Suddenly I saw a photo on BBC Travel website today, which seemed a little familiar to me. Out of curiosity, I opened it and found that it was an interesting article about Monaco. This sent me down the memory lane to reminisce about my own trip to the beautiful French Riviera.
Nice is the kind of place which brings a natural smile to your face as soon as you set your foot in there. We came out of airport, reached our hotel, kept the luggage in room, and without wasting time any further, headed straight towards the sea. Beautiful weather, spotlessly clean beach and charming atmosphere. Some people had brought their little ones to the beach to make sand castles, some were skating or cycling on the promenade beside the beach, and there were some who were just enjoying the occasional chit chat with their friends. Everything about that place was awe inspiring. We also kept strolling on the promenade along with our lost thoughts. We reached the city center of Nice which is also the main tourist attraction of the city. How to decorate our houses and how to make our town beautiful, this is something we should learn from the people of Nice. The old town charm coupled with patches of beautiful flowers was enough to make anyone fall in love with the place. After about an hour there, we realized that it was almost sunset and we hadn’t eaten anything the whole day. Since landing in Europe, we didn’t have Indian food. So we checked on internet and went to an Indian restaurant called Krishna. Just looking at the pictures in menu made me go out of control. We had a super-delicious mixed-veg and tandoori naan with mango lassi. It felt heavenly after spending 7 days without an Indian meal (Confession: I am not very experimental when it comes to food ).
Next day, we took advice of my friend Kartik from Geneva, and set sail for Monaco. Monaco is second smallest country in the world after Vatican, and the residents don’t have to pay any taxes here (tax heaven). For this obvious reason, it’s a country of choice for the riches of the world. You can see that from the super expensive cars on the roads and a beeline of luxury yachts on the harbor.
Capturing the beautiful vistas with my small camera, we headed towards the beach. Preparation for the Monaco grand prix was in full swing in the streets. After a long but enjoyable walk, we were at one of the amazing beaches of Monaco. It was not at all crowded and water was simply crystal clear. Add to it, the pleasant weather and cool breeze, and what else can you ask for.
If you have seen Nicole Kidman’s movie Grace of Monaco, you might already know how magnificent the royal palace of Monaco is. There was a lively street market too near the palace, full of made-in-china souvenirs.
Next day, we took a long 2 hour bus ride to Cannes. In India, a lot of people know Cannes due the film festival, where Bollywood stars are regular visitors. Beaches of Cannes were also very charming, though little more crowded than Monaco. It was little cold due to wind, so we took a dip in the ocean and just relaxed by the beach for some time. Afterwards we had vegetarian pizzas in a small beachside restaurant with a very friendly owner. Though he didn’t understand any English, still we got a completely customized pizza made for us just by using sign language.
In the evening, we had to fly to Barcelona. While coming back to Nice, we ran into a horrible traffic snarl, even by Indian traffic standards. The 20 km stretch took us 3 hours but somehow we managed to reach airport just in time. 5 minutes late, and the plane would have taken off without us. We then had to spend the night on the beach, sleeping under the stars.Not that I mind.