February 19th - February 28.
After leaving the blustery winds and rain in London we landed under clear, blue skies in southern France.We did enjoy every minute of being in England again, but we were definitely ready to dry out.
Michael and I arrived in Nice at 1:30 in the afternoon. He headed into the town to get everything settled in our apartment while I waited at the airport for the arrival of Mrs. Mary and our two little grandchildren, Colette 3 1/2, and Marcel, who will be two in June - Mary is expecting baby III at the end of May! I could see them about an hour later through the window as they turned the corner into baggage claim - Mary definitely had that zombie look that comes with traveling with small children, let alone being 6 months pregnant - but she was also calm and radiant. Love that girl.
Mooma (that's me) to the rescue! Together we scooped everyone up and clambered aboard a city bus heading for 'home' for the next ten days. Both our bus and Michael's earlier taxi were held up due to Carnival 'divertisments' - the daily parade through town was in full swing!
A few hours later Mary would return to the airport to head back to Paris for two days for a food styling project. She is quickly growing her business and is in demand! http://www.eatinginparis.com/
Thanks again, airbnb. We landed the perfect apartment. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/922255
The bustling daily farmers market was literally outside our front door, the twisting maze of old town was just behind us, the beach was a stones throw away (more about that later), amazing parks were close at hand, and Carnival was one big confetti fest. We did not lack for things to see and do.
I unloaded all of my American kid booty including a frothy, spangle-covered blue carnival dress and Candyland game for Coco, and a scary shark and shorts set and a Thomas the Tank Engine for Marcel.Then we were off to explore.
|Since when did Candy Land have a spinner? She loved it anyway!|
What a great city. So walkable and family friendly - and of course a warm sea breeze can't be beat no matter where you are. Surprisingly, t
he beaches here are covered with smooth stones of every size. It was hard to find patches of sand, but we didn't mind since it was still a little too cool to spend more than an hour or so at the beach, and the surf was a little high for the kids. We had a great time picking through rocks to find shapes to bring home and paint later. A great afternoon activity if you were Mooma and Coco. Marcel preferred to throw the rocks. Inside, outside, anywhere, really.
|So many Rocks to choose from...toss them? Paint them? |
|Or make them into a little Frenchman!|
Mary and I love to cook together so we shopped the market every day and created some memorable meals. Of course fantasy had to be tempered with reality - who would eat what, and when?
|So nice to be back to eating fresh and local every day!|
Who would nap and who wouldn't - especially grown-ups? Most every one did nap. Most every one did eat, most every one did have temper tantrums, and most every one did get along in our small space.
|Naps? Who's takin' Naps? Grandpa and Mooma, that's who!|
Marcel performed some spectacular face plants on the tile floor, and Coco cracked under pressure a few times, but all in all it was a great time. Highlights included watching Frozen (as many times as was necessary), Carnival, fun-with-rocks, parks everywhere, coffee and gelato on the promanade, bakery runs, Mom and Mary having dinner at a crazy Indian restaurant, and a trip to the outstanding aquarium in Monaco - only marred slightly by Colette getting motion sick on the very crowded, windy bus trip (no picture needed here). Who needed that shopping bag anyway?
|Carnival was all about confetti and silly string! No beads that I could see.|
|Still wondering about message behind Putins in Tea Cups - but we loved them!|
|The Baby Nemo tank. Next to the Baby Dora tank!|
Mr. Gregoire was blissfully unaware of any of this while on a back-country vacation in Montreal with his good friend Patrice.
Mr. Campbell was able to get away for a football match in Monaco that he thoroughly enjoyed. Was it the getting away? Or the adventure? I think both. He got there in one piece - but the journey home was filled with several public transport twists and turns that only he can explain - he did arrive safe and sound around 1:30 in the morning and I could not detect booze or perfume or gambling debts. So all was well.
|Waiting for the bus just after midnight in Monaco!|
With the opportunity to spend time with Mary and the kids I am
not sure The Senior Nomads truly appreciated Nice in our usual research oriented way -
so I am giving it over to a family beach vacation and calling it good!
|Mary and I in Monaco with a little peek from Coco!|
Too soon it was time to put Mary and the kids back on a plane to Paris, and for Michael and I to board the train for a three night stay in Montpellier, France on our way to Barcelona.
See you soon!
The Senior Nomads