Monday, October 27, 2008

The Nice Diaries: Day 6 - Saturday 20 September 2008

Following breakfast we headed for Gare Thiers for a train to Monaco. We’d been there before, although it was on an organised excursion. Doing it yourself has its advantages: you’re not sticking to a set schedule and you’ve got more than 30 minutes in any one place. On the minus side, you don’t need to climb any hills or staircases....

After a beautiful scenic journey, we arrived in Monaco and were quickly faced with the dilemma of getting from over over there. With my injured knee, descending stairs is actually harder than climbing them so it got a bit distressing at times, but we made it over to the other side and reached the foot of the palace hill. Expecting a lift. Only there wasn’t one, just a defibrillator halfway up the hill. What a sense of humour those Monegasques have!

Surprisingly that climb wasn’t too bad, we got to the top of the hill and then paused for breath outside the palace (pictured above), and explored the old town. We prefer this part of Monaco to the overstated extravagance of the Monte Carlo side. After lunch outdoors we did some further exploring. I loved the gorgeous gowns in the Isabell Kristensen shop - viewing by appointment only. It is Monaco, after all.

Decided not to do the tour of the palace but we ambitiously decided to walk all the way from the palace to the casino. Downhill then uphill again. Surprisingly we were still alive by the end of this, although the heat had got to us by now and I could feel a river of soaking sweat running down my back. Arrived at a packed casino square, (casino pictured below) which is always a fascinating although ultimately artificial attraction.

Headed back to the station and returned to Nice, then back to the hotel just in time for the first daily Star Academy show.

For tonight’s dinner we returned to the Old Town: it’s one of our traditions that we always do a North African meal when in France and tonight was no different - it’s couscous time! Followed, as ever, by mint tea. Here's my vegetable couscous...

After dinner, we went in search of a bar - you’re spoilt for choice in this part of town. We found one which was, thankfully, un-trendy, but there are lots of pubby/clubby places here for the young and trendy folks of Nice.

A late night tonight: off to another bar for more people-watching. It’s great to sit in a pavement bar after midnight and not risk freezing to death. No wonder this idea never caught on at home.

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