Italy with the Family Day 13: A Day in Provence

Published: July 9th 2014
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We woke early, had breakfast delivered early, and met on deck 4 by the theater at 9:15. Cannes is a tender port so we had to get on the tender to get on shore. Andrew and Erika had gotten downstairs to get the tender tickets and Julie was already in line. She said, “I was told I was getting the tender tickets.” We need to have a dinner summit of what the next day’s plan is going to be.

Getting all of the troops rounded up was a predictable problem. One thing about that Erika—she is a timely thing. You tell her 9:15, she’s there at 9:14:30 just to be safe, with Andrew in tow, which is the real miracle of all. We were relatively on time but a few of the twenty-somethings had a hard time finding their way. Today is Wil’s 21st birthday but he made it on time. Good for him! Starting the next phase of his life right. There was a lot of, “Where’s Liz?” “I think she went to get breakfast.” “Where’s Katie?” “She’s with Liz.” “Do they know where to meet?” “I think so.” “Where’s Jack?” “He’s already downstairs.” “Where’s Wil?” “He’s right over there!” Crazy! As we were walking towards the stairs to get in the tender line, I said to Mark, “Okay, Major, with your military expertise, you’re in charge of this group.” Without missing a beat, he said, “Holy shit!” Yep, ‘bout right.

We got everyone gathered and got to the tender at about 9:35 which was later than we wanted to be but so be it. When going through the line, I mentioned to one of the deck officers that it was Wil’s 21st birthday. She said, “Oh, you’ll have to get your card changed so you can go to the bars.” He said, “I’ve been to the bars. The age is 18.” She said, “No, it’s 21.” My sister heard this and said, “It’s 18. We left out of Europe.” The officer said, “Doesn’t matter it’s an American ship.” Mark whispered in my ear, “It’s a Maltese ship, registered in Malta.” Then the officer said, “Well, I won’t report you but I’ll pass it along.” I thought, “And they will tell you that 18 is the drinking age.” Which, by the way, is correct. She must have just come off of a ship in the Caribbean.

The tender was nice and no problems getting on board. We were the last ones on but someone gave up their seats for Mom and Jack. We got off the boat and were met by a short, slightly greasy looking man named Phillipe. His colleague Richard showed up a few few minutes later, a big, tall man whom Phillipe called Shrek. I said to Richard, “If you’re Shrek, is he Donkey?” but apparently it didn’t translate. We got in Richard’s bus (score!) and he took us to St. Paul Venece, a beautiful village in the Provence countryside known for its artists. It is the burial place of Marc Chagall. We strolled up the center street, a windy little cobble-stoned passageway that was entered through a stone arch, part of the original wall of the city, to a look-out point on the other side from which you could see the green and gold Provence countryside and beyond that the sea. Beautiful! We strolled back through and stopped and picked up a few goodies that we had seen along the way. We met Andrew and Erika and they told us about a sweets shop they had found with lovely cookies. I headed there and Mark went to get us a couple of sandwiches. We all met back at the square—a few minutes late but, hey, we’re on holiday—and got back on the buses. Next stop was Nice. They took us to the old town which didn’t have a lot to recommend it but the seaside and beach was beautiful. Mark and I spent most of our time walking along the boardwalk. There had been some confusion when we got out of the bus at Nice. It was 1:40 and Richard said to be back at 3:00. Then after he and Philippe consulted, it was determined it was not 3:00 but 30 minutes. Most of us heard that but Wil and Brian took off after they heard 3:00. At 2:15 the rest of us were back at the buses but Wil and Brian were not. We finally figured out that was the problem and Philippe and Richard said, “Go enjoy Nice. We’ll have to skip Eze.” We took Mom and Jack back into town and sat down at a café to enjoy a glass of wine and the people.
Wil and Brian were spot on at 3:00 and then we were missing Tami and Selah (the beat goes on) but everyone was back on board by 3:10 and back to the ship. Richard dropped Jack, Mark, Andrew, Erika, Wil and Brian back at the ship but Mom and I opted to go into the village of Cannes to walk around a bit before we got back on board. Richard showed us the building where the film festival takes place and left us in a park. We strolled along the boulevard, had a gelato (big even in Provence!) and I found some birthday cards for all of the birthday people on this ship. My sister, her husband and all three of their kids were born in July. We had thought about making signs for our cabin doors that said, “If it’s a birthday, it’s probably us.” We walked through a street market of mostly antiques (my mother said, “If I try to buy anything, break my arm!”) and then back to the ship. A lovely day!

Mark had been to the gym and we met in the hall on the way back to the room. He was in the wrong hall so I followed him and when I caught up to him, I said, “We’re on the other side.” He said, “No, we’re on this side.” Then he looked at the room numbers and said, “We’re on the other side.” Right. We found the cabin, both put our swimsuits on and went up on deck. We swam for a while, met up with Wil and Brian in the pool and witnessed first hand the sleazy, cockney 40-something year old women who were hitting on Wil. Gross. Mark and I sat in the hot tub for a bit and then went back to our lounge chairs, read for a while and promptly fell asleep. Tough life, this!

We woke up in time to return to the cabin, shower and be on time for dinner. Last night’s dinner was a hard choice but tonight’s dinner was dishes from Iron Chef. None of them looked that appealing. I ordered the escargot (off of the Classics menu), a spinach salad and flank steak. The escargot was delicious but the rest of the dinner was a bit forgettable.

We were exhausted so skipped the shows and all tonight and went to bed. It’s nice falling asleep to the rocking of the ocean.


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