.
On the beach I found a place that appeared decent. The beaches are really not very good in the Italian Riviera as they are quite pebbly and Rocky. The first place I decided to lay down was at what turned out to be a private beach. Some guy came out and ran me
I assure you John, Paul, Ringo and George did not write about this submarine as we could not all live on it!
off. I then moved a little ways down the beach. I wanted to swim, but didn't want to lose all my possessions even more. So I asked a couple ladies to watch my stuff for me. They said sure they would watch it and I headed for the water. The rocks near the shore were hard to walk across and really in the water there were significant rocks as well. It really wasn't that great. I liked the place I swam the night prior in Manarola with the elderly ladies much better. I swam for about 20 minutes and then decided I better get back as I told the ladies it would only be between 15 and 20 minutes. I got back and relaxed awhile longer. It was beginning to look like rain so I decided to start packing up as a lot of other people were as well.
I originally considered walking back to the hostel, but thought I had had enough hiking for one day. At the train station I ran into the two ladies who had watched my stuff at the beach. They had left about a 1/2 hour prior to me and were still at
Similarly to Jay's boat, Dave's 22 ft. Catalina, "Midnight Sun" will never float in this water. I wonder if one of these guys would let me store my boat on theirs. They would probably not even notice it.
the station. I asked them where they were headed and they said to Riomaggiore (sp) the first Cinque Terre town. They were confused about how the trains work so I helped them out. They thought all trains going in one direction stop at all stops. They were about to get on the wrong train. Trains are easy to understand after a few rides. Not sure why they were struggling so much with the system as this was not there first ride. They played college volleyball at Utah and were taking this trip having just graduated. I am not sure how these college kids get the money to travel right out of college. One person I met, said her grandfather had given her the money to travel. That is a great gift. I think most of these kids have money that are doing that. I am glad they are spending there money on this however and not fast cars are something more materialistic or maybe they are doing both.
The train was quite crowded this time of the day as all the beach goers were just finished for the day and they headed to their place of lodging. I made
it back to the hostel around 6:00 and was not really that hungry. I knew this area is famous for pesto so I decided to go for that on penne pasta a little later in the evening. The people running this hostel were extremely nice and a pleasure to talk to including the cook. I ask him if it was possible to get that a little later in the evening around 7:30 and he said sure no problem in a manner that sounded like he would do anything for me except maybe giving me his first child. The friendliness of these people made me feel good.
After supper I drank some wine with Lesel, Sophie (who doesn't drink) and a lady from Australia. All three of these ladies were traveling by their self. Lesel (which when pronounced sounds like diesel but with an L) was leaving the next day to do some Woofing (or something like that) at a farm in the Tuscany area. They pay for her room and board and she works on their farm. Had I known about that I might have done it. Sounds like a great way to get by cheap and intimately see
some of the countryside. I myself would rather keep moving and spending my own money figuring when I am done traveling I will get a good paying job. At least that is the plan. I left about 11:00 to walk down to the harbor for some time to watch the moon out over the water. There is a great place to see the sea that Sophie had told me about and it delivered. I really enjoyed it, although it would have been more enjoyable to share it with someone. Also there was a light that would have been nice to have turned off on a nearby pole. I wasn't about to break the light however so I had to just put it out of my mind. There was a big rock just below me that was brilliant that I had seen from the train station and the moon glimmered across the gentle sea. Another moment was had. Not sure what I mean by that just that it was nice and peaceful in my environment. Not sure how many people have peaceful environments and how often they visit this place. Happy Gilmore often goes to his happy place.
And the Winner is?
The guy driving the Dodge Caravan?
10 minutes, yes my peaceful moments do not last long, I walked down to the harbor. Lesel had walked down there as well and was staring out over the harbor. The lights near the water's surface tended to light up the water to a depth several feet below the water surface. The water is very clear. It was about 11:45 and I still wanted to walk down the path towards the next Cinque Terre village to see if there were lights visible and maybe take a night photo of the lights if they were bright enough. The hostel closed at 12:00 and I knew I would end up running to the hostel most likely before the night was out. I hurriedly walked to the corner on the path and looked up the Cinque Terra coastline. It was beautiful because of the moonlight and not the lights from the buildings. This is real beauty, but man made lights can be pretty as well.
After taking a moment I hurriedly walked back towards the hostel. As I walked past the tunnel to the train station I met the California Kid and his two traveling companions hurriedly walking to the hostel. They
Big Bank Accounts, Big Empires, Big Business. The people that own these boats have something big in their life other than these boats. That all comes at a price much greater than the Manufactures Suggested Retail Price though.
had been out bar hopping the Cinque Terre Cities. When we got close to the hostel he popped out in front of everyone else. He had taken some steps that were a farther distance and harder walking so he could beat everyone else, then gave an overly confident hand gesture to the three of us just behind him. At the hostel entrance there were three staff members getting ready to leave and lock the hostel up for the night. I directly went to my room, which was the same as Mr. Kids. I expected a heavy night of snoring from him since he had been drinking all night. Time would tell.
I slept pretty good last night as the Kid surprisingly did not snore much at all. It seems like sleeping is somewhat hit and miss with me in the hostels.
I went down stairs and began typing around 7:15. No alarm went off this time. I typed for awhile and soon after Sophie came down stairs. She was ready for her trip back to Belgium. She was going to drive part of the way and then shut her down for the night. She is a very
Can you pick the guy out in this photo that is about to be denied access to this Casino?
organized person. Soon afterwards Lesel arrived. She was heading to the work camp. I kept teasing her telling her she was going there to wash dishes instead of working outdoors on the farm. In a past work camp she said she had to do some mundane chores around the house that she didn't feel was in line with the purpose of the program. Both of them had left and I was still typing. I typed for a while longer and then got my stuff together and headed out. Sophie had told me the time I needed to be at the train station so I headed in that direction. I decided to head back out to the lookout for one last look. It looked a lot like the day before really. It is interesting how time continues on with or without me or anyone else for that matter. Does anyone really matter in this world. If they are no longer with us will the world keep revolving 360 deg. on it's axis. I think so.
The lookout point was cool during the day as well, but I liked it even more at night. I walked down to the train station.
Low and behold Lesel was still there. I think she said she had misread the train schedule or something. We talked a little bit about that. I offered her some cookies as I had picked up a liter of milk and a bag of cookies for breakfast. I had my fill of cookies and offered cookies to the people around me. It was fun as they seemed to be entertained by that. Most people didn't take any, which I guess is the common response to a total stranger offering a person food.
Lesel's train came and she was off to the work camp to do dishes for a week and my train came to take me to the French Riviera. That has a nice sound to it doesn't it. This train however seemed to be as local as they get. It seemed to take forever. Finally, we made it to Genoa which seemed to take forever. I had talked to an older lady for awhile who said she was going to Genoa for her grandaughter's birthday party. I still had a ways to go to get to my destination of Ventimiglia. I am not sure of the exact time, but it seemed to take around 5 hours for this trek. The skies were partly cloudy and at times is sprinkled. There were many people on the beaches as the train ran right along the sea for most of the distance.
I got on another train for the final leg into France. Their were not many people on the train until we pulled into the Monaco Train Station. The Monaco Grand Prix had finished this same day and there were loads of people getting onto the train in Monaco. It was quite impressive. A man from Scotland and his wife sat by me. He had a ticket around his neck to the race. I took a picture of his ticket. We talked for awhile and after our conversation I was ready to go visit Scotland. He ask where I was staying and I told him, I did not know yet. He said I could stay with him and then said oh wait our son is there too, so I guess we can't offer that. They got off at their stop and I continued on to my final destination of Nice. It had been a long day of traveling and I was ready to find a hostel and call it a day. I had met a man originally from Amsterdam who now lives in Nice. His name is Hans, who had said he had found lodging for 20 € a night near the train station. I decided to walk around a little and found a hotel. I walked up and saw the price to be 140 €'s a night. I knew that was not going to work out. I ask at a bus station the directions to the hostel and they told me to get on bus 14, but it is a lot better to get on the bus around the corner not at this stop as it is much longer. I started walking in the general direction of the stop and saw some kids with backpacks talking to the other kids without backpacks. It turned out these ladies were staying in the hostel where I was planning to stay. They had some groceries to pick up and told me where the bus stop was and what time it left. I went directly there and waited. They soon showed up. I ask them if the hostel had food and they said no so I ran around the corner to the McDonalds for supper. When I got back I scarfed down the food and jumped on the bus. The young ladies were from Canada, Korea and China all traveling by their self. I was asking them some questions and asking how to say some French words and they laughed at my pronunciations. A lot of the words you have to keep your tongue still so I dubbed the French Language the "lazy tongue language." Not sure of the accuracy of that description, but that is how I coined it. I asked them how hard it is to get around just using English. A lady from the front of the bus was listening to the conversation and turned around to say it is definitely doable. I ask her where she was from and she said Sicily. I told her about the women I met from Sicily in Rome and the Sicilians I met in Assisi who gave me the car ride. They are definitely in the running for the friendliest people in Europe. Why is that important to me? Not sure? I guess because I am attracted to nice people or simply enjoy them the most.
At the hostel I hesitantly walked to the front door and the hostel worker was talking to a lady about something. I ask him if he had room for 1 male and he said he would talk to me in a second and to wait inside. I didn't know if he did or didn't have room but figured I would find out soon enough.
The hostel guy came in and asked if I had reservation and I told him no. He looked through his list and shook his head and said no they were filled up. He said there was a motorcycle pulled up 5 minutes before I had arrived and kept saying if only I had called. For some weird reason I perceived him wanting me to have the room more than the motorcycle rider. Not sure why, but he seemed to be extremely nice to me. I ask him if there were other hostels available and he said there was one he thought and called them. He said they do have room and showed me the location on the map. It was now about 8:00 and it finally looked like I had a place to stay. I ask him if I could walk there and he said it is far and I should take a taxi. I ask him how much for the taxi fare and he said about 20 €. I told him I could not afford that. I looked at the map and scaled it off to only be about 2 km or roughly 1.2 miles. That is not that far so I told him I was going to walk it. He acted like I was crazy to walk there and went and looked at the bus schedule. There was a bus coming in a few minutes, but I told him I can walk 1.2 miles easily. He gave me that crazy look again and shrugged his shoulders. He showed me a little bit of a short cut down some steps and I was on my way. I really liked the guy working there as he seemed to do everything he could to help me. I still think back to that hostel in Queensway, England, where the hostel worker just through up her hands when I asked for the bus schedule information. She indicated it wasn't her job to help me with the bus schedule. I didn't like the people of London much. I have come to the realization however that the residents of big city's are not indicative of the country’s residents. I no longer base anything on the people I meet in the big cities. Often they are not even from the country.
I began my walk and it was nice and easy to begin with. Everything was down hill. I thought briefly that it would be awesome to just roll down this hill. I then thought how dizzy that would make me and the rolling quickly lost it's attractiveness. In one location I saw some people taking pictures over a fence of the City of Nice. Nice is very nice. It would be easy to make a tongue twister using nice Nice as the basis. I stopped as well and took a picture. There were lots of beaches and they appeared a lot nicer than what I had seen in the Cinque Terre. I am not sure why, as the Cinque Terre is cool, but it just did not thrill me nearly as much as the Amalfi Coast. My heart is still in the Amalfi Coast, that crazy region which includes Naples. I heard on the news that their garbage situation is in horrible shape right now. When I was there it was piled up all over the place. They are now worried about potential disease etc. from the rotting garbage. I just thought it was normally that way. The big rock with the castle is also cool as well as the harbor with the big boats. I continued on. I reached a corner, or if you want a more exciting word, I reached the switchback as this is fairly steep terrain. At the turn their was even a better view of Nice. It is a City predominantly built up in a valley and some encroachment onto the surrounding hillsides. It is indeed very pretty. I continued down the hill. As they say it is all down hill from there. Well not exactly. Isn't there a saying too that says what goes down must come back up. The latter saying seems to fit more appropriately. I periodically checked my progress on the map and noticed I did not seem to be putting much of a dent in the distance I had to travel. About a 1/2 hour had passed and I had maybe covered 1/4 of the ground and the terrain had flattened. I walked for another 15 minutes or so and saw a couple women who were standing by an older model car. By this time I knew I was in for a long night of walking at this rate and thought to try some desperate measures. Lets see if I can sweet talk these ladies a little. Ladies do this all the time to guys maybe guys can do it women. Why not give it a shot. I walked towards them with a smile from ear to ear and puppy dog eyes. I say “English” in a question asking tone. The younger lady as typical said she speaks a little English and shook her hands in a gesture to reiterate a little. I showed them my map in a quizzical manner showing them my final destination. I knew exactly where I was and where I had to go. I was just hoping they would say we are headed that way hop in and we can drop you off. I kept acting like I understood her in a quizzical manner. She was extremely helpful and the older lady seemed helpful as well, but did not speak English. I was very pleased with their desire to help me, but I still was footing it. After about 5 minutes of dialogue accompanied by puppy dog eyes I was out of questions and they had not offered me a ride in their car. Their car actually was quite full and their really was not room for me anyway. The people from Sicily fit me in a car that really did not have room either so these folks could do it as well. They were very nice people though. We waved goodbye and I thanked them. I really had nothing to say negative about these folks except they did not give me a ride for whatever reason and there are plenty of possibilities as to why they didn't.
So I continued on. The terrain had changed from downhill at first, then to flat, and now uphill. I had been walking now for about 1 hour and it appeared I was past the halfway point. That was good, but it was all uphill now. I saw a two star hotel and saw where the price was 39 € a night. That wasn't too bad if I were only traveling with another person, but I am not. I kept plugging away. I started creating mini victories in my mind. When I make it to such and such street, I will have covered a quarter of the remaining distance . When I make it to this street I will be half way there. You get the point. Mind over matter.
After about two hours of craziness I made it to the street with the hostel at least as indicated by the map. I walked down the street to the location of the arrow on the map. I did not see the hostel. The sign by the main road indicated there was a hostel on this street. I walked back to the beginning of the street, but no hostel. I walked back down the road. But still did not see it. I saw a pizza delivery kid and ask him. Actually these pizza delivery kids on these mopeds drive like mad men. They had been buzzing around all over the place. I told him where I walked from and where I was walking to. He reasked where I had walked from and I answered him. He laughed indicating I was crazy and to think I just thought the same about him. I told him I did not want to take up his time, but ask where the hostel was. He said he didn't know. Great a kid that delivers pizzas does not know where the hostel is. That is a bad sign. He road down the street and asked a guy and came back. He said you go around that corner and then make an immediate left. I reiterated the directions to make sure and then he said right then left and moved his body as if he was taking those corners on his mopeds and kind of hummed the right then left like I was a kindergartner. I suspect because of the distance I had walked he thought I was very dumb. I walked down the street and made the right and then the left and no hostel. It was not the first left it was the second left maybe. I am thinking these guys do not have a clue on how to give directions. And their maps are horrible. It clearly showed the hostel on the map where I was looking the first time. I walked back up to the main street and made the second left this time and sure enough I came to the hostel. At the front desk there were two guys appearing to be in an argument, but I was not sure as they were speaking French. Finally they showed me to my room. They too laughed when I told them where I had come from. It was an ok place, but nothing great. I had three other German guys in my room as well. I was tuckered out. It had been a long day of traveling.
I got up around 7:30 and showered. I had slept great, but the guy in the bunk above me did not sleep that well as he had a cold or allergies or maybe a combination of both. I got dressed and talked to the German guys for awhile. They were on a hiking trip. I thought they were going to hike from camp site to camp site, but no they were hiking from City to City and staying in motels or hostels. I was not as impressed with this arrangement. They were on break from college. I went up to eat and was served my first French breakfast, which consisted of a bowl of coffee or chocolate as well a roll of course. The purpose of the bowl of coffee or chocolate milk is to dip your bread into the bowl of liquid. I was not to keen on this idea so I resisted. I would have much rather had a bowl of cereal and milk. I decided to resist this French custom my first day. I figure there would be more days to take part in this interesting food option. I went for a glass of hot chocolate and a roll with butter and jelly. The German guys came up a little later and sat down at the table I was at. Actually one of the three is an Italian from the Lake Como area. It is good to see such diversity in school. I guess at times I am overly impressed by the Europeans and their travel, but in reality they are really not traveling that far but are traveling none the less. I believe they are traveling farther than most Americans. If you travel from St. Louis to Denver that is probably farther than the distance these guys traveled to get here and I have done that many times.
We talked a lot about several different items including some politics. They said Bush comes across dumb, but he is a smart man. I was surprised at this comment and the first time I have heard anyone say anything remotely close to that by a European. I have heard Americans tell me stuff like that but they are Bush supporters and will pretty much say anything to defend the guy. I will not stick up for a person regardless of what he does. If I vote for a guy and he does something I do not like then I will say I do not like it publicly. I will not try to back him regardless of what he does. They said it is wise for Bush to go into Iraq to protect the US's oil interest. It was funny to hear someone so blatantly and easily say that, as if it was a no brainier. I told them I agree if there were not oil there, we would not give a rats ass what was going on in Iraq. If Africa had oil we would be over there under the auspices of a humanitarian mission. I heard a Bush supporter recently say after agreeing that no oil no war, that we are there for our economic interest as if that is a justifiable reason for going there. I told her to tell that to the dead soldiers parents and/or wife and/or kids. The person is dead because of money and let me know how the dead persons relatives take that. It is a sad state of affairs when the reason for war is not clear. The Germans went on to say it is currently in vogue to not like Americans. I noticed that as well, that Europeans love to bring up problems in America. I often hear them talk about school shootings and how Americans are fat. I tell them that yeah all the Dutch wear wooden shoes and smoke pot too. They love to hear about negative American things. I am quite certain jealousy is a driving force in them. My pride for America has increased during my travels. Bush has just made it easy to hate America these days with his diplomatic ways or lack thereof, and going to war for reasons that were not true.
The German guys say they do not proudly say they are Germans, because that has connotations of Neo Nazism. I told them we have radicals in our country as well, besides our current president. The candor of these guys was pretty cool. We talked for about an hour about political stuff. They enjoyed the discussion as much as I did. I also asked them about Nazism and dealing with their past, which they openly discussed.
From there I got my stuff together and hit the door. On my way out they wanted information on how to access my travelblog, which I wrote down for them. I headed for the bus station and got on the first bus headed down the hill. I got off and instead of waiting for another bus and paying 1 € for a ticket I chose to walk back to the hostel I went to last night. I wanted to drop the backpack off there. I had to walk back up the hill to do so and again overestimated by abilities. I felt like I was in great shape from all this walking with the backpack. I felt like the "The Rock" from the wrestling world or pronounced wrestling in my world. Ok maybe the Rock's Mini Me is more appopriate like Dr. Evil's Mini Me from Austin Powers who is 1/8 the size. Ok my nickname is Mini Rock.
Anyway after about a mile of uphill walking I arrived a little after 12 and the place was closed. I was afraid of this. I thought about throwing the backpack in the weeds, but decided I better not. It looked like I was headed to Monaco / Monte Carlo with everything I brought to Europe.
I decided not to wait on a bus and just walk back down the hill to the train station. I am not one to wait around these days. I decided to walk past the harbor and saw a bus stop and ask a bus driver which bus takes you to the train station. He gave me the number and I went over to the bus stop and waited for the bus. I talked to a couple ladies from Columbia who had moved to Spain. They were there on business and was on their way to the train station as well. I helped them with their bags as they had more luggage than they needed in my opinion anyway. It is really not that hard to travel light and still look like a million damn dollars. Ok maybe not a million, but at least a few dollars anyway.
After getting them and their luggage to the train station I went and figured out which train I needed to get on. While doing so there was a leggy lady playing the dumb bimbo part to get help getting on the train. I helped her out some and she kept saying you are so nice over and over. That made me laugh and she ask why I was laughing. I ask her how many trains she had been taking and she had done it quite often. I told her understanding trains are not that hard tp figure out. In her high pitched bimbo voice she kept saying she just ask for help and that the people are always so nice. I told her she was very pretty and that probably improves her chances of getting help. I had a few minutes to kill so I actually carried her bag all the way onto the train for her even though I was not getting on that train. She ask several other people about this being the right train even though I told her it wass. I was just wanting to get out of there. She asked a few questions about me. I had not ran across anyone playing the bimbo card to this level. She was in Cannes for the Film festival stuff and said she was there doing the red carpet stuff. I guess I really didn't care about that, so I didn't ask her any questions about it. She said she is an actor and lives in California. I couldn't help but laugh several times when she would talk and I think she might have gotten a little tired of it, as she kept asking why I was smiling. I should not have been doing it, but women that use their goods to get stuff I don't tolerate very well. I know I have said it before, but women want all this equals rights stuff, but they do not hesitate to play the sex card when they can. I guess some women just try my patience. This is the lady I had searched for in San Diego, but never found. She amused me.
l got on my train and was on my way to Monaco. There was a lady nearby who spoke English and we talked awhile. She is from LA and was in Cannes on business and extended her trip a few days so she could travel. The Cannes Film festival was over on Sunday the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix. There were lots of people in town. Another lady was in the car nearby as well that we talked to. They talked about where they were going, and I just played the dumb bimbo that was just going there to walk around. They did not make fun of me however, like I did of this other lady. I am such a self righteous mean person that makes fun of people.
In the end I decided to just hang with these two ladies as they had a game plan. They wanted to see the Princess's car collection, which did not interest me a whole lot but I decided to do it anyway. Also they wanted to check out the aquarium in Monaco and of course the Casino. We got there late in the day around 3:00 and waited at the bus station for a long time instead of walking. I prefer to walk, but I was now traveling with two other people and I could not push my ideas too strongly. I figure by walking you get the associated health benefits as well as getting to your destination. Anyway after about 30 minutes the bus showed up. We walked around Monaco's rock. It was an elevated portion near a couple harbors. This is where the Palace, car museum, cathedral and aquarium was at. We walked briskly around and after some effort found the car museum. The women I were with went nuts in this place. I thought for sure we would get thrown out of this place. At one time the one lady went under the rope and sat in the backseat of this classic car while Grace the other lady took her picture. I tried to get away from them as much as I could, when this craziness was going on. I really did not want to end up in Monaco's jail. They mainly where in there taking pictures for their brothers and not for their self. I thought the museum was ok and enjoyed the old Packard cars the most. We left there and walked to the Cathedral. This is where Grace Kelly and Princess Ranier was married and were put to rest. I took a picture of Grace Kelly’s tomb. I got a great picture near the church of a harbor and some homes. From there we went to the aquarium. This was quite expensive at 12 €, but I decided to splurge and stay with them. All I cared about seeing were sea horses and they had some to my enjoyment. It was a pretty cool aquarium, but Shedds in Chicago is much better. I like the dolphin shows, the best which this one did not have and was way to small for anything like that. I am not sure where Monte Carlo is in relation to Monaco or if it is the same place and I do not know if I ever made it to Monte Carlo even.
From here we were pooped and hungry and decided to go for a beer and pizza at least that is what I had. After a quick meal we walked to the Casino. This place was very cool and there were a steady stream of Lamborghini's, Mercedes, Ferraris etc. pulling up. There were lots of sightseers in the area watching the rich get out of these luxurious cars. At one point I was walking across the street with an older gentleman and some punk kid in a Lamborghini was motioning to the guy to get out of his way. I was thinking what an ass this punk kid was being as this guy was not doing anything different than anybody else. The kid just needed to wait a few seconds. Somehow I think daddy must be paying his way in this world as tantrums like that will not get you for.
I talked to a salesman from Canada for awhile that was on a tour. We talked a long time. His bus was going to Nice and I mentioned if maybe I could get a ride back with them for a small fee. He said he would go see what he could do. He came back a few minutes later and said no the bus driver said it is against their rules. I thanked him for his efforts and figured I better mosey on out of there.
I walked back to the train station and figured out where I needed to be. I talked to a lady near me to confirm this train was going to Nice and she said it is, as that is where she was headed as well. She said the person she is traveling with is trying to get the tickets at a machine that only takes coins. She was not sure they had enough coins. When the person made it back I recognized his face. I have a horrible memory for names, but I am good at recognizing faces. I told him he looks extremely familiar and ask him where he was from and he said Chicago. I asked him if he ever taught at the University of Illinois and he said yes he taught TAM 212. I told him I was student of his about 15 years ago. He really looked virtually the same to me. This world is really quite small. We talked for awhile and he said he is doing a traveling professorship in Nice. The lady that was with him appeared quite of bit younger than him to me and she said was trying to get into the U of I to take some classes. I said that I am sure Dad can pull some strings and get you in. He said no it is more like a boyfriend / girlfriend thing. Holy crap there was no hole for me to crawl into and hide. I couldn't believe it, but all size 15 of my shoe was now in my mouth. They were very cool about it and kind of shrugged it off and tried to rationalize that it was actually a complement. I am just glad I do not currently have a class with Richard as I suspect that comment would have hurt my grade. Can they revoke a diploma?
Anyway we talked quite of bit heading back to Nice. I followed them a little ways down a street in Nice then I turned off to go to my bus stop. Once at the bus stop I noticed there were no buses this late. It was a little after 10 and the last bus was around 7 I think. Back to walking. I walked up the hill and made it their around 11:30. I was just hoping they were not closed. Most hostels are always open at least to 12. They were open and thank God they had a room. I got checked in and headed to the room. Again I was tired. I talked to a guy from Italy for awhile about traveling and hit the hay around 12:30. Another great day of sightseeing. Who would have thought I would have met a professor in Monaco. It's a small world after all!
I got up around 7:30 and went down stairs to get some breakfast. I had a quick breakfast and went back upstairs not feeling bad about waking up the guys still sleeping. 8:00 is late enough. They should be getting up now anyway. They are burning day light. I am not sure what western I got that line from, but I am thinking it is one starring John Wayne. I am going to watch one of the cable channels the next time they have a John Wayne weekend so I know if indeed it came from one of his movies or some other western. Maybe the violence we see in today's society is do to those old westerns. Maybe John Wayne is solely responsible for the violence in today's society. Yes lets blame the violence on the Duke. I was thinking the other day how nice it is walking around Europe. I am never concerned about the guy next to me having a gun or a knife. I know there is some violence, but I do not believe the society in general is violent although Hitler was violent. At least today's European society does not seem too violent. I know as soon as you say something like that I am knocking on wood. Mainly I am just wanting to say that I had some strange feelings the other day about how more concerned I am with my safety and consequently more fearful I am in the US than I am here. In the US I live in more fear. Damit Duke! And I use to love your movies too. I think I will keep watching.
Back at the room I was happy to see it appeared most of the people were up and moving around. I got my bag packed and hoisted on my shoulder and soon I was walking out the door simply by putting one foot in front of the other. All together now, " and soon you will be walking out the door." I was told by the front desk I had 15 minutes before the bus arrived and me trying to optimize my time I decided to jump on the internet. I bought credit for the computer and then my roomy from last night ask me if I wanted a ride downtown as he was headed that way. I did not want to delay him so I ask for my money back on the computer time, but they said that is not possible. Well I wasn't going to argue and they did say the code should work at other HI hostels and I would surely be staying at a few more of those during my travels. I threw the pack in his trunk and we were off. This guy is from Italy and I enjoyed talking to him. I figured also this was saving me a euro for the bus fare so the potential lossed computer time is partially compensated and I gain time as well, as the buses seem to be very erratic.
He dropped me off near the old town area. I decided to walk the beach there for awhile and saw there were sunbathers out there all ready. A few were topless, which didn't seem to be that much of a bid deal anymore. The beach was not too bad although it did appear a little rocky. The beach was very long and this is definitely a tourist beach area. I decided to walk to the train station as the back was feeling a little heavy after consecutive marathons carrying it around the last two days.
At the train station, low and behold I run into Grace, the lady I had spent the day before with. She was headed to Marseilles and I was too. Actually I decided to stop at Cannes as I would be going right through that area on my way and figured I had to stop since they have such a world renown event there, which is the Cannes Film Festival. Actually the event was just a week earlier. She however only had a second class ticket and I had first class (because I am old actually as anyone over 26 has to buy first class rail passes) so of course I was not going to sit near her as I was sitting in first class. I was worried too that someone might see me in second class and my image would be ruined and rumors would fly. For some reason on this day I didn't feel like sitting second class and I did kind of feel like I had bugged Grace enough the day before and she might want some alone time.
I got off at Cannes and the railroad station was not far from the beach. I walked a long the beach and it was busy. Lots of people here and it was a beautiful day. I walked on always looking at the buildings to my left for a red carpet. I wanted to take a picture of the building where the red carpet is rolled out for the film festival. I never saw it. I did see however a scene setup to promote the Simpson's movie, which is coming to theatres near you. I have always been a Simpson's fan. I can remember when that show first hit the air back in 1987. It has stood the test of time and you know it is a quality show when it stays around for that length of time. My favorite Simpson's poster is one with Homer laying on a couch with a can of Duff beer on his belly. The thought cloud coming from his mouth says, "Ahhhh Beer a Temporary Solution." Amen to that!
There were people climbing the fence getting on the set having there picture taken. I crawled up there with my backpack on and set the backpack near Lisa and my hat was put on Homer's head and looked at the camera and smiled. The lady that took my picture took several pictures which was nice. Several other people stopped and looked at the revised scene which in addition to the Simpson's cast included me, my backpack and my hat. Other people were doing goofy stuff as well. I wish I had been there for the big ta do a few days earlier. It would have been fun stargazing.
I continued on and saw a nice hotel called Carlton that looked like it was of the character, to not be out of place with a red carpet on it's steps. I asked some workers if this is red carpet location in my most concise English, but they couldn't follow my question very well. Based on their attempted answer I was more sure that it was, than wasn't, but I did not really know. I walked on and came to the end of the Beach area and decided to get some lunch and sit down under a palm tree to eat the lunch. I had a hot dog chips and a soda. The hot dog was really good. I think the bread was the main reason it was so good, but I also like the hot horseradish mustard that came with it. After finishing off the lunch I decided I must get in the water for a swim. I walked down to the beach with my back pack and day pack on my person. Actually this was everything I had. I saw a young lady who was on the beach with a young child and ask her if I could sit my stuff down near her while I swam. I also emphasized to her this stuff is all I have and can not afford to lose it. She understood the significance and as I commonly do I probably over explained the situation. Anyway she was ok watching it and I was headed for the water. There is always a little apprehension when you go into the water not knowing the temperature. It was really hot so the water couldn't be that cold. Well it was quite cold my eagerness to swim went down considerably. There were a few other people out there so I figured I just needed to acclimate. After a few minutes the hyperventilation period had passed and I was out swimming like a shark. I then wondered are there sharks in the Mediterranean. I remember seeing one at the aquarium in Monaco so there must be sharks in this area. I thought well they were not great white sharks, so they can't be that dangerous. Or can they?
No I really didn't think about any other more proficient swimming animals swimming in this water than me. I thought if a shark does attack me, I will just kill him like Leonardo DeCaprio had in the movie The Beach. I actually kind of liked that movie although it is a little bizarre. Bizarre like Pulp Fiction a movie I like very very much. I have weird movie taste. In order of most liked goes Joe Dirt, Casablanca, Pulp Fiction and The Last Boy Scout. Watch The Beach and let me know what you think. I watched while staying with the couchsurfer in Sacile, Italy. She didn't have many movies, but the ones she did have were very good. She also had the one about the famous London Killer which I forget the name of right now. Okay back to the diary this is not a movie review journal.
I swam for about 20 minutes and the water did feel quite well after that first 5 minutes of the bone freezing acclimation period. I got out and laid on the towel for awhile and the sun felt great warming me back up. I decided I better get some sunscreen on as sun poisoning is not something I desired. Yes there is such a thing. I got the sunscreen on and decided to get a quick nap. Isabelle said she was going for lunch and I told her I was going to stay there and if she wanted I could watch her stuff. I guess the stuff she had there was not that valuable so she was willing to role the dice with me watching her stuff or she just trusted me. Not sure.
She was gone for an hour and brought me a diet coke back. That is what I normally drink so I said perfect and drank it I played with Lucas who is Isabelle's little boy of 5. He wanted to play in the water so I took him in the water. He enjoyed fighting the waves. As the waves came in he would try and karate chop the waves just as they broke. He kept wanting to go farther down the beach to the point where there was a little moss on the beach, which he didn't like. At that point he would head back towards mom. We dug a hole in the sand and he made sand molds with the designs.
There are two American kids in this hostel that keep throwing around the F-Word. He just called back home and is talking about his girlfriend who has an ex boyfriend that still is in love with her at least that is the gossip I am hearing. He is talking to a lady who apparently is traveling with him. They seem to have everything figured out if you listen to the conversation. I am getting tired of all the F-Words that are flying around. I personally think they could say the same thing with less F-Words. I don't know what it is, but when I hear people talking about their feelings at this level and acting like they know all about human relationship psychology, I worry about them. The girl is now saying to this guy she is traveling with, that her girlfriend back home loves the guy she is traveling with. I am thinking at there tender age of maybe 20 years of age I am quite certain they do not have love figured out. Oops I think I have heard sex mentioned now. If they want to increase the stakes of their relationship on so many levels, then throw some sex into the equation. That will turn the relationship volume way up both physically and emotionally. Tread delicately there. Love is not something that is easy to figure out and at 20 you do not know much. Anyway I am tired of their conversation and the accompanying F-Words so I am leaving. I should tell them to call Dr. Phil. He will straighten them out, although I think they already have it figured out.
Anyway after play time with Lucas I headed back towards my blanket and the relaxation that is on it. I really do like playing with kids so it was nice to do such as not many people that meet travelers for the first time let you play with their kids. This is a little different situation as we had watched each others belongings and mom could watch our every move and there were people all around watching as well.
Around 5 I decided I had had enough sun and was ready to head up the ramp off the beach to have a beer from the vendor in the shade. Lucas was riding his bike up the ramp and around me at times. We decided to go get a bite to eat. On the way Lucas wanted to drive a remote controlled boat, which mom let him do. Even though he was a little young to effectively control the boat he didn't do bad. From there we went and grabbed a bite to eat. Everything is quite expensive in Cannes at least at the restaurants. The vendors along the beach however, seemed to offer reasonably priced food.
They were staying in a nice 4 star hotel not too far away and I would be staying in a hostel somewhere near by. I walked back to the motel with them. Isabelle ask where I was staying and I told her I did not know yet. She said all she had was a floor to offer and I told her that would probably be better than the hostel I would stay at. I told her I would pay her the 20 € I would end up paying at the hostel, but she said she was not taking any money. I asked her if maybe they had roll out beds. I told her to ask for the price too and if it was going to be more than 20€ to forget it. She called and indeed they had a roll out bed. Wow things were just getting better. A four star hotel and a roll out bed. I would be staying in the lap of luxury this night and I did. Man hostels result in a person really appreciating hotels. I felt like a king. King David the 8th of Carlyle. How's that sound? Good night from Cannes!