Saturday, February 8, 2003

have just arrived back from a day in Villefranche-sur-mer, which was stunning. everywhere i go seems to be more beautiful. OH! and i'm at my original cheaper internet cafe. found it again, apparently i didn't look very hard yesterday, or i was just too tired from walking around all day.

today was a very relaxing day, i slept till about 9:30 and then got a coffee near the train station and after standing around staring at the list of departures for a while i figured out which train i was supposed to take. villefranche is a beautiful little town that surrounds a bay and it is all on the cliffside, so the very narrow streets weave back and forth, some with barely enough room for one car, and there are stairs running straight up the hillside. i wandered through the streets for a while and eventually figured out how to get the the town center where they had maps. and then did some planned wandering, down some very old streets and through some hillside gardens.

for lunch i ate at a little cafe right by the bay, my very first solo restaurant meal. it was good, i had the plat du jour, "lapin a la nicoise" that is rabbit in the style of nice, sort of a tomato-y sauce with garlic and i think some black olives. i also ordered some rose wine, but with no size request. well, despite the fact that i was dining alone, the waiter brought out a half liter carafe - i didn't drink it all (i mean, it was only lunchtime) but i did have like 4 glasses. and it was super cheap - the half liter was about $5.

for the rest of the afternoon i sat on the beach and soaked up some sun - IN MY TANK TOP!! very excited, it was quite warm in the sun, though sitting in the shadows at the train station i had to put my coat back on. was doubly pleased to notice this morning in the mirror that i already have a little color on my face (except where my sunglasses were, the only way i could tell, i'm still not "tan") so perhaps i will come home with a lovely riviera bronze after all!

tomorrow i plan to spend the day in nice again, which will most definitely mean more time on the beach. :) now have 2 rolls of finished film, which i'll mail off to snapfish once i have two more - so i'll have some pictures online - everything is soooo beautiful here. i feel very in my element.

talked to my mom today, and she said it snowed all day yesterday - so i am thinking of you all as i sit on the beach!

until tomorrow!

Friday, February 7, 2003

bonsoir everyone! it's quarter to six now, and i've settled for using this more expensive internet cafe, as i couldn't find the one i was at yesterday......

another lovely day in nice, though no beach today. sat on the beach almost all afternoon yesterday (in my winter coat, alas) which was nice. went out to a small brasserie around the corner from the hotel with a couple of boys from my room, one dutch and one british. was a very local kind of place, which was fun. and there was just too much food - i couldn't finish (could've been the big sandwich i had at 3pm....) i'll have to learn how to say "i'm full" or something. i think the waiter thought i didn't like it. i felt rude...

today walked through the old part of town "vieux nice" and went to the fruit and vegetable market where i bought half a loaf of bread and an apple. (it was all i could manage) then i walked up about a million stairs (felt like) to "le chateau" the site of some old chateau and there was a battle.... anyways, beautiful views. i feel like every picture i take could be a postcard, it is so beautiful here.

everywhere i look there are little dogs, i love it! except for the pooping on the sidewalk part. i've only stepped in dog doo once so far, and after that i started watching the ground a little more. ooh, but they are sooo cute. and so well behaved, half of them aren't on leashes, they just follow behind there masters through busy sidewalks and across streets.... didn't think dogs were like that.

today managed to figure out the bus system and went to the Matisse museum and a museum of a 13th century fransiscan monastary, which had some beautiful gardens. although i think i was supposed to validate the ticket on the bus or something.... after i paid the driver.... so confusing. perhaps am not as deft at bus-use as i thought...

anyway. tomorrow i'm going to take a little day trip villefranche-sur-mer, which is supposed to be stunning and coastal and such.

time to head back to the hotel and rest my feet a little before dinner. alas, it is not carnivale as i thought (and i'm sure i read it somewhere) but they are setting up for carnivale, which will be nearer to the end of the month. oh well. am enjoying myself anyways. nice is very much my speed, very casual, sitting on the beach, people watching, getting a coffee at a cafe, sun, etc.

a demain!

Thursday, February 6, 2003

arrived in nice this afternoon. it is sunny and almost too warm for my coat! :)

the play last night was wonderful, gillian is the fifth famous person i've ever been that close to (after all the members of U2) - i was in the second row. my plan to walk around yesterday instead of the tube was a bad idea. all i ended up doing was getting lost and making my feet hurt. after i found a tube station again i bought a day pass so i wouldn't have to worry.

thought i might be late for my flight, but i managed to get there in enough time (just enough) even though i missed the gatwick express train i thought i should take (luckily the next one left 15 minutes later, instead of 30 minutes later like i thought). at security i was thoroughly felt up and down and then they took my corkscrew, even though it had no blade on it. they were convinced that it had some sort of knife thing within the body of the corkscrew, so i had to let it go. ah bon. i'm sure they have corkscrews in france, and i won't be flying again until the end of my trip when i can just get rid of it.

my flight to nice was short (so short! compared to my flight to england) and as i usually order the vegetarian meal, because it's usually safer, i missed out on bacon sandwiches... :( instead i had a plate of fruit, some of it not very good. and i napped a little on the plane and then chit-chatted with a little old english woman.

and i managed to not only find my first choice hotel, but i was able to get a bed for 18 euro a night (about $19.50). that was actually my biggest fear, not being able to find somewhere to stay! and now that i've accomplished that and i've done some e-mail i think it's time to get some sun on my pasty self.

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

well here i am - in london in a small cafe around the corner from my hostel sipping a coffee and trying to pretend like it's morning, though it feels like about 4am.

i've got some nerves again. i had been feeling alternately nervous and fine about every thing for a couple of weeks before, and then the day of my flight (yesterday) i was really nervous sitting around the house waiting for it to be time, then at the airport i felt fine about everything (though i thought i would cry when i hugged my mom goodbye) and on the plane, and in heathrow and taking the tube to the hostel. but then checking in, all the nerves came back.

it's strange to think this is only the beginning... at home 2 1/2 months seemed like nothing...

tonight i see "what the night is for" starring gillian anderson. the radio blaring into the cafe is saying there's a couple of tube stations shutdown because of overcrowding, so perhaps i'll get a map and try to walk to piccadilly circus.

tomorrow i fly to nice and then the real challange begins - SPEAKING FRENCH!