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Thu, 1 May 2003
Germany - Weekend 5 - Mediterranean - Day 2
Our first real day of the weekend was spent in Nice. That is, if you consider it a day. We didn't arrive in Nice until close to noon, and our train out of Nice left around 6:00 in the evening. Nevertheless, we tried to make the most of our time. It certainly was nice to not be on the train.

After orienting ourselves with the map in front of the train station, we headed out to the coast. We had only a few objectives for the day: eating food and laying out on the beach. First we found the beach and then walked down the road looking for a reasonable place to eat. Being France, the prices for food were high but we eventually found a nice outdoor cafe that was quite nice for around 10€. I had pasta, and it was great. After lunch we stopped by a tourist shop and bought some highly overprice (12€) sunscreen. We knew we were getting ripped off, but we didn't see any non-tourist shops nearby, and the four of us are so white that we desperately need sunscreen.

For those that have never been to Nice, the beaches are a nasty surprise. Instead of nice, fine sand, the beaches consist of millions of rocks. The rocks are smoothed enough that your feet won't get cut, but walking more than about 10 feet without shoes on really starts to hurt. Fortunately, laying out on the rocks doesn't feel too bad because your weight is spread out. Initially we started to just lay out on the rocks using our backpacks as large pillows, but Jason spotted some inexpensive straw mats that we could lay out on. We each got one of a different color. Equipped with our mats, we found a nice spot on the rocky beach and laid out to soak up the sun. We had a go at swimming in the sea, but none of us stayed very long because it was freezing cold. This was May 1 after all. The cold water made the sun feel even better, and I think most of us fell asleep while laying on the mats. After probably an hour or an hour and a half, I began to get worried that I was getting sunburnt, so I got up and got dressed again. The others followed suit. We packed up our stuff, and, with our beach mats sticking out of our backpacks like little flags, walked down the promenade. For those that have never been to Nice, there is a large pedestrian boulevard, Promenade d'Anglais, that runs next to the beach. It's tempting to call it a board walk, but it is not made of boards (it's paved). As we walked down this, we got to enjoy the various sights: the water, the beach, lots of people walking and blading down the promenade, kiosks selling crepes and other foods, souvenirs being sold, and painters practicing their craft. Towards the east end of the promade is a large sundial where you can tell the time by your shadow. You couldn't tell the time that day, though, because it was very crowded with people. There was a makeshift drumline of sorts performing there, with probably 20 people with various percussion instruments making a lot of sound. What they lacked in precision they made up in spirit. My best guess is that this was some sort of May Day celebration. Unlike typical street performers, they weren't working the audience for money; they just kept playing.

From this point we climbed up Le Château, a big hill that I believe was used to protect the city. The view was nice, and there were actually a lot of things on the hill like childrens playgrounds and parks. This was a nice spot to take pictures from. I don't think we did too much after this before we got on the train again. While our time in Nice was not very long, it was much enjoyed.
Next:Weekend 5 - Mediterranean - Day 3 (Fri, 2 May 2003)
Previous:Weekend 5 - Mediterranean - Day 1 (Wed, 30 Apr 2003)

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