2 Adults, 3 boys, 365 Days of Adventure

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Ephesus

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The Equinox docked at Kusadasi Turkey for a day and we hired a guide to take us to see the ancient ruins of the roman City of Ephesus and then to the outlying villages. Our guide, Ender, couldn’t have been nicer and really had in depth knowledge of both roman and Turkish history. Ephesus was one of the highlights of the cruise. It’s a huge 2000 year old Roman city with an amazing 20,000 seat amphitheater as well as a beautiful . We spent about 2 hours walking through the ruins and were amazed at how well preserved many of the buildings were. The Library of Celsius was particularly impressive and having Ender there to explain it all made all the difference.

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We spent the afternoon visiting a handmade rug factory and a small village. It was a great introduction to Turkey. The food and coffee were fantastic and we all left feeling that we’d love to return.

January 16, 2010   2 Comments

Rhodes

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Rhodes was briefly home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes which was toppled by an earthquake just 50 years after construction. Today it is home to a mildly interesting walled city and is a beach vacation spot for Brits and Italians. Having read this beforehand, Jennifer had found a “Safari” tour that looked like more fun than substance.

We were sitting at breakfast next to the window when the ship pulled into port and the dock was lined with dozens of tour buses (there were 2600 passengers on board) and at the end of the line was a Land Rover Defender (complete with snorkel) attended by a Crocodile Dundee looking Aussie in a tattered brown leather jack and worn leather hat. Perfect.

The Aussie’s name was Mark and he took us on a rough and tumble adventure all over the island of Rhodes – mostly in the pouring rain. The highlight of the tour were the two full fledged, and full steam off-roading excursions that he subjected us to. One was on the beach at the southern tip of the island and he was doing figure eights and driving at crazy angles on sand dunes. Jennifer was screaming at the top of her lungs and the boys were yelling with glee. It was completely crazy. I knew he had been doing the same tour for 11 years and had never had an accident but it sure felt like it could have happened at any time.

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At another point in the journey we were barreling along a rutted dirt trail at an army training facility when he suddenly veared off the road into a field of 3 foot tall schrubs and continued to plow through the filed with pieces of plant flying in the air (and all of us screaming). At the end of the field it looked like it drooped off into a forest but as we approached the edge at full steam (and thought we were going to die) we saw that the dropoff was actually another trail. Here’s some fun video of the adventure (click here).

Mark then took us to a town way up in the mountains were we had a picnic lunch and were introduced to the local moonshine known as Souma. Papa Steve brews the crazy stuff in a shed on his farm from fermented grapes. It was actually not bad and tasted a bit like grappa but smoother. Papa John and Papa Steve quickly became buds and shared another three shots of Souma before we got back in our Land Rover for the rest of the day.

A bit tipsy from the Souma and Ouzo we headed off to taste the local wine. Mark took us to a small winery which was literally in the basement garage of the owners. The wine was decent but way too sweet for our tastes. An experience none the less.

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On the way back to the ship we drove over the highest mountain on Rhodes and were confronted by a herd of hungry mountain goats. The kids had great fun throwing our leftover picnic bread and watching the beautiful goats gobble it up. At one point we were surrounded by dozens of goats (who roam freely over the island but are tagged by their owners).

The rain was a bit of a bummer, and there was a bit too much driving, but it is fair to say that we made the best of Rhodes.

December 2, 2009   1 Comment

Athens

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We had decided to have a lazy morning in Athens and then head off after lunch to see the Acropolis.  While we were sitting at lunch, the rain changed from a tolerable shower to a torrential downpour.  The rain had subsided a bit by the end of lunch so we thought we’d make a break for it.  When we got to the ships gangway we saw a swarm of cold wet people coming back early from their day’s misadventures.  Some of them were shivering uncontrollably.  We were relayed horror stories of 200 Euro ($300) cab rides that ended up with a hail storm at the gates of the closed Acropolis.  It didn’t sound promising.  Jen and the kids decided to stay back and Papa John and I decided to try to take public transit to at least be able to take a peak at the Parthenon (a building I have affection for due to my attempts to model it out of balsa wood for a class project in 5th grade).

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We took a shuttle to the main port, walked for over 20 minutes to a metro station and then took a 40 minute train ride to a stop near the Acropolis.  By the time we got off the train it had stopped raining.  We then had only a short walk up to the Acropolis which took us past the beautiful ruins of Agora (the original Athens).  As we arrived at the Acropolis and walked through it’s magnificent gates the sun began to shine directly on the Parthenon.  It was magical.  My heart leapt.  It was so much bigger than I had imagined and the texture of the marble just doesn’t come out in pictures.  It’s just one of those things you need to see once in you life and I’m glad both John and I had the opportunity but felt horrible that Jen and the boys were not there to enjoy it with us.

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After walking through the Agora on our way back, and marveling at the 2500 year old sculptures and temples, we made our way back to the ship taking a subway, a bus and a shuttle.  Total transportation cost 6 Euros, the experience… priceless.

November 26, 2009   No Comments

Ancient Empires Cruise

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When we were in the Luberon we had been trying to decide what to do next.  After seeing the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean I had been drawn to the idea of cruising around the sea on a boat for awhile.  I started looking into yachts and  small cruise ships to see if that would be an option for us and quickly determined that that type of boating simply isn’t set up for small kids.  However , while researching this I came across a selection of cruises that explored the Mediterranean on larger vessels.  Jen and I quickly became enthralled with the concept of exploring a number of countries that we weren’t planning on going to go to with the convenience and cost savings of a cruise ship.  Food and child care included and no packing and unpacking.  After extensive research and rigmarole (I’ll save you from the details but suffice it to say that after many hours of work, Jen scored us an awesome deal) we decided on the Ancient Empires cruise with Celebrity.  As an added bonus because we were 5 people and couldn’t fit into a four person room it was very inexpensive for us to bring along and a 6th passenger and Jen’s stepfather Papa John was up for the adventure.

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When we described the cruise to the kids they went nuts.  Keeks in particular was so excited about the cruise that he would lie awake at night thinking about it.  At one point he told me that he could feel his heart beating really fast when he thought about it.  Jen and I were pretty excited about it too which was surprising, especially for Jen.  Although I’ve never been on a cruise, I’ve never liked cruise ships (bad associations with them from many vacations in Cozumel) but Jen doesn’t even like being out on the water!  I think she was drawn to the idea of having her bed move with her instead of having to pack up every three days to move to the next city.  On a ship you go to sleep in one city and wake up at another.  Of course, after four months of being with the kids 24/7, the kids club was also a major plus too.

Our cruise left from Ciavitticha (near Rome) and we spent the night before at a nasty hotel room in this very unattractive city.  After stocking up on some nice shoes for Jen (the cruise had 3 formal nights) and some wine for the trip we parked our car at the port (I think we were the only people who did this) and boarded the Equinox.

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The ship was AMAZING.  It’s 1200 feet long, 122,000 tons and the 14th largest cruise ship in the world.  It’s also brand new, very tastefully decorated and felt more like a large resort than a ship (at least when it was at port).  We also had an amazing family suite (one of only four on the ship) that had a living room, a large balcony (starboard view), a master bedroom with views off the bow and super comfortable best and small bunk room.   Plenty of space and for the two weeks we were on the ship it never felt small.  Papa John also had a very nice interior cabin (which he sometimes shared with Keeks) one floor above us.

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So much to our surprise and delight, being on the ship actually exceeded our expectations.  Over the past three months of hard core traveling there has always been something that’s just not quite right.  Not so much as to ruin the experience but given our budget we certainly aren’t staying at five star hotels every night.   Being aboard the Equinox was like being in the best hotel we’ve ever stayed at, with the most attentive staff imaginable, free child care, live music and entertainment everywhere, amazing food, and incredible wine list and astonishing views for two straight weeks.  There simply wasn’t anything to complain about.  It was as near to perfect of an experience as we have had.

Generally our routine became this: we’d wake up in a new port in the morning, we’d have breakfast at the buffet at the Ocean View café (best breakfast buffet I’ve had besides the JW Marriot in Phuket),  and then head out for the day for a tour at whatever port we were in (I’ll cover each port in subsequent posts).  We’d arrive back at the ship in time for dinner which we’d have in the main dining room.  Armstrong and Resty waited on us most nights (the NICEST people) and by the second night they knew what we were going to ask before we knew ourselves and had already got it (e.g. Bodie had a glass of apple juice and a chocolate milk waiting for him when he sat down).  [As an aside cruise lines have the advantage of sourcing labor globally which seems to help hire amazing staff and still keep their prices reasonable.  We found out later that many staff earn no wages but rely only on the semi-mandatory tips].  We averaged two bottles of wine a night thanks to our friendly Sommelier, Lilo.  The Equinox had a number of reasonably priced California cabs and I very much enjoyed this taste of home. The kids would finish their food early and would head up to kids club while Papa John, Jen and I would linger over five courses, reminisce about the day’s adventures, chat with the staff and neighboring tables and polish off our remaining wine.  We’d pick up the kids at 10 pm (they were still on Spanish Time) and get ready to do it all over the next day.  Just writing it makes me want to be back on the ship.\
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Papa John was an amazing travel companion.  While he has recently turned 80 he simply doesn’t look or act his age.  He was always up for anything and never complained.  He also had never been to any of the countries that were on our itinerary (including Italy) and his enthusiasm for each new adventure was contagious.  After four months of travel we are getting a bit jaded but seeing his excitement kept us motivated to make the most of each day.  For two weeks we truly were the Wandering Six.

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While overall the experience was amazing there was one downer: The weather.  While it did rain a lot throughout the trip, this really didn’t bother us.  It was the wind that caused the problems.  On our way back from Cairo we had sustained 55 mile an hour wind gusting to 70 miles an hour.  This wind created 20 foot waves waves that had the ship bouncing and rolling pretty significantly for the better part of two days.  I had no idea that I get sea sick but I guess under severe enough weather – I do.

I could gush more about the cruise but I feel it will bore you.  If you want more you can check out some of the pictures by going to my flickr gallery.  Suffice it to say that this may have been our first cruise – but it certainly won’t be our last.

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November 22, 2009   No Comments

Adventures in Last Minute Hotel Booking

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We began our last minute Journey to Cinque Terre at 6 pm. We had a USB internet key that we knew would work once we got to France and we could use that to find a hotel. If not we’d just find a way a hotel along the way. Easy right?

Actually not so much.

All was going smoothly. The Internet key worked and Jen found a very well rated hotel in Arles for only 99 Euros a night on Booking.com (favorite Europe travel site). We pulled into Arles and made our way through the super narrow streets to our hotel. The Roman ruins were lit up beautifully and there was no one around – very cool. Jen went into the hotel to make sure all was O.K. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The guy at the desk said he had no reservation for us. He actually said “you don’t exist to me” and numerous other rude utterings. He admitted that they did have one small room which we could have which he took Jen to go see. She thought it was creepy and was so put off by the guy’s attitude that she came back to the car and we decided we’d try the Mercure that was near the freeway. Unfortunately the rooms at the Mercure were even worse and the nearby New Hotel wasn’t any better. We decided to continue our drive and find some place farther up the road.

We drove another two hours until we hit Antibes (about 2 am). There we found a cluster of chain hotels using our navigation system. We ended up going to four different hotels trying to find an acceptable room that wasn’t going to cost us $600 for 7 hours of rest. Jen was at wit’s end and was seriously suggesting that we sleep in a car. Finally we decided we ended up getting two rooms at a hotel way off the beaten track in Antibes and collapsed into bed at 3:30 am. Even at the time we knew we’d look back and laugh at it – which helped keep the situation from exploding.
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We were on the road by 10 am the next morning and off to Cinque Terre which was now only a 4 our drive. After our ordeal the night before we arrived in Cinque Terre exhausted (further enhanced by the fact that the drive down to Monteroso al Mare took us along – that’s right you guessed it – cliffs!). The town itself has pedestrian traffic only so Jen walked into town to make sure everything was OK with our hotel. As was to be expected – it wasn’t – they didn’t have a room for us. And to top it off they manager at the hotel (Tripadvisor’s #1 rated) was rude. So after Jen had a good crying session we regrouped, parked the car and headed into to town to find some accommodations. Wondering through town we found a couple of hotels with decent rooms for far less money than we had originally planned on spending. We dropped into an Internet café and found out that one of them was very highly rated. We had a place (which turned out to be a fantastic little hotel) and could relax.
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Monterosso is a great little town. Surrounded by cliffs, beautiful beach and harbor, and the main square in the center of town is dominated by a playground! The kids laughed and played as the sun set into the Mediterranean. We topped off the evening with one of the better meals we’ve had so far at a place called Ciak. They had this amazing seafood risotto prepared and served in a giant terracotta bowl by the owner of the restaurant as we watched. Bodie couldn’t get enough of it.

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Unfortunately it poured the next two days and we weren’t able to get out and explore this profoundly beautiful area and we left early on our third day to make our way down to Civitavecchia to catch our ship. I feel a bit cheated and would love to go back there someday – but only if the kids are into hiking or have left for collage!

November 16, 2009   1 Comment

Barcelona

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After leaving Costa Brave we took what was supposed to be the 90 minute drive down to Barcelona. Within two hours we were within half a block of our rental apartment – but it took another full hour before we pulled up in front of the door. The trouble was that the navigation system kept telling us to go down a pedestrian street and all the streets are one way and convoluted (we were staying right in old town) and we kept driving past the place it told us to turn right only to have to go on a 15 minute circle around the city. Finally I just got out of the car and found the apartment on foot. At this point I realized that the navigation system had been right and I just couldn’t believe that we were supposed to drive down what I could only assume was a pedestrian street. I mean, when I look down a street and it’s 8 feet wide and there are no cars on it and it is literally covered with hundreds of people I had to assume it was a pedestrian street right? Well apparently I was wrong but even as we were driving down it, and all the people were slowly moving out of the way and looking at us like we were crazy, it still felt like there really must be some mistake. We rushed our bags out of the car while stopped in the middle of the street as cars began to pile up behind us (but they didn’t seem to mind) and made sure never to leave anything unattended (petty crime is apparently rampant in the city).

The apartment, as first glance, was great. It was quite large with three big bedrooms (we didn’t use the third as Bodie has gotten so used to sleeping with us that it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to get him to agree to sleep elsewhere), a living room with an open kitchen. There was a little retiling work that was being done in the hallway but we didn’t think much of it.

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The next morning, after home school time was over, and I savored my first Starbucks Vente Blackeye with an extra shot and cream in two and a half months, we headed out to do our final Fat Tire bike tour. The tour was predictably fun (while not quite up to the standards of the other cities we had been too) and gave us a great overview of the city. It hit all the major sites, including Guadi’s unfinished beautiful, Sagrada Famiglia, gave a good dose of history and ended witP1050883h lunch and Sangria on the beach. Perfecto!

We spent the next day walking around Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. The whole area is really great with narrow streets, tons of cool little shops and cafes. The highlight of the day was La Boqueria, which is an amazing food market (my favorite in Europe so far) and is filled with scores of little booths selling every kind of fresh food imaginable. My favorite was the many juice venders who sold 8 oz glasses of fresh squeezed juice for a euro a pop. The Mango & Coconut was out of this world.

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On our third day Jen started feeling lousy and we only made it out for a delightful lunch at a very nice restaurant just a few blocks from our apartment and then a brief stint at the local playground and juices from La Bouqeria.

The next day Jen was still under the weather so I took the kids out for an “adventure” and told Jen I’d try to keep them out as long as possible. We first headed to La Bouqeria to try to score some juice but it was Sunday so it was all boarded up. We had a lousy lunch at Pan & Co (a popular sandwich chain that has no business being a chain) and then walked though the Gothic Quarter on our way to the Jardines de la Ciudadela and the zoo. Along the way we stumbled along a protest in a square that turned into a march complete with drum troop that lead the way through the streets. We didn’t know what they were protesting but we joined the march for a couple of blocks anyway. When the noise got to be too much for the boys we continued off to the park. We found a medocore playground to burn off some energy and then headed over to the zoo. The zoo was actually really fun and had a great collection of animals. We didn’t end up walking into the apartment until 7:30pm to find a much rested but still sick and very worried Jennifer waiting for us.

Unfortunately the next day Jen began to feel even worse and she began to expect that the tiling work that was being done outside our door was the cause of her headache. It didn’t help that the only windows in the apartment were in the bedrooms and they had to be closed most of the time because the neighboring office building was only about 12 feet away. We felt like we were living in a cave. In addition, the uncomfortable beds had begun to wear us down. But what to do – we had already bought tickets for a ferry on the 21st and we needed to make it all the way to Rome (a 13 hour drive). We tried moving our ferry tickets up 2 days but that wasn’t possible. We did really want to see the Cinque Terre and it felt like it was time to leave Barcelona but it was 9 hours away and it was already 4 pm. In a last minute decision we decided to risk it and pack our stuff and get out on the road. We knew that we’d have internet connection in the car and so we figured we’d find a place to stay while we were on the drive. We left the apartment by 5 pm and after another painful hour trying to get our car out of the parking lot (long story) we were on our way.

November 14, 2009   3 Comments

Costa Brava

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After leaving the Luberon we started to make our way down to Barcelona (planning to take the Ferry over to Rome on October 23rd) by stopping first in Collioure, France which is a seaside town on the coast of the Mediterranean (and recommended by Rick Steves of course). Jen used the 3G internet stick that Gary left us to find a hotel room while we were driving down at about 2pm (the latest in the day we’ve not known where we are sleeping that night). Collioure’s old town was really nice and we had a fun dinner sitting right next to the beach at sunset. Unfortunately our hotel was cramped, expensive and had really hard beds so we decided to leave after only one night and head further south along the coast to Costa Brava, Spain.

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We chose the small village of Llafranc on the Spanish coast and stayed at the brand new family owned Hotel Blau Mar. We had a great one bedroom suite with a huge 5×25 foot balcony that looked over the sea from high up on a hill. The beds were pretty comfortable too. On our first day in Llafranc, Jen was exhausted and needed a break so I took the boys down to grab lunch and we ended up spending the afternoon playing the sand and the small waves at the beach. The boys didn’t have their swimming suits so they ended up getting their clothes completely soaked. The air was really warm and the water was much warmer than I expected.

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We went home to shower and collect Jennifer before heading out to dinner only to discover that nothing was open. We knew that restaurants don’t open in Spain until after 8:00 pm but we thought we could at least get tapas – but no luck. So after driving around for a while we bought some bread, ham, salami, cheese and fruit from a market and picnicked on our balcony – which turned out to be delightful and we repeated every other night we were there. It was at this point that we came up with the phrase “pocket knife cuisine.”

The next day we walked from Llafranc along a gorgeous walking path next to the sea over to Calella de Palafrugell. There we found a restaurant located on walkway right off the very narrow beach. Jen and I sat and drank beer while we waited for the kitchen to open at 1pm and the kids played in the sand below. It was awesome. So much so that we spent two more days at the beach digging holes, swimming and enjoying the hot Spanish sun. On our last full day it was too cold and windy for the beach but Cracker and I took an amazing two hour hike along the shore of the Mediterranean being sprayed from the mist of crashing waves. Mui bueuno!

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We really enjoyed our time in the Costa Brava. Not a lot of “culture” but definitely a lot of character and beauty. Certainly a place we would go back to.

November 12, 2009   No Comments

The “Creature House”

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While we were in Annecy and Nice, Jen had been lobbing off tons of emails to vacation properties in the Luberon (an area of Provence, France) using VRBO and Homeaway trying to find the perfect house. The day before we left Nice she secured a 60% discount (off of the already discounted off-season rates) for what looked to be a great house on a hill overlooking a vineyard. Having a vacation house that we list on those sites ourselves we are always leery of whether the property will live up to the self manufactured hype. Luckily in this case it did. The house was a basically a small estate with private driveway, huge manicured grounds, and a stunning pool. The house was modern but was tastefully decorated with classic French pieces. The owner was an avid cook so the kitchen was fully equipped with everything I could want. It was really just ideal and an incredible bargain to boot.

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Gary and Melissa came and joined us the day after we arrived and decided to spend their last night in France with us. We hung out in the pool, barbecued lunch had a nice pasta for dinner and stayed up late sitting outside drinking way too much wine. Gary actually doesn’t drink (he’s naturally effervescent) and Melissa usually only has a couple of sips but that night Melissa got into sprit and made up for lost time. There were tears all around when they left the next day.

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We really enjoyed taking advantage of the house and really took it easy for most of the week. Jennifer didn’t even leave the house for the first four days and I only left to go to the very picturesque hilltown of Goult to stock up on ingredients. The weather was amazing: warm to hot during the day, cool at night, clear skies and very little wind (highly unusual for the area). The pool was a little chilly at first but after a few minutes it felt great and it had such an amazing view that it made the initial shock so worth it. We also took full advantage of the WiFi and the kids did math every morning before we woke up and we used it to plan our upcoming Mediterranean cruise (more on that later).

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We took two side trips while were there. We went to Ille-sur-la-Sourge on Sunday morning to its apparently world famous market. The whole town basically turns into a market with tons of different foods, clothes, antiques and crafts. It was fun just to walk around even if we don’t have any room in our bags for any more stuff (Jennifer complained that there wasn’t anything she wanted to buy anyway). In the afternoon we went to see the hill town of Gordes which was really an impressive sight. It’s situated on top of a hill and literally pours over the hill like white frosting on a cake. While the best view of the town is from the hill on the other side of the valley it was still cool to wonder around its narrow streets for a while.

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We also spent a day driving up to and around the Cote-du-Rhone. Our time in Europe has helped me gain a better appreciation of French wine and Cote-du-Rhone and the Right Bank of Bordeaux seem to have the wines that most appeal to my California raised pallet. This makes sense as these regions use the same grape varieties that dominate my wine collection back home. Bordeaux uses the five grape varieties found in California’s Meritage blends (primarily merlot and cabernet) and syrah and grenache dominate the wines of the Rhone. Luckily, the Rhone is also famous for is rugged landscape and medieval hill towns so Jen was willing to take the trip up there with me while the kids played on their iPods in the back of the car. OK – so it was probably a bad idea to take Jen away from her perfect house to go spend the day driving (she hates driving) around towns built on cliffs (cliffs!?) and wine tasting (she’s been scared of wine since the Cotswolds) with the kids (who didn’t take kindly to leaving the house either) but the wines were great and the scenery was even better. So overall it was probably worth it.

Attentive readers are at this point wondering why I titled this article “The Creature House”. On the fifth day of being in the Luberon the kids ran into me in a panic: “Daddy, daddy there’s a tarantula in the house!”. Sure enough I walked over to discover the largest spider I have ever seen outside of a cage. It wasn’t a tarantula but I can understand the kid’s confusion. I put the spider in a cup and let him go outside. On the same day we found a huge toad living in the garage. The next morning the kids found yet another spider – this one wondering around the TV room. Fearing that it might be the same spider I had already released I covered the glass and put the glass on the counter. He was soon joined by another giant spider I found wandering in the kitchen and some strange scorpion looking thing Jen found in the TV room. Our collection of glasses was complete with one last spider that I discovered outside of the bedroom on our last morning. Did I mention that I hate spiders – they totally creep me out. I was actually a little on edge the last few days we were there fearing the next giant bug that lay around the corner. When I showed the house manager, Herve, the bugs he looked at me with indifference and said – “yes, they are spiders”. He didn’t need to follow it with a “so what?”his expression said it all.

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Bodie has gotten in the habit of giving names to the places we have stayed. Our house in Manhattan Beach is the “white house” (even though it’s yellow). The apartment we stayed at in Paris is affectionately known as the “scary house” and the Luberon house… the “creature house” of course.

November 8, 2009   No Comments

Wow am I behind.

I’m horribly behind in posting due to severe lack of good Internet for the past month.  Luckily I’ve kept on writing and taking pictures so assuming I can stay connected for a while there should be a b arrage of activity here over the next week or so.

November 8, 2009   No Comments

Nice

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We left Annecy and drove thought the Italian Alps and down the Italian coast to Nice. I had thought the drive would be beautiful – and I guess it was – but we had been spoiled by Switzerland and the Italian Alps (at least the parts we saw) were just not that exciting. They are also very expensive as the tolls to get to Nice were over $125! ($45 just for one tunnel – but it was a 9 mile long tunnel).

On arrival into Nice Jen and I both remarked at how unattractive the outlying city is. Things got a little better when we got closer to the coast but it was still overly built up and congested for our tastes. We only spent a day in Nice and Jen took us on a Rick Steves walking tour of the old town which was pretty interesting.

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The next day we decided to do a driving tour of the coast which didn’t quite go as planned. Actually, I don’t think we really planned it as that was part of the problem. We started out thinking we were going to drive to Saint-Tropez and then realized that that was about a four hour round trip. So instead we drove to Cannes and then, upon my suggestion, drove to San Raphael because Rick Steves had said that the drive south from Cannes was the most scenic part of the coast. Scenic is right – it was beautiful – but the road goes along a series of cliffs that drop right into the Mediterranean and I have already explained the perils of driving with Jen along a cliff. She was not amused. We took the long, and defiantly not scenic way back from San Rapheal to Cannes. Right at the exit for Cannes we lost Gary and Melisa as apparently they had been following the wrong Peugeot and went another 15 minutes up the coast! Cannes, while nicer than Nice, was still too built up for our tastes but it was fun to walk along the docks and snoop close up at all of the multi-million dollar mega yachts that were parked in the harbor.

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Nice is great if you want to be on the Mediterranean and have all of the comforts of home with tons of great restaurants too choose from and luxury shopping at every street corner. It’s was worthwhile experience but it’s not a place that I would go back to unprovoked.

October 18, 2009   1 Comment