Friday, September 20, 2019

France followup, photos from Sue's phone

We have about a thousand photos on three devices. Here are a few from Sue's phone (which was not used heavily for photos). More to come.

First, the Wall of Love. Wikipedia says, "a love-themed wall of 40 square meters in the Jehan Rictus garden square in Montmartre."
Louis, Versailles.
A Rolls convertible and a Ferrari in front of the Monte Carlo casino.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

France day 17 of 17, final hotel and airport

France day 17 of 17, Sept 18. We took the train from Nice back to Paris and spent one night at the Holiday Inn near Charles de Gaulle airport. I was hoping we would be up high enough to see the Eiffel tower one last time, and I was right. There is a tower thingie in front of the Holiday Inn, and our room's window is directly past the tower in this photo, so we could see it from our room.
Here is my final selfie in France at Charles de Gaulle airport.

By the way, we had some trouble with NEXUS in Toronto at the airport. After walking a half mile through the hallways to the NEXUS machines, Susan's machine would not respond at all. My machine read my card, and the iris scanner told me to move a couple times, and finally told me to see the officers. So, we got in line behind all the disabled passengers in the special line and, and had no trouble with the officer, but we had a substantial wait. At the QEW border crossing, I saw no specific NEXUS lane, but at 7 pm on a Wednesday there was little traffic, and the officer seemed pleased with our NEXUS cards and sent us along quickly.

Watch for more photos from our other devices, and coffee comments, and other final thoughts.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

France day 16 of 17, train to Paris

On day 16, Sept 17, we are traveling back to Paris for tomorrow's flight home. Here is the train car while still in Nice. This train has many cars (18, I think), and we had to schlep our luggage all the way down to the last car. This train had an engine in the middle and it split in Marseilles (and switched tracks so that our car became the first car).

On this train, after Marseilles, we saw train agents for the first time, checking tickets on the train. For the most part, there is no baggage or personal security scans, and a person could easily pay a couple euros for a local train and then hop on a long distance train instead. But, on this train, they double-checked the tickets.

As a side note, I had to empty my pockets twice in the security lines for the Eiffel Tower.
This is a shot of a couple little fishing dinghies, as we headed westward out of Nice.
This is an apartment outside the Cannes train station. Brigitte Bardot popped out for a few seonds, but then I guess she saw me with my camera.

By the way, Sophia Loren (84), Gina Lollobrigida (92) and Brigitte Bardot (84) are all still living.
Here is a shot of a typical road along the Côte d'Azur. You need an Aston Martin to be able to take the curves comfortably.

Monday, September 16, 2019

France day 14-15 of 17, winding down in Nice

This post is for the end of day 14, and then day 15, of our France trip, Sept 15-16. This beer in this glass really is the Paix Dieu brand, nothing special about that, but the top of the glass is angled so that the rim is higher on one side than the other. It looks really cool, but I'm not sure it helps to drink the beer.

The name translates as Peace God, that's all I know about that.
After breakfast on day 16, we walked back to the hotel and Susan thought this was a really nice window display at a clothing shop. The fall fashion season has begun, and we have been hanging around the high rent districts of Paris and the Riviera.

We spent the day on the beach.

Tomorrow on day 16, we take the train back to Paris (Holiday Inn near the airport) and then fly home on day 17. The train stations always find a way to turn a mundane activity into an adventure.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

France day 14 of 17, went to church and to the sea

One our 14th day, September 15, we went to the Sunday morning service at Holy Trinity Nice. From their web site, this is "a parish within the Church of England Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe but [includes] members of the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) and [is] listed in its directory of parishes."
The amazing organ is 150 years old.

Susan and I went to the garden for refreshments after the service. Most of the garden is a 19th century graveyard, but very pleasant.
Later in the day we went back to the beach. You can see the gray rocks in this photo. The light gray area is dry and just starting to slope a bit towards the water. The wet area is quite steep, as steep as a stairway in your house, except made of loose rocks.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

France day 12-13 of 17, casino time, Monte Carlo!

In Nice France on the 12th and 13th days of our trip, we took a driving tour around the area and went to dinner at the Grand Casino in Monaco. Photography is not allowed inside the casino, and there are ample shots of the casino on the web. We have photos from the restaurant, but on a different camera not yet downloaded.

This first photo is of the front of the prince's palace in Monaco. Monaco has 30000 residents, mostly rich. There are 6000 police and security officers.

At the casino on day 13, we just played slots. We watched roulette players for a while, but I am not a big gambler and didn't want to break in and slow things down. The stakes in the initial rooms are not steep, 5 euro minimum, but we stuck with the slots. We cashed out with a profit of 89 euros, just under 100 dollars. We did not try to go to the high-stakes rooms.

By the way, in the morning of day 13, we went to the beach and into the Mediterranean. The beaches around Nice are rocky, not sandy. It's physically tricky to get into the water and then get up to about your waist so that you aren't sliding around on the loose rocks under your feet.

Here is a Monaco license plate.
Here is the port at Monaco / Monte Carlo. The Grand Casino is on the far side of the port. This was taken from near the palace.
Here is an Aston-Martin outside the Grand Casino.
This was taken inside an 18th century church near the top of a hill in the medieval village of Eze.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

France day 11 of 17, sur la mer

On day 11, September 12, we took a train from Paris to Nice. The TGV trains run close to 300 km/h (180 mph). Boarding is a bit chaotic with luggage. We were looking for "coach 2", so we boarded the car with the big "2" on the outside. Ha ha ha ha ha. After a few tries and walking through the aisles, we finally located our seats. Train travel is more comfortable than air travel, and there was practically no security, but it will take a couple trips to figure out the idiosyncrasies.
Our trip was about 600 miles, so we got to see lots of scenery. France is lousy with rivers. Also, I am lousy with friends who tell me the European trains are always on time, but we arrived about 45 minutes late due to signal malfunctions. I have submitted a request for compensation (25% of the ticket price, in this case). We'll see what happens.
The Paris/Nice route runs mostly southerly and then turns eastward near Marseilles. This was our first glimpse of the Mediterranean, near Sanary-sur Mer.

After disembarking in Nice, we couldn't figure out where to walk. There were no exit ("sortie") signs. We finally figured out we could walk a hundred meters along the platform, take an elevator up a flight with our luggage, walk across a pedestrian bridge over four sets of tracks, take an elevator down, walk 50 meters back along the platform, and then there is an exit sign. We finally exited the building to the taxi stand.

The weather has been really nice all along. Here's another cloudless sky.
We went to dinner at a little restaurant on the main strip, Promenade des Anglais. Like Paris, Nice is full of casual restaurants, some moderately priced. I had a dish that was in a metal pie tin and covered with a pizza crust. Inside, the pie was full of shellfish and pasta. Clams, mussels, calamari, one big crawfish, three little octopi, and I'm not sure what else. This plate cost a very moderate 20 euros. Every forkful dug up a new treasure. The reviews are mixed on this place, and the traffic noise was annoying, but overall we had a great experience.