Back in France....for a while

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October 29th 2007
Published: November 3rd 2007
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Hello again from Nice France!!!

All is well here, cannot believe how little time we have left. I think we are both looking forward to home in our own ways. The thought of lying on the couch, in my favorite pajamas watching a movie has never sounded so good. But at the same time we both wish that it hadn't gone by so fast and we had more time to explore.

Where to begin.....I guess I should mention what I left out of the last blog. At the end of the boat cruise that we posted pictures of in Corfu we had to jump into the water and swim to shore...We were some of the last people to jump in and somehow I found the bottom when I jumped in. The result was 6 stiches in my heel. Not exactly a fun place to have a cut when you are travelling. SOOOO....after realizing that I was going to live and walking on my toes was possible, we packed up and headed on to Athens. Luckily I discovered Neurofen (iburprofen tablets), and since I never take pain killers, it really did the trick. Ross was my pack horse for a couple of days and carried both our packs. I spent a couple of days in bed till the swelling went down and I felt up for exploring. Ross saw the sights of Athens and then would share the pictures with me when he returned at night. Not exactly what I had in mind when I pictured Athens but I had two options. I could feel sorry for myself and drown Ross and myself with misery....OR I could make the best of a shitty situation and carry on with my trip. Clearly I chose to carry on and it hasn't been to much of a burden. We changed out plans a bit in that we aren't going to Corsica to hike anymore, but other than that everything else is a go.

So it is 12 days now since then, the stiches are out, it is healing nicely. After Athens we decided to take the advice of every single person who has ever been to Greece and we headed for Santorini. Santorini is an island that used to be a volcano. It is basically the outer rim of the volcano. Not knowing what to expect, we were both surprised with how rugged it was. The first day was filled with rest as the rain came to the island for the first time in 5 months. That night we joined the rest of the people from the area to watch South Africa win the Rugby World cup. Being in Europe for the whole thing has been quite the experience as they take their rugby very seriously. The next day the sun came out and we rented quads to go and explore the island. What we saw can only be described with pictures as the view truely took our breath away. We ended up staying in Santorini longer than planned as the wind was to strong for the ferries to run. It wasn't so bad to be stuck in such a beautiful place. Because our "little side trip" to Greece had turned into many hours out of our way, we decided there was no way we were going to take a 12hr ferry from Santorini to Athens, another 15 hr ferry over to Italy and then a 6 hr train back up to we skipped the worst part and flew from Athens to Rome. It was a great choice. From Rome we took the train up to Pisa and spent 2hrs looking at the tower and then headed for the Cinque Terre.

After finding the only hostel in the area full, we were a little worried as to where we were going to stay. That is when Sergio came to our rescue. We had been warned about people who approach you to stay in their appartments but we figured it was worth taking a look. What we found made us miss home even more because it was quite like home. We had our own room, which after hostelling for this long is a treat. We also had full use of the kitchen, bathroom, living room etc. We decided to stay the night and see how it was. Sergio spoke very little english but was fluent in French. The fact that Ross speaks french made Sergio so happy and he told us that is why we got special treatment. Each morning he would make us hot chocolate, with biscuits and jam and one night he made us dinner. He took such good care of us and every day he would ask me about my foot. I could do nothing but laugh when he would talk to me because he would always call me "Princess" and then go on to talk to me in french. Lets be honest grade 6-11 french did not really stick with me, so I would just laugh. Ross would translate which was helpful. Anyways, the Cinque Terre is such a special place. It is very touristy in some ways and yet untouched in others. You can be walking down a busy street one minute and the duck into a back ally the next and instantly be in another century, another world. We loved it. We spent 4 nights here and probably could have spent more. My heel was well enough to walk between the cities and Ross did some other hikes up into the hills above the towns. (Which were pretty spectacular i must say)

Today we made our way to Nice and plan to spend a couple days visiting the towns of the French Riviera. It is nice to be back in France as the language barrier is less of a challenge. It was sad to say goodbye to Italy as a big chunk of our trip was spent there. Nice is a very cool place as it is has 4 km of beach front to explore.

Sorry I didn´t finish that blog before my time ran out so now I will catch you up.

We spent three nights in Nice, one at a hostel and the other two at a little hotel that was cheaper than the hostel. We spent a couple of the days exploring Nice and making little side trips to other towns in the French Riviera. On Halloween we made our way to Monaco (7th country on the list). We spent the morning walking around the marina, looking at the ENORMOUS boats. Dad you would have loved it. Then we found a street carnival, with rides and games to play. Since you had to be wearing a suit to enter the Monte Carlo casino, Ross and I decided that our travelling clothes probably wouldn´t make the cut. We decided that playing the games at the fair would be the only gambling we would be doing in Monacco. We had some fun, won a stuffed animal and walked around the town some more. The city is basically a big hill so we quickly were tired and got on a train back to Nice.

Ross wanted to see Barcelona before heading up to Paris, where he flies home from, so we set out for Barcelona. We took a train to Avignon to see the famous bridge and of course dance on the Pont d'Avignon. It was a smaller town surrounded by a huge wall. The Palais de Papes was a huge castle in the city. We arrived at night but I think it was more beautiful than it would have been in the day, all lit up. From there we boarded our first night train. For those of you who have never been on a night train in Europe it is basically six beds, three on each side, squished into a tiny little room. They are to small to sit up in so once you get on the train you have no choice but to go to sleep. I must say it beat the night ferries to Greece where a deck ticket gets you a seat in the caffeteria for the night haha. So we made it to Barcelona to discover that it is a long weekend and everone and their dogs have come to Barcelona this weekend. It is a little busy but we are still able to see the sights and explore the city.

Ross is off to Paris tonight on the train. I think I will spend my last couple days on the beach, maybe go down the coast and see some of the little fishing villages. I have one more rail pass to use and then I am coming home. I can´t post pictures right now as I am sitting in "Subway" using the internet but if I dont get the chance, when I am home I will do a huge summary of pictures.
All is well, sad that our trip is coming to an end but happy that we have had such a great trip and seen so many amazing places. I will try and find a place that I can post the pics in the next couple of days but I just wanted to send a message saying we are fine.
I am a little sad to not be home today as my family is getting a new puppy Chevy! I will see him soon!
Well thanks again for the comments and we will write again soon.

Lots of love,
Alicia and Ross


4th November 2007

Don't worry alicia, Chevy is delayed as there was lots of snow in PG. You'll be back before mom and dad get him. Good to hear from ya, thanks for the long update. Enjoy these days while you can!!

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