Nice Along The Beach…

After a bite and wandering around the sidewalked old town a bit, we headed to the beach. We later learned that this was the first major day of Sun after a pretty cool Spring. The wind was a bit cool and whipping around everyone, but it was still nicely warm in the sun. There were some people with parkas and heavy jackets on the beach, right beside others (male and female alike) who were stripped down to the skimpiest bathing suit. The beach itself was mostly all small rocks. there were a couple infrequent patches of sand here and there. The water’s edge was a fairly steep section, but we were unsure of how much the tide changed in this area of the Mediterranean. Every wave made a loud but cool sounding rumble of all the little rocks smacking against each other. The kids took off their socks and shoes to wade i the crashing waves, amid much squeals and running away from the high ones. Thus also began a rock hunt by everyone as we walked along the beach for interesting or peculiar specimens. Warren’s Geology background once again proved very useful for explanations and insights to everyone’s finds.

We had already been walking for five or ten minutes when Claudette pointed out a topless woman sunbathing to me. I then looked behind us and further in front and they were EVERYWHERE! (and they were all middle aged or more too…). It was quite a shock to see so many bared breasts on such a cool day, but I suppose that the cabin fever of a colder Spring does that to people. Heck, we were all (well, the James’ anyways) in shorts and t-shirts anyways, but many locals that were out for walks were very bundled up heavy sweaters and such. We ended up wandering back to the McBride’s rented apartment and visited a few more hours with some excellent cheese and stories. The kids ran around and played outside, enjoying the last bit of time together until the McBride’s come up to visit the NWT in the Summer of 2009. I think we had gotten a commitment on that one at least…

We had to wait around in Nice until Monday when I could pick up the rental van. It was really a lease buy-back Citroen mini-van that we had arranged a few weeks before while in Egypt. We had wanted to pick it up in Rome but they required three to four weeks of lead time to prepare the vehicle and get it to where we wanted it. That was a big bummer in our lack of planning since we had to rent the other van while in Tuscany. The longer we had the Citroen lease buy back for, the cheaper per day it became. There was a base price and then a little added on after that for each day you kept it, starting with a minimum of three weeks. Overall the lease buy back program offers a great deal over renting (for more than three weeks that is). You get a brand new vehicle, with no hassles, unlimited mileage, any immediate family member can drive, and they have a huge range of pick-up and drop off spots throughout Europe.

We spent our last full day in Nice driving up into the hills to the North to visit some quaint villages and the old midevel historic town of St. Paul Vence. It was fun and interesting, but we never made it to see Monaco a half hour away due to a vote. It would have been cool to at least see the Kingdom (other than from the train previously when we passed through) even though we were told that a lousy coffee would cost several to ten euro’s, never mind trying to eat lunch there! Tomorrow we were headed to Carcasonne, further West and a little North after hearing from the McBride’s on what an awesome place it was to visit.

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