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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 13, 2012

Saturday AND Sunday

Saturday was a  big, BIG day and by the end of it, I realized a little too big. :)  Lots of pictures again which I will add notes to when I have something to add.  Again, I wish I knew more about what I'm seeing when I go to specific places - I simply cannot believe I didn't bring at least a little guidebook for Nice!

Anyway, I had decided that since, once again, I was blessed with sunny, gorgeous weather, I would go up to the hill that has the Musee Matisse, the Musee et site Archeologiques (phew!  that means the Archeology Museum), and the Monastere de Cimiez.  And as you can see from the names I also decided that I'd use the French names when possible like I did in Italy - give it more of that ambiance Francais! :)

I thought about trying to walk it - if it proved too much, I could always get a bus on the way up cause my landlady showed me the road the bus route follows on my map and it goes straight up to all three of those places which as I found out later are sort of somehow combined into one big park type setting.  So the intrepid traveler sets out.  I got to the first intersection and fortunately there were street signs pointing to various destinations.  The one the bus follows was only pointing to the Musee Chagall.  The sign pointing to the three I had decided on was not the bus route street and immediately started going uphill.  That was no problem because I had also planned to visit the Musee Chagall so I opted to to go there first, definitely waking to it and then see how I felt when I came out - catch a bus or keep walking.

So walk I did and of course took pictures along the way.  I'm just so stunned by the lushness of everything.  Most any building has balconies, lots of ornamentation, flowers, trees, etc.  Just so gorgeous.  Can't imagine what it's like living here.  Although, unlike Italy, I'm not tempted to even wish I could.  I'm enjoying my trip and am happy I'm doing it, but I doubt I'll come back to France.  Whereas with Italy I'd go at the drop of a hat.  So these pictures are just of beauteousnous (how do you like that word? Spell check didn't)

Don't know if you noticed the carving at the top.  If not, this is, incredibly enough, the Chamber of Commerce Building!!!  I think it is so neat that it's such a grand building in such a sumptuous setting.

Just another gorgeous building and view.
And even in a rather plain little apartment building, this resident was beautifying the scene.

And how's this for making every square inch count?!

Got to the museum with no problems going steadily but slowly uphill.  I truly enjoyed the museum.  I was basically unfamiliar with Chagall although I recognized the style of his pencil sketches.  But I'd say a majority of his work was depictions of stories from the Old Testament.  He was born in Russia and was Jewish.  At some point in the turmoil of Russia it became necessary to emigrate to France.  He took French citizenship and was dismayed to discover as Hitler marched across Europe that French citizenship wasn't going to help him.  So he then emigrated to the US with the help of a woman who helped 2,000 European artistes to leave for the safety of the US.  All of that figures into his work also which is basically a history of the plight of the wandering Jew.  They had an interesting film with English subtitles which is where I was able to gather some of this information and they also had the English audios that can be helpful.  And I took pictures and no one told me to stop, so here they are:

The entrance...

This is one of several portrayals of Moses parting the sea.  I love the blue and also, of them all, this one looked the most like a parted sea to me.

Stained glass and gosh, isn't it gorgeous?!

This is a pool in front of a huge mosaic that you'll see next.  I had never seen this plan before and though it was quite decorative.

This has to have been completed by many people to his pattern.  It would have taken a lifetime to place each tiny tile.

While in Russia  he designed costumes and backdrops for the Russian Jewish theater and they have one room with huge panels painted on canvas I guess that I think were actually used in the theater.  Sorry to be vague but the audio guide didn't cover this room.  There were four painting this size on on room-sized canvas and this very happy lady was my favorite.  The one below is also one of the four cause I figured she needed a partner. :)

This is the other room-sized panel - so large I had to step out of the room and take the picture at an angle to get it all in.

And this is the museum's little cafe which compared to a lot of museum cafes I've had a bite in, was quite nice.  The lovely day didn't hurt at all, either.
So, after my nice little lunch, back I went to the road up.  And feeling pretty chipper decided I'd walk some more and, again, if it got too much, just catch the bus.  Well, after a while I decided, okay, okay, I'll get the next bus - my hip was hurting, one toe was hurting and the sun was having a field day making me even redder than before.  Both the the tourist information woman and my landlady had told me the bus was either 15 or 22 and the landlady even thought maybe they both went up there.  So along came a 22 and you know where I'm going with this right?  I get on, ask him "monastere?" and I think even point to my map.  He grunts (shades of the grunting bus driver in Florence), I pay my 1E and sit.  We go for a bit, he makes a turn or two that aren't on my map of the road I need to be on and I finally manage to see the name of the street we ARE on and it's not my road of course.  At the next stoplight, I get up and again point to the monastery on my map, and "non, non" he says and opens the door.  So I get off.  And not being able to even find the street on my map, I have no idea where I am and so have no choice but to just walk back and hope I can figure out where I got off my route.  Walked and walked and came to where I thought I was getting close.  Saw several French men sitting outside a tiny cafe and marched across to them, gave a "bonjour s'il vous plait" which I've discovered works better than bonjour or excuse me, and pointed to my map.  They made such a gracious effort to speak English and I made a real effort to understand what they were telling me, and they got me pointed in the right direction, bless them.  So, end result, I walked the whole way up from home to the final destination, with an extra walk thrown in, thanks to the bus driver.  FYI - I asked Google maps how far it was to walk there on the route I took and it was 1-3/4 miles up so 3-1/2 miles altogether plus all the walking around at each place I visited.

Here are some more walking pictures:

 There are very few buildings without balconies some more ornate, some less.
 It's so totally Riviera-ish...
 Love it!

 This has to be something special because it is so huge, but alas, I don't know what.

Once up in the park-like area (which is obviously really popular with locals - all kinds of families there sitting on blankets on the grass with the kiddies gamboling about - very pleasant, really - I decided to have a little glass of wine before going any further cause that always seems to help when things have not gone quite as planned.  And it did, so I then went to the Matisse museum first (no pictures allowed and absolutely no English information about anything), then the monastery - very pleasant in the gardens and a beautiful church interior - and as far as I know I didn't miss anything but there wasn't even any French information there as far as I could tell - nor any staff type people either.   Pictures...

 I'm fairly certain I read that this is a Franciscan monastery and it is active as far as I know.  Like in Italy, after visiting here, I can't help thinking I wouldn't mind being a monk or a sister in a convent.  Of course, not really, but maybe for a couple months out of the year? :)  Below are pictures of the nave and altar and more of the ceiling. 

Next are pictures of the gardens of the monastery which were stunning and lush - I don't know what all tricks they use, but the plantings were in absolutely tip-top shape, lush, green, full of bloom...and where the pictures aren't showing blooms, they're showing the view from all that floral plenty.

 Eat your heart out, right Chris?  And look at the bunches of buds waiting to bloom on just this one stalk!

 Looking out to the sea again.
 Kind of a shame that girls come up here to sunbathe, I think.  This is a sunken garden.

 An absolutely perfect magnolia tree.
 And me, proving that I'm not just copying Google images into my blog and hiding out in my bathroom at home!   Man, you can see the red shoulder even in a photograph!

 I'll bet I took at least 6 pictures of this blasted observatory while up there.  Don't know why I've become so obsessed with getting a picture where you can actually see it, but now I have and now I've got to find out if I need to visit it (but not walking!)

Then it was on to the archeology museum.  On the way there,  I saw men playing what I was pretty sure must be "boules" which I've read about in various books.  I managed to "bonjour s'il vous plait" one of the men and find out yes that it was in fact boules and you don't say bools which is what I was saying but "boolay".

Went into the museum, where I learned after I said bonjour to the lady at the entrance desk and started into the room behind her that Non, non, non!!! you go outside first!!!    But we managed to get through that with an ending of smiles so that was fine.  I went outside first as directed and then came inside.  So here are the ruins...

 more ruins, and with the back of the Matisse museum to add color...

 just a few more...
and the most Roman-ish looking ones, I think.

And before I go inside, just one more to make Chris proud of me. :)

Then the inside of the museum which was pretty much French to me, but I enjoyed some of the exhibits.  I have the feeling that a lot of things they showed were reproductions.

I guess I didn't do the museum justice cause I didn't take any pictures of the various artifacts and such.  I guess I saw the miniatures and just went into miniature mode...

And, then, believe it or not, I walked all the way back down to home.  I wasn't about to get on a bus again by then.  Even though I probably could have safely boarded the #15 since it was the #22 that didn't work.  Just wasn't going to chance it.  So by the time I got to the apartment, I was very much shot.  Sunburned even more, hot and sticky and worn to a little nubbin.  My landlady was astonished at how long I had been gone and asked where all I went, so I told her my day and how I enjoyed it except for the bus driver and that probably I shouldn't have walked the whole way there and back, but... 

Anyway, I went to my room, got my shoes and knee highs off, looked at my e-mails, which fortunately there were a few which bucked me up, went and rinsed my face off which felt marvelous and then took my poor tired legs and aching hip back down the three flights of stairs and in search of dinner.  I ended up going to a place I had seen on another trek through Old Nice called the the Snug Gastro Pub.  I was going to sit outside but actually got to feeling pretty chilly.  About then a group came OUT of the restaurant looking for a table.  I was at a big one by myself and told them if there was a table inside I'd go in.  They said yes, yes and took me to it before anyone else grabbed it so that worked out well for both of us.  I sat next to another big group and in a little bit one of them started trying to get a picture of the rest, so I offered to take one of all of them and they were delighted.  Some spoke English and we had a little chat which I always enjoy.  They are few and far between here.  I do offer to take pictures whenever I see a couple taking each other's picture and that makes them happy and makes me happy.  It is a strange thing how rude the shopkeepers can be - certainly not all of them - some are delightful.  But I'd say the majority is either neutral or rude.  And it puzzles me because the customers are their bread and butter.  And Nice's main industry has to be tourists.  Of course, I have noticed that there are really large numbers of French tourists so maybe the shopkeepers are nicer to them.

Had a nice dinner - had pappardelle carbonara which was so silky good and a nice glass of wine, along with a little bit of the wonderful bread.  That's one thing I'll say - for my taste buds, France wins against Italy hands down on the bread - at least in Tuscany.  I asked for some olive oil (which France is pretty much winning there too!) and sprinkled salt and pepper in it and dipped each little morsel of bread in it.  Oh, my how tasty!

Now, it's Sunday and I had made a promise to myself Saturday night once I was feeling somewhat human again that I would not do anything except a little wandering around, maybe down to the sea and sit in a chair, of course a little eating and a little wine, and no pictures!!!  It worked out pretty well actually.  I didn't get up til around 8:45, then piddled around on the computer looking at various things to do, a couple more e-mails (goody), etc.  Had a little breakfast, took a shower (and I really enjoy her shower), piddled around some more waiting for my hair to dry and getting things gathered together.  I wasn't even going to take my camera and decided I would take it but not take pictures unless it was imperative.  I forget how long I lasted before I had to take the first picture.  Took out my camera and hadn't put the memory card back in.  I had my phone with me though and took what pictures I took with that.  I haven't even looked at them yet and there are no where near as many as my busy days generated.  I did a little shopping, bought myself a real pretty necklace that I think and hope I'll actually wear, bought a little something that must remain a mystery, a small bottle of olive oil and I guess that's about it actually.  I've been collecting bookmarks and pencils at the places I visit that have them cause my friend Shelley told me she collects pencils when she travels and I though well, that's kind of a neat idea.

So, for what they're worth, here are the pictures I took today and two more videos - how's that for a treat?  If you go to the link, turn your volume down first - they're quite noisy!  And I'll post them here since last night I forgot to post them at all.  Sorry about that.  Not real sure what these were in support of.  I saw the band first and just thought it was for the heck of it (by the way watch for the dancing couple on the left.  They were really getting into it and they were quite old.  Anyway, they quit right after I turned off the camera and I walked on and pretty soon heard more of the same.  Went around the corner and that's when I saw the parade coming down the street.  Tried to get a picture of their banner so I could translate it but didn't quite make it.  Here they are:  rhythm band video and parade

 Fancy, fancy - wish you could see the pretty glitter in the dress on the left..
 From the sublime to the smelly - another small open-air market
 This was a fun photo.  I saw the butcher coming out of his shop - probaby taking a much needed break.  Followed him til I caught up and used my "bonjour s'il plait".  He turned and I tried, idiotically to tell him we don't have real butchers where I live and indicated his very bloody apron.  He tried to tell me whatever he tried to tell me, we stumbled around for a bit but pointing at my camera and holding it in front of me, he realized I wanted to take his picture.  He seemed quite tickled with the idea and stood and posed.  I was so stunned at my temerity that first I couldn't get the camera opened, kept pressing the wrong button.  Then when I finally got it open I was in such a hurry to take the picture that I just really pointed and shot.  Before editing you couldn't see his face - it was totally shadowed, and of course he's not smiling and yet he was pretty full of chuckles during the whole procedure.  Anyway, this man cuts meat - he doesn't just wrap it in cellophane packages, by durn.
 Finally - clouds and dark over the sea...and chilly!
And even darker on the way home looking this direction.  Meanwhile, the sun behind me was shining brightly.

And that's going to be it.  I know there are at least a couple of things I was going to remember to tell you about, but right now they're gone and I'm done.  I was smart enough to edit yesterday's pictures last night, then write almost all of the blog today while I ate my nice lunch so I've not been slaving away all night tonight.  It was just a real nice day and I'm quite content.  Just wish I could figure out what I'm going to do next and how I'm going to do it.  I'll work on that next.

Until next time, au revoir!


Christopher said...

What a glorious bit of pictures, and particularly up at that monastery! A beautiful church for sure, and lovely gardens. The weather looks just splendid, too---discounting the clouds Sunday. Kudos to you and your poor hip & legs for all that treking---perhaps your various bus mishaps are merely the prelude to the travel book you're to write for other solo travelers, to tell them dammit, here's how the buses work! ;)
Put some moisturizer on, and better yet, go get some sunblock! You're in the mediterranean for Pete's sake! ;)

Mary Lynne said...

Ah, but that's just it, Chris. I never figure out how the buses work!! My only advice so far would be "go ahead and smack the driver - you'll feel better!"

But, Chris...what about my rose??? What about my bee??? Were you too jealous to comment? :)


Christopher said...

...oops, yes, the rose is a terrific little close up, as is the bee. And I like the model Roman village model. Not to mention Chagal's gorgeous window. The zodiac mosaic, I'm not as keen on in his "style", but he certainly had a way with glass!

Jamie said...

Wow. Absolutely gorgeous. I am, as always, in awe of you and your strength and courage! Photos are great. I especially love the simple buildings with the windows with shutters. These would be so nice framed. Get some sunscreen! Jeez. Have I taught u nothing! Be safe and strong and keeping us up to date on your travels.

Mary Lynne said...

I agree about Chagall's style although I did discover looking at such a nice big collection of his work that there were a number of pieces that really appealed to me. And I think if you had a really good explanation of some of the Bible works, they would be interesting - they are crammed full of little bits and pieces that obviously all symbolize various things. I do love his use of blue!

And, Jamie - I will try and find some sunscreen today. I've not been in one of the pharmacies yet but they look so official - very unlike ours that have everything but cars for sale! I'd really like a pencil too but have no idea where to find one!

Thanks to both of you for checking in,

Lisa Salati said...

Mary Lynne, just remember the more you walk, the more of those French pastries you can eat. Yum! Lisa in WV

Mary Lynne said...

You're absolutely right about that Lisa and I keep that very much in my mind. It's my excuse for eating more than I probably should and I'm sticking to it! :)

Mary Lynne said...

Di, my shy friend in AZ sent me these messages today:

Loved reading what you wrote and looking at all the pics. Have a great day.

This was wonderful Mary Lynn. I love all your pics, but I also love the videos you are sending because it really gives a feel for what you are experiencing.

And I'm glad you're enjoying the videos cause I did another one today although haven't looked at it yet. :)


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