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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 14, 2012

A kind of sparse Monday

Doesn't seem like I did much today.  I had planned last night that I would do a day trip to Eze for sure and Villefranche del Mer maybe.  They are two villages east of Nice - Villefranche quite close and Eze a little further but still not far.  Everyone who's been here has said "you have to go to Eze" and since Villefranche is on the way I figured I'd stop off there too.  But then I remembered reading that the open air market that takes place every day of the week and which I mentioned in a previous post, is food and flowers 6 days a week and on Monday it's an antiques market.  So I decided I would poke around there first and then get myself to Eze.

First stop was to find the bus stop I would need when I do go to Eze.  It's right close by which is nice, but it took me a while to make up my mind it was right because I don't seem to have the right type of brain for reading bus schedules and such.  But, yes it is the right one and now when I go, I can march right to it and get on the #82 bus and supposedly it will get me to Eze.  The bus stop is right at Garibaldi Square and I took the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of the buildings around the square which are all basically the same and are part of the reason it's an attractive spot to watch the world go by.

Plus which, I've been pondering these facades for a while because while I could tell the shutters were real - some open, some closed, some broken, etc., I always had this strange feeling that all the white trim might be trompe loeil - it just seemed kind of flat to me.  So today I really studied it - got as close as I could to the side of the building and then looked down the facade to see if the pediments and such were sticking out and I felt pretty sure they weren't.  But there were the shadows, although looking at the sun and at the shadows, I kind of thought some of them were in the wrong place.  So I reminded myself to check later in the day and see where the shadows were and sure enough, they were all in the same place when I went back out to get a treat and by then there was no sun!  But I think it's neat they did that because it's really very pretty.  The one below, I really cropped so that it would give a fairly close-up view although it still looks very authentic. 

So having settled that to my satisfaction I moved on.  And came across this window at a confectionary shop - astounding, isn't it?  A lot of reflection in the glass, but you get the idea...makes me wish I was getting married or doing something very special and had the money to burn.

And I also have this picture which I took just because I thought it was yet another pretty building - the pinkish color rather than yellow.

And I know you'll find it hard to believe (I do too) but I didn't take any more pictures until I was coming back from the antiques market.  The antiques market was enjoyable - I even found myself a tiny little treasure to buy, to whit:

Isn't she a cutie?  And she even has little crochet panties to match.  There were four dressed dollies and she was the only one with some hair and a hairbow, so she's who I brought home with me.  I was also sorely, sorely tempted by a quite old, leather-bound dollhouse scale book that had an accordion-type pull out set of pages each with a faded picture of Paris.  I decided after I made myself walk away from it and had seen pretty much everything else that I'd go back and if it was still there and he'd come down 10E, I'd buy it.  It wasn't there and I told myself it was just as well but I didn't really believe myself. :)

By the time I had had enough of the market, it had once again gotten quite cloudy, windy, and chilly and the vendors were rushing around getting everything gathered up.  I had taken a break for lunch and went to the same delicious ham sandwich place I had been to before, so I had been carrying around the second half of the sandwich oh, and my drugstore purchases.  I forgot about that.  Following orders I had stopped first thing at a drug store to get some sun screen.  The cheapest they had was 9.50E and I very reluctantly decided to get it but then the girl at the register and the man who was her customer apparently were reviewing each of their life histories or something and after waiting quite a bit, I decided to heck with it and left.   And I'm glad I did because once I got down into old Nice there was what must have been a type of "discount" drugstore or something.  Went in there and on a very small scale it was more like ours - a little bit of food, a little bit of stationery supplies (got a pack of pens!) and then regular pharmacy stuff.  My sunscreen there - SPF 50 guys so rest easy! - was 4.50E and I also got some bandaids for my knee.  So, I set off for home to get rid of my bag and then decide about Eze which was beginning to seem a little doubtful. Got to the room around 3:30, very cloudy skies by then, so I decided Eze was out and really didn't know what to do with myself at that point.  So I hung about here for a while, fortunately had some e-mails to look at, stretched out on the bed and looked at my strange little Nice book from the TI office and finally thought "well, I'll go get a treat".  I did and that bucked me right up.  I had a pain du chocolat which is basically a non-croissant-shaped croissant with lumps of delicious chocolate scattered around in the layers.  Yummy!  And two of the tiny pots of tea which was nice on such a chilly day.  On the way back I decided to take a close up look at this building I've been seeing and wondering what it is cause it's quite huge, and, of course, quite elaborate. And I just asked my landlady to transcribe lycee for me cause what I found on liine left me a little unsure and it's a term used for secondary schools.  This one is a high school and she told me the inside is as gorgeous as the outside.  It's the school her daughter attended.  These photos are with my phone and since it was so overcast, they're not all that great.

 This building is so large I had to take pictures section by section. 

 This is to the left of the major section above and is one end of the building.
 And this is to the right and I think is about the other end of the building.
 And some close-ups which really don't work as well with a phone...
 The window trim here is mosaic.
Could they possibly have added anymore to this window treatment?!
And, finally, the name of the school.

So, some building, right?  Now, in Nice you have to be careful to remember to look down fairly frequently when you're wandering around looking up at all this magnificence because underfoot is not so magnificent.  I won't enlarge this one!

Looking over a couple of streets and a huge screened off construction project, there is another building that appeals to me.  And if it's on the street I think it is, I don't know that it's currently anything special because that street is all shops and restaurants on the street level.

The tower is part of something else, I'm sure but I love the little dome on the corner of the gold building.  And of course, the balconies... 
And in this one you can see how the buildings behind keep climbing up until finally there's just the hill with trees.  I do apologize for the fuzziness of these pics.

And I almost forgot to add this one that I took while I was still at the Lycee.  I just liked the peacefulness of the scene amidst the streaming noisy traffic, the mess of the construction site, the huge ornateness of the building, the dog poop...the flowers keep blooming and the birds keep eating just like they were living out in the country. :)

And that's pretty much my day.  I went out for dinner and wanted to try socca which is a dish uniquely Nicoise but the restaurant my landlady told me I should go to for it was closed and rather than wander around looking for something else, I stopped at a restaurant right around the corner from the closed one that had socca signs all over the place.  I'm pretty sure it's geared towards tourists so I wasn't expecting too much and that's what I got.  But it filled me up and I had my glass of wine so I'll survive.  And if it's nice weather tomorrow I will get myself off to Eze.

au revoir til then...


Christopher said...

What a school! I love it when towns go to such noble extremes of architecture on their public buildings. You would just have to lift your head a little higher, as a student, stepping through those doors! And I wondered from an earlier pic, if the pediments over the windows of the gloriously-yellow building might be artful fakes... how neat that they are such well-executed trompe l'oeil!

Chinch said...

Going backwards, I hope you try the socca at the good place and whether or not you do that you say what the dish is supposed to be. I've never heard of it. And isn't Nice where they're supposed to have divine pizza at the street vendors? Have you seen any street food vendors? Moving on to the school: Wow. Can you go inside? That would be neat if you could. Cute little dolly -- is she miniature scale or merely little? Is the cake on the left chocolate bonbons? If so, that's the one for my next wedding!! And back to the beginning: I am truly dazzled and can hardly believe that the window trim is painted!! Isn't that just amazing and aren't you just amazing for noticing?!? Yes to both. You deserve to be a traveler because you do such a good job of seeing. Hope Eze turns out to be easy. Is that how it's pronounced? Have fun. xoxo

Sarah said...


Glad you had a relaxing day after the hectic one yesterday. Sounds like the antique market was a good choice---I'd have made that one!!

Thanks for all the photos!

Enjoy Eze--some interesting shops there and the view are great. Lots of other hilltowns all around you...

Bonne nuit,


Sarah said...

Mary Lynne,

I left a comment but it didn't show up...not sure what I'm doing wrong!

Glad you had a somewhat slower day! Thanks for the photos---great!

Hope the time in Eze is good---beautiful views from there....

Bonne nuit,


Elga said...

My comment of yesterday disappeared somewhere in blog land, glad you got sunscreen. I love the little doll, she is adorable and probably German. I made a reproduction one that looks similar but not quite so small mmm, lets see 15 years ago?! I really want to make time for doll making again, my fingers are itching.

Have a great Tuesday.

Mary Lynne said...

Hi Sarah and bienvenue! You're not doing anything wrong (although I did when I "published" both comments. It's just the time change. When most people are reading the blog and commenting, I've gone to bed and don't see them til the next morning (now). And sometimes like the day after tomorrow, I won't have time to see if there were any in the morning cause I'll be catching a 7:30 train to Paris. So don't worry, I'll get them and I certainly appreciate them. :)

Mary Lynne said...

And good morning Chris and Chinch, my faithful family. :) I may try the socca again. It's a pancake type thing that they make out of chickpea meal and olive oil. So I don't know that it would ever be a favorite. Mine was quite dry, I kept adding oil and didn't have much taste, of course, so I kept salting it. Made with good olive oil and served hot, I'm sure it would be better, but I don't know how much better. :)

I thought about asking Chantal (my landlady) about going in the school but don't know if I'll get back that way anyway, so didn't. She told me there's a huge courtyard inside the building with trees, flowers, etc. Pretty fantastic!

Love to you both...

Mary Lynne said...

Hi Elga - sorry about the no show but I didn't get it ever whereas with Sarah's it was here waiting for me this morning. Anyway, yes, I'm just real tickled with my dolly.

And you're amazing - turning out gorgeous furniture, doing your beautiful petitpoint and now it turns out you want to get back to making dolls. I've always enjoyed what I do in miniatures, but my talents are not as widespread as yours. No Fimo, no doll dressing, and no furniture making.

Let's see - I guess it's 19 days til our Amsterdam get-together, right?

Elga said...

Yes, something like that, too busy to count the days, EEEK!!!

I might have forgotten to click the publish button after the word verification, you can actually disable that and still moderate your comments.

Lisa in WV said...

Mary Lynne, I am salivating for the pain du chocolat. I do want to travel with you. I love your afternoon stops for tea and pastry.

Mary Lynne said...

Thanks for saying afternoon stops, Lisa. Truth be known I'm able to put away a chocolate croissant just about any time! :)

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