If you haven’t done so already, read Part 1 of our European Adventure.
To give credit where it is due, the photos (other than those of Mom and Dad obviously) were taken by my Mom and Dad (my 27 rolls of Velvia sit patiently in the fridge waiting to be developed)
|The folks on Le Chateau overlooking Nice.|
My original plan was to drive the costal road along the Mediterranean to Nice. It was a good idea in theory but it didn’t work out in practice. We spent a bit too long puttering about in the morning, were tied up in traffic trying to get through Marseille and I grossly underestimated how far Nice actually was. In the end we were forced to jump on the highway and just get there. As it was, we were there well after dark and finding the hotel based on vague directions was frustrating to say the least.
Nice’s accommodations were a Holiday Inn Select Resort. Perhaps it was because it was late and I was tired, or perhaps it was because the bathroom garbage wasn’t emptied, or maybe it was the unremarkable Italian food we had for supper – whatever the case I was glad we hadn’t actually paid to stay at the ‘resort.’ It was probably my least favorite hotel of the trip.
|Nice from Le Chateau|
There wasn’t any real reason I chose Nice as a stopping point other than the fact that Andrew and I had stayed there on our Contiki tour of Europe and it was the only place we had time to rest and relax. For me the long crescent beach symbolizes the Mediterranean. I make no illusions about the quality of the beach or the city itself for that matter. I’m sure some of the smaller spots are much nicer. I just remembered the view of the harbour fondly and wanted to see it again – and we did.
The next morning was probably one of the warmest of the trip. (Andrew and I received constant ribbing at the fact that it wasn’t as warm in Europe as we had promised. How were we to know that it was going to be one of the coldest Marches on record right across the continent and that spring would be delayed this year… Yeash, I’m just the tour guide.)
We climbed (ok, mostly drove but climbed the last bit) to the top of Le Chateau, a hill named for the castle that was once at its peak. There is now a lovely park and gorgeous views of the beach and Promenade des Anglais on one side and the harbour on the other. If you don’t feel like you’re in the Mediterranean here, I don’t know where you will.
|On the way to Monaco (Mom probably missed this.)|
After our trek to the top we zipped up the coast to Monaco. When I say zipped, I should qualify that we zipped in a very swervey way. The coast road is very twisty as it winds through all of the coastal towns. So much so that Mom had to take a Gravol to settle her stomach. This was to be her undoing. She ended up missing most of the Mediterranean as she dozed in drug induced slumber in the back seat. (Sorry Mom, you didn’t think I was really going to let you off the hook for that one, did you?)
|Monaco harbour – yacht anyone?|
Monaco truly is a beautiful city/state/country. It is immaculate – although being only the size of Central Park, I guess it doesn’t take that long to clean it. The citizens don’t pay taxes and have the highest per capita income in the world. (I wonder if they could use more photographers…)
We spent the rest of the morning exploring and saw the palace, harbour, site of the grand prix, Monte Carlo Casino and admired the cars and yachts. We had lunch and then hopped back in the car and continued to follow the coast to Italy.
The coastal drive is stunning. The road dips and curves with mountains and cliffs on one side and the Mediterranean and villages on the other. There are some truly breathtaking views (most of which Mom slept through).
We crossed into Italy and then started to climb again. Our route took us through the mountains to Parma – famous for Parmesan cheese and Parma Ham.
We stayed at yet another Holiday Inn Express, this one quite possibly in the most remote location ever, but it was brand new and the restaurant was good. Andrew nearly was attacked by an over-zealous receptionist but other than that it was a nice place to stay.
The next day saw us climbing through more mountains until we reached Verona. Our stop there was quick. An hour for strolling and photographing and then we were on our way to our next unplanned stop – the fortress village of Soave that we spotted from the highway. After another wander and photo stop we headed for our hotel, outside of Treviso.