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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 43.7405, 7.42543
The fact is, the city streets of Nice are anything but nice. It reeks of urine (from people or pets, it matters little) , and if you're not smelling toilet, you're getting accosted by second-hand cigarette smoke. And what's worse, dogs poop all over the sidewalks without any apparent law against it so you're either hopping over steaming piles of poo at the last second, or sidestepping smears where people have tried in vain to clean their shoes. We have new found appreciation for the municipal laws in Meridian requiring people clean up after their pets. Yuck! OK, onto the better events of the day...
It was a day of contrasts between old and new, quaint and extravagnt. We traveled first to the old medieval city of Eze Village, perched high upon a cliff overooking the Mediterranean. It was a complicated process of figuring out the bus and tram systems to get where we needed to go when we speak only a handful of words in French...made increasngly complicatd by rerouting due to construction and the ticket machines that required change only. But finally we were on our way up the coast.
Eze was undoubtedly the highlight of this chapter
of the trip. Narrow cobbestoned streets and winding staircases to secret terraces, a hundred species of cacti, slender stone statues, a trickling creek, and little shops established in the alcoves of the mountain. Artists sold paintings, silk scarves, and mobiles of men in hot air balloons. We cooled ourselves from the heat later with Sprite on ice (the only way we have discovered to get ice in Europe) with an additive of syrup, menthe (me) and citron for Sean.
Then we boarded the bus for Monaco, the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican City. We approached the Monte Carlo Casino in all its ornate splenor, affronted by luxury sports cars from purring Ferraris and Porsches to Maserratis and Mercedes. Ultra-tanned women with silky summer dresses clung to the elbows of fully suited men and we felt (again) like the country bumpkins from Idaho in our khaki shorts and flip flops.
But that didn't deter us from seating ourselves at the Cafe de Paris to order one of their 19 euro sundaes (a whopping $25 in USD) to enjoy a taste of the lifestyle of the rich and famous, laughing all the way though at the absurdity of the
place. Afterward we gained permission to walk through the lobby of the Monte Carlo Casino in its bejeweled opulence. Crystal chandeleirs, marbled pillars, men in ties, women in heels. We're not gamblers, but it was still fun to take a peek at where the top 1% gamble their riches. We would have needed formal attire to go any further, so with a shrug and a giggle, we made our way back to the city street.
The next site was the palace of the Prince of Monaco. Think miniature Versailles on a hilltop, add in a panoramic view of the Cote d'Azur, and an hourly changing of the guard in white uniforms and you'll about have it. Pyramids of old canonballs and several old canons lined the front of the palace, a visual representation of its military prowess. Opting against the steep entry fee to view inside, we simply enjoyed the lovely hilltop view and returned to the bus stop. It was a relatively quick 40 minutes back to Nice.
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