2011/05/21

Day 15: Monaco, Eze

Took the train from Nice to Monaco; only about a 20 minute ride. The Grand Prix race was in a week.



On the way up to the Prince's Castle.



Statue given to Prince Albert I by foreign residents. It is a hommage to his passion of oceanography. I just liked the real bird sitting on top of the lady's head.



Port of Monaco.



The Prince's Castle. They are getting ready for the Changing of the Guards ceremony. Quite a bit smaller than London's.



Lifestyle of the rich.



Pretty police station across from the Castle.



Cathedral of Monaco. Princess Grace Kelly is buried here, along with other royalty. You can tell Monaco was very in love with their Princess Gracie; there are pictures of her all around.



Seagull in the Gardens.



View of the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium.



It was founded by Prince Albert I. The famous Jacques Cousteau was it's director for a long time.



Colorful bird statue that I really wanted.



View away from the Castle and Aquarium.



Pit lane for Formula One!



This was way too cool for me; I started watching F1 racing a couple years ago so I almost peed my pants everytime I saw something F1 related.



The famous Monte Carlo casino. After a certain time, you have to be in strict formal attire. I tried going in there, but they wanted me to check my camera. I peeked inside one of the rooms and it was like a scene out of James Bond.



Just being pathetic, really wishing I was here for the race.



A barbajuan - Monaco specialty. It's a pastry filled with cheese, leeks, chards, spinach, and onions. Soooo delicious.



There are 3 Corniche routes that lead from Nice to Monaco. Grace Kelley was killed in a car accident on the Middle Corniche. This middle route is also known for Eze, a small cliffside village.



At this point, the charm of small villages was gone because of the few I visited in Provence. It was cute, but also very touristy.



I made my way back to the hostel (via bus), bought some dinner at the grocery store, and called it a night. The next day, I took the train back to Paris and flew back to reality.

2011/05/20

Day 14: Nice

I seriously LOVED the French Riviera. Definitely one of my favorite stops during the trip. I think what was most enjoyable about my time there was that I never felt like I was running around to see all the sites. It was very relaxing. This is a square near Old Town Nice.



Cours Saleya, a street market with food and a variety of exotic flowers.



Adam and Eve.



I regret not trying any pastries from this bakery. It is supposed to be a damn fine one.



On the way up Castle Hill (there is no castle), I saw some fun wall art.











Not quite yet to the top, but a nice view of the beach.



It was a steady climb...



The Port of Nice.





Made my way down to the port, so I could catch a cruise around the Mediterranean.



I believe this is a pirate ship.



Crusin'.



Lunch stop for some ravioli. Raviolis were actually invented in the French Riviera, not Italy.



I went to the beach and laid out for a few hours. There are no nice sandy beaches in Nice, it is actually very rocky - terrible to walk on. Afterwards, I went back to the hostel and grabbed my tripod so I could get some better pictures on top of Castle Hill. I am very sunburnt at this point.



Back to Voyageur Nissart for dinner. It was THAT good last night! I started off with a meat and cheese platter.



Lemon Chicken. So juicy.



Side of Potatoes Dauphin. Perfect amount of cheesiness.



A Lemon Tart for dessert, with lemon gelato on top. It was good, but had nothing on the Creme Brulee.

2011/05/19

Day 13: Wine Safari, Avignon

Right outside my hotel. This is where Van Gogh painted "Starry Night Over the Rhone".



My wine safari tour guide picked me up and took me to Saint Remy de Provence. It is the birthplace of Nostradamus. He also took me to a fabulous chocolate shop (free samples!), Joel Durand. The chocolates are named after the alphabet, with ingredients to match (C = caramel).



Wine destination, Domain Milan. I love the bold pink.



Barrel room.



Tasting time! Tried about 8 different types of wine, and learned that it is a good technique to breathe in air through your teeth while the wine is still in your mouth.



After my tour, my guide dropped me off in Avignon. Note to self: do not schedule a wine tour in the morning, get drunk, and then have to walk around exploring in deathly humid heat.



Palace of the Popes.



Pont Saint-BĂ©nezet bridge = the bridge to nowhere... unless you just want to get to the middle of the river. It kept getting damaged by floods and shoddy construction.



After a few hours of suffering in the heat (and from my hangover), I hopped on the train to the French Riviera. Hello, Nice! The Cannes Film Festival was coming to an end, and the Monaco Grand Prix was the following weekend, so hotels were all taken up. I had to stay in a hostel, which was my worst stay during my trip. I had a roommate that was sick, and there was only one shower to share; you had to deposit tokens for 5 minutes of cold water.



So, I quickly settled in and went on a hunt for food. Which was a great success when I stumbled into Voyageur Nissart. Glass of red wine from the Rhone Valley to start off my fantastic meal!



Caprese Salad.



Leg of Lamb and Thyme.



Side of Home Made Ratatouille. I got this because of the movie, and because it was a Provence/French Riviera regional specialty.



Creme Brulee. Seriously, why have I not discovered this dessert any sooner? I thought it would taste like burnt flan but OMG it was HEAVEN! And this entire meal cost me around 20 Euros!!