Thursday, September 6, 2012
Weekend away in Nice & Marseille
Due to some lucky coincidence (Me: jobless with all the time in the world,Scott: amazing job that flies him to Monaco to watch football), we found ourselves organising a weekend break away in Nice to tie in with the end of his work trip. I see it as our last summer hurrah before autumn kicks in but in typical 'Scott& Kel travel adventure' it rained and drizzled sporadically on both days that we were there. There were spells of warm sunshine on our skin but overall too cold (for me!) to get into the bikini I brought along in my optimistic state.
With just the weekend to explore and lack of sleep for the two of us (me: early flight = good excuse, him: out in Monaco till 3am = bad excuse) we took it slow, and wandered around town without the usual holiday-pressure of needing to tick off a list of 'things to see'.
After lunch, we walked up the hill to Le Chateau which had an amazing view of the Promenade and the beach below. For those who prefer a less strenous way up the hill, there is a lift and even a Segway tour which we found out after we got to the top of the hill!
We spend the afternoon exploring the old town which reminded me of Martina Franca in Puglia - all narrowed streets that criss crosses each other in every angle and small squares/opening dotted at each surprise turn. It was a maze but thats part of the fun and charm of these old towns that I love.
We found the famous ice cream shop mentioned in just about every guide books and had them on both days regardless of the weather! I mean with the selection they had it was difficult not to go back for seconds! We tried guava, lotte biscuit,figs, pistacchio and something else...but the guava and lotte biscuits are my favourite.
Our favourite and cheapest meal throughout was a bar snack called Socca which is a pancake made from chickpea flour for 2.80 euros per portion. Typically served as a take out snack but most bars tend to tie-in with a Socca shop so you pick your different dishes, tapas style then grab a table and you get table service drinks. Check out the queue for this shop in the picture above? You can't even see Scott because he is sooo far back! We queued for a good 20 minutes to get served for what is essentially 'fast food' but it is a catch-22 situation with queues, we picked this shop because of the queue which is often a sign that the food it good but queueing itself is a drag. The spicy fish and socca were my favourite, pizza was too doughy and served cold which just doesn't do it for me and the courgette flower which I was most excited about was again too doughy and the subtle flavour of the flower was lost it in.
Sunday morning we took the bus up the hill to the Cimiez area to visit Musee Matisse which is set in a park filled with olive trees making the park itself worth the trek up the hill. In my naivety on arts, I never get Matisse but I have a new found respect and admiration for him after visiting the museum! The idea of cut and paste shapes baffled me initially (so basic - why is he a genius?) but the museum threw new light in how to appreciate it. I recommend visiting the museum and it is free entry so no excuse not to.
When the sun breaks through the grey clouds, we took a breather to sit and enjoy the view.
Sunday late afternoon, our last day in Nice, Scott went for a run while I read my Kindle by the Promenade waiting for him. He is very good at keeping up his running routine even when away while me...holiday means holiday, which extends to my exercise regime, not that there is a regime to begin with really
We took the train to Marseille on Monday for a day trip but the rain greeted us again, too heavy to even walk to the train station so we took a taxi. The taxi driver relish the rain, informing us that Nice has not had any rain for 3 months (of course, rub it in taximan!) but such is life for us tourist eh - c'est la vie!
Scott went off to work late afternoon leaving me to explore Marseille myself when the rain dies off. I was excited about visiting Le Panier (old town) but that place freaks me out - it was a dead town on that Monday afternoon! I rarely saw another soul while walking about the narrow streets. I was thankful I had an umbrella with me and my imagination ran wild with each turn into an empty narrow path - I was formulating ways to protect myself Shaolin monk style if someone jumps on me! I left soon after, stocked up on local Marseille soaps from a random tiny shop I stumbled upon and wine.
This weekend trip was just a taster and I think we need to return again for a proper nosy esp in Marseille. I missed out trying the famous bouillabaisse and I think that warrants a trip back on itself