Now to explain why the South of France was worth all this trouble.
First of all, it's beautiful. Not the "yeah she's pretty good looking" type of beautiful, but the "I want to make babies with you" beautiful. If you can't tell from the pictures, let me inform you that I was constantly wide-eyed at just how gorgeous the landscape was. You have the blue-green Mediterranean in the foreground, the foothills of the Alps in the background, with French style houses painted in Italian style colors pouring down from the valleys to meet the sea. The best view of all this was when we took a bus from Nice to Monaco. The path it followed was one around the foothills, high above the little villages with stunning views around every corner. The bus trip in itself was a sight to see. The best moment I spent enjoying the scenery was in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a tiny coast village between Nice and Monaco. I just sat in a cafe on the beach and spent about an hour sipping a coffee and watching the lazy sailboats float in the bay while the sun slowly set behind the mountains. Every blink of an eye was seriously a new post card waiting to be printed. My favorite part of the trip was doing just this, sitting in the sun by the water and relaxing. It's extremely obvious why the Azur Coast has been a resort spot for centuries.
Even when the weather turns bad there are plenty of things to do in Nice. It rained once while we where in Nice, but there are at least two theaters that play movies in English. We saw Green Zone. There's also a couple museums worth visiting; the Chagall Museum was really interesting. (I did haggle for a free ticket, making it all the more worthwhile.) There's also plenty of shopping that I found just as accessible as, but much more laid back than, Paris. However the best indoor activity in my opinion were food and alcohol establishments. Because of all the rich Brits who like to harbor their yachts in these southern French towns, finding an English bar is like finding a vegan in SW Portland, they practically scream at you. The second night in Nice while wandering through Old Nice in the rain, we stumbled upon the Snug Pub, a cozy little Irish bar that was playing some live soccer. So we decided to stop there and have a beer. They had Kilkenny on tap, one of my favorite smooth beers. As we watched the game one beer turned into three (four for Alistair) and 6pm quickly became almost 10pm so we decided to tipsily make our way home for dinner. We didn't eat out that often, but even just going and getting a drink (or three) is not a bad way to spend vacation.
The weather was almost always sunny and warm enough, even in the sea breeze, for a T shirt. We spent a lot of time outside, enough for me to be at least partially sunburned all week. Whether it was on the beach at Nice, walking through the principality of Monaco, or hiking the cape of Antibes. Monaco was alright, but with all its condos and heavy development I don't really feel the need to go back. The Casino at Monte Carlo wouldn't even let me in because I was wearing shorts! But I wasn't that upset as you had to pay 10 euros to get in even if you were dressed properly. Antibes was ok too, but not big enough to have all the things to do that Nice has to offer and not small enough to be as relaxing as Villefrance-sur-Mer. The best part of Antibes was a little hike Jack, Alistair, and I did to get to the top of the cape where the lighthouse sat. It had pretty awesome views from the top and a little cafe we sat at recovering for a while (not because the hike was difficult mind you, we were simply out of shape). Up there was awesome. Plus I should mention that all public transportation on the Azur Coast is only 1 euro. So you can take a bus from Cannes all the way to Monaco for 1 euro (that's about an hour and 20 minute ride). So the 2 euro round trips from Nice to these other surrounding towns is definitely worth it. There is plenty to explore and I still want to go back to see all that I missed, but seeing things in the South of France is set a little slower pace because the value placed on unwinding is much higher than that of sight seeing.
I know this post about the pluses isn't as long as the previous post about the minuses but you'll just have to take my word on this one, so worth it and I cannot wait to return.
One week from today until I come home!!!