Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 6 - Nice and San Remo, Italy

Nice was really a blur. We arrived after several hours in the car from Avignon, and it was nearly dark. All we could really see was a mountain filled with hotels and buildings on one side and a huge promenade, a pebbly beach, and the Med on the other side. Since I was driving, I couldn’t gape with wonder at our surroundings. I had to keep up with Mike on the crowded city streets of Nice, which demanded all of my concentration!

After checking into the hotel, we wandered to the promenade for dinner. We picked La Sirena (the mermaid), and we’re glad we did. Dinner was yummy, and the waiter was terrific! Dado was wearing his Obama t-shirt, and the waiter offered him a free dinner right away. I must add that their chocolate mousse was out of this world!

The next morning, we only had time for a 5-minute walk on the beach before we headed to San Remo, Italy. Our grand plan was to visit the Saturday market in San Remo.

Here are Dado, Josey, and Max on the beach in Nice!

The drive from Nice to San Remo was spectacular! Unfortunately, there was nowhere to stop to take pictures, so let me try to described it . . . .

We could see the snow-covered Alps on one side and villages nestled beside the Med on the other side. Wow, wow, wow!! Besides a tiny little sign announcing that we had entered Italy, it was also obvious based on the difference in the architecture and the terraced hillsides.

There were dozens of tunnels and bridges cutting through the hills and valleys of the countryside from the Cote d’Azure through the Italian coastline. Each valley was filled with homes and buildings, and the buildings climbed the sides of the mountains in perfect terraces. Along the terraces were also long, narrow greenhouses. It is incredible to see how the Italians adapted to growing produce and flowers to fit the landscape.

As we drove, we could see little villages strung together through the hills, each marked by a church in the center. It would be heavenly to have several days to just wander around the small villages.

We arrived in San Remo a little later than we hoped, and we arrived with a lot of other people. There was only one road connecting the autoroute to San Remo, so we were stuck in traffic. Dado made a command decision to park us on a side road, and we hoofed it into town.

When we finally got into town, the adults needed caffeine! Our first Italian coffee and cafe!

We missed the market, but we found a great restaurant and some deeelicious, genuine gelato!

After our few hours in San Remo, we decided that we love the Italian people, too! They were great at the cafĂ© – teaching us to count in Italian while ordering coffee croissants. They were great at the restaurant – working with us to order the most authentic Italian food of the region. They were great at the gelateria – giving us huge scoops of gelato!

The Italians we encountered were open, friendly, helpful, and boisterous! We look forward to spending more time in Italy.

And San Remo is beautiful!

Julie also bought herself an authentic Italian bag. Check out the transaction. It was very funny because we were taking pictures with San Remo in the background when the man approached us. Julie couldn’t resist shopping! This is a “genuine leather Prada bag!” Julie wanted a new carry-on for the airplane, and now she has one.

Love to all!

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