View from Cannes

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Rock and sea, cloud and mountain all illuminated by the sun and dipped in warmth.

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Roadtrip Nice Thru’ to Verdon Gorge

 

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Onwards McDuff. Meandered along the coast to Cannes. I guess we were expecting something a bit cheap, gaudy and classless. Well, that was reserved for Monaco. Cannes was a real delight. Of course expensive, especially as young man had an ice-cream obsession, where can I sell my next kidney? But a place  with a lovely ambience and wonderful streets to peruse back away from the seafront. Wealthy yes, but not tawdry like Monaco. The beach was great for the children, of all ages, with beautiful views along the bay in both directions.

Then we made our way to Nice which was very nice. The horror that would unfold there the next week was unimaginable. Again a wonderful place to spend time and simply take in the atmosphere. This included swimming, splashing and blowing up inflatables until I had cheeks as red as a lobster! All good fun in other words. Monaco was tacky, dirty and seemed to shove its vulgar wealth down peoples’ throats. A large ugly underpass comes to mind and a huge car park that didn’t want us to leave. Some things have passed me by, due mainly to the fact that I want to move onto the Verdon Gorge.

Verdon Gorge. There, it’s easy to say, yes? My wife showed me the map and the route. Assuring me it wasn’t the Alps and the way to Chamonix. Not ‘too’ high. So we headed to Moustiers-Saint-Marie. The Gorge  is 700 metres deep, or high and about 25km long. On I drove, upwards and upwards. The drive was stunning, my hands were wet and my eyes so focused they could have bored through rock. The road is narrow. Very narrow in places. As we rounded corners one could only see blue sky ahead, and still blue sky and then back online. Only to twist outward again. Tunnels wide enough for one vehicle at a time added to the fun. And still upwards. The view down was impressive. But a view I tried to avoid. A two brick high barrier marked the edge of the road. A barrier that couldn’t stop a sickly mouse.In some places nothing along the edge of the road apart from gravity. We stopped at a viewing point. Took pictures, had a look around, wrung out my shorts, that sort of thing. My wife spotted a twisting, switchback, extremely narrow drive down to the canyon floor. Super I said as we clambered back into the car. The way out of the Gorge is stunning and teasing. Just as you think you are going down, upwards swings the road again. I don’t do heights well and so felt proud of myself when we came out on the other side. A side with fields of lavender, wonderful trees and FLAT roads. Flat is good.

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Nice

Intent last week on relaxing, sightseeing and having fun, the family wandered amiably along the edge of the Mediterranean as part of our road trip. In Cassis, St,Tropez, Cannes and Nice. We had taken into account the terror attacks in Paris, and other assorted incidents, and even the football was weighed up. But we went and it was fantastic. People in Nice were from all of the world. They walked, ate, cycled, drank, roller skated and simple ambled around peacefully.

Then this happens. Words sometimes fail me. Really. Simply that as a species we are so self-destructive, so cruel and so bloody hateful to one another. Some revel in the filth of hatred and pain. The answer to such things is not for here, or now, for the moment. Once again we send our thoughts and prayers for the families of the dead, and for the wounded, both physically and psychologically after this senseless abomination.

I will go back to France with pleasure as it is a beautiful country. And as our way of life, imperfect as it can be, must go on.

Headin’ North, Oars in the Rowlocks!

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Plans upon plans. This summer, after driving to Germany, The South of France for Arles, Aix-En Provence, The Camargue and the Mediterranean, then  burrowing underground in Polish gold mines, finders keepers, we are headin’ north. Up to Gdansk which is a great town and worth a visit in its own right,  or to be more accurate Gdynia, for a ferry to Karlsrona in Sweden.

The first idea was to place the ‘oars in the rollocks’ and chain me to a Viking Longship bench. However with the car, children and four bikes along with enough logistics to land a marine expeditionary force, we have decided on a ferry. I know, a lot less fun than a longship, but my wife says I can keep the loincloth!

The idea is to take in Karlsrona by bike and enjoys its beautiful cycle paths. Then back to Gdansk to cycle and camp around the Three Towns.  Can’t wait!

Sleepy Beautiful Tropea, Italy

Half and hour by inexpensive train brought us to Tropea with its castle, monastery, cathedral and sleepy narrow streets.

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The view up from the beach. Flip flops are not the most practical footwear  for the descent nor for the tired ascent. The beach wasn’t overcrowded and plenty of places abounded for the essential tasty Italian ice-cream. The town has a little snooze in the afternoon so it is a good idea to have viands tucked away in a bag for the children who can become hungry anytime. Also remember to take that large fold up map. Good for directions, better for keeping off the sun when lying on the beach as a makeshift awning!

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The castle is small but is worth visiting as a museum gives an idea of hour people must have fared under the Italian sun. At its feet is a roundel which has now become an open air restaurant. Splendid views out across the Tyrrhenian Sea as the sunset set, was as stunning a backdrop as could be desired. Be careful about feeding one cute kitty that may well come your way though, as a few more will quickly note your largesse!

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View from our table,  without the cats . Sit back and soak in the atmosphere which is Tropea:-)