Ok. Sorry for the corny title but had to use it. Hahaha!  Couldn’t resist!

The quiet beach at Monterosso at sunrise. I had the place to myself. A photographers paradise…

It was a good time to be leaving Cinque Terre as it was pouring rain (This seems to be a theme for us!  Rain on the days we leave places and have travel days.  We don’t mind!).  Our train was mid morning and we gobbled down some breakfast of fresh pastries from the bakery around the corner (double chocolate croissant and  croissants [found a great recipe and video here on how to make classic croissants]) and whatever what’s left over in the fridge. We don’t usually have “mustgo” (as we call it….a term handed down from my mom and dad) for breakfast!

The beach chairs were waiting for that days customers who didn’t want to slum it on the really nice public beaches right beside it. Haha…

The train went to Genova, where we had to change trains. So Deb and the kids went and got lunch from the station cafe to supplement the not eaten breakfast mustgo.  The featured image at the top (here as well) was Lulu running alongside a train showing that she was like Super(wo)man as she could run faster than a speeding (it was moving…just not speeding) train.

We hopped back on the next train destined for Nice (France), but it didn’t move anywhere. Technical issues. And we were inside the train with the engines off. This meant very little in the way of air movement.

At this point the train conductor said that some people could take another train and get to their destination (not our destination) on time. I stood up and went to the doors so I could stand outside where it is cooler. I don’t like the hot sticky stifling environment on the best of times.  We were getting a little crazy from the heat.  Well, at least I was.

I went and stood by the door and then a lot of Italians came too with their bags in tow. But, now that I could not go back to where we were sitting, we were told the technical issue was that the doors to open. So, as you can imagine…hot, overdressed (everyone has to be wearing high fashion or full pants here in Italy for some reason), and inconvenienced Italians crammed into a confined space without a way to catch another train…. I now know what it looks like and feels like to be inside a wasps nest. Yelling, hand waving, gesturing. It was like an Italian opera. It got pretty funny. Aaaand I couldn’t escape as I was right by the door that wouldn’t open. I guess I could have his in the train toilet, but you can imagine what a no air moving hot environment inside a transportation toilet would be like. Barf-o-Rama.

Eventually the train started to move. For our inconvenience the train staff grumpily handed us a full sized Bounty bar, a package of wafer cookies, and a bottle of water. That was very nice, especially since I am the only one who likes coconut in the family! So I had a bounty or Bounty bars!!! Easy trade as I don’t really like those wafer bars.

We went through the French Riviera with all of the big boats, sun kissed houses, palm trees and nude bathers. Yes, that’s right. Straight outside the window for everyone to see. Deb yelled over to me “Rich! Quick! Nude beach!”…and I with my deft camera skills swung around and captured two walruses sunning on a rock and one guy doing the full on front crawl.  Won’t catch me doing that in the ocean. That’s like trolling for fish with a lure!  The kids had a good laugh, and I told them we should go to a nude beach.  I got a nice “Ewwwww” out of both of them.

Here you go…play Where is Waldo? Or Where is Waldo’s wienie? Hahah… plus his two friends wienies….

The famous French Riviera…

Once we arrived Nice, we dropped our bags off in our private 4 bunk family dorm at the Ozz Hostel (very nice by the way) and headed down to old Nice for dinner. We found a great playground for the kids to play on for a quick run through and then kept going on our walk down to the old part of Nice where it was not so sketchy, and was much nicer, jovial, and clean.

A little foozball at the hostel before we headed out to dinner…

At the edge of the old town there was an expansive park that had buskers, an even bigger playground than before, and two water fountains (one that shot jets of water up and one that misted water everywhere) to play in. As we were on the way to dinner the kids had to stay dry, but we promised we would return to play after supper for them to run around and get wet…

The first place we stopped was a local favourite as judged by the reviews and the number of non tourists sitting at the picnic tables as there was no inside seating. We grabbed French fare of moules et frites (mussels in a saffron sauce and fries for our English friends). That, with a small beer, socca (a salty chickpea flour flatbread that is special to this area, but has Moroccan origins; see later for recipe image at the end) and some other fare that was available at the restaurant was meal stop number one.

Lining up outside the restaurant to order some local fare. Everyone was sitting around picnic tables in the street. Not many tourists here…

A big boule of moule et frites in creamy saffron…

After we finished there, we walked towards the beach, in search of something else for Wilson and Deb. They stumbled upon a great little Indian place in an alleyway, and they got some take away to bring down to the beach.  The place was empty, but the owner was very nice and gave us some water while we waited for our food to be made.  The kids were mesmerized by the TV that was playing Bollywood style Indian music videos.  Hilarious and super cheesy.  Kids…time to go.  Kids!  Kids!  1-2-3…

Earth to kids…

We took the food down to the beach for a sunset picnic.  The beach was so amazing. It was all smooth pebbles and rocks, and the water was warm, aquamarine, and crystal clear.

The sun was setting over the western edge of the beach, and there was a gentle hum of everyone that was out and about there.  Deb and Wilson at their dinner while Lulu and I started to play at the waters edge.

   

With the sun setting, we thought that it would be a good photo op for a family portrait with a beautiful backdrop.  Plus a couple of nice photos of my sweetie…

We realized that this was the transition zone and swim for Ironman France, and thought that it would be an epic spot to have a transition zone and finish line.  As promised, we headed back to the fountains (as the misting fountain area was all closed up).  It was really cool as they jets danced around in the colours of france… red, white, and blue.

The kids got hammered with the jets of water, and eventually Lulu got cold from the water and the late summer air.  So, we walked home with her shivering…  Click on the photos to increase their size…they are cool with time lapse photos.  Looks like Lulu is Astroboy and Wilson is putting out some fire from the centre of the earth…

 

We headed back to the hostel for a good sleep as we knew that we were going to be off early in the morning to our next stop after picking up the car.  We are headed along the French Riviera to a stop over town before we make our way in land to the Dordogne region….can’t wait…castles, food, wine, and a bit of relaxation…