Nice to Monaco; Côte d’Azur road trip

Sep-2006

Delta had its Montreal office on the 2nd floor of a business building while a company called Geosaf was occupying the upper floor.  Over the years, from constant crossing paths, a friendship was formed with the late George who was the owner of this company.  He had a yacht docked at a marina in Nice and invited us for a ride. Angelo, Paul, Spiro and myself accepted the invite and a trip to the French Riviera  was planned.  Seeing Angelo had a cousin, Attilio, living in Nice, he organized our stay at his home along with borrowing his vehicle for the road trip. We couldn’t be more grateful towards Attilio for saving us a substantial amount of money.

We’re met by George  and drives us to the marina.  Gorgeous sunny day making it ideal for a boat trip along the French Riviera.  Just walking on the wooden boardwalk with all boats lined up on either side gave us a feeling of richness.  George, his wife, his pet dog and the 4 of us board the yacht and settle in.

From the mountains to the blue waters, from the white shiny yachts to the high-end condo complexes, the view was phenomenal.  Were we going to actually ride along the French Riviera?  Yes indeed.  He gases up for that one day,  which was equivalent to my month’s gas budget at home, ensures safety for his passengers and away we go.  Cruising along, moving from the lower deck to the upper deck, the view along the Riviera just kept  getting more scenic. img_2385

Midday rolls around, we dock the boat freely in front of a pebble beach and Paul takes no time to leap in the water.  Belly Flop….how classy.  Paul is a riot and may have mistaken our location to be Fort Lauderdale at spring break.  We return back to the marina, relax at a café for a while longer, salute our friend George and on to meet Attilio.

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That evening, Attilio and his wife took us out for supper and the only way to digest our great meal was walking around the cobblestone roads.  We head back to their home and plan our route for the road trip.

That evening was quite warm and seeing Paul kept the window opened to allow the nice evening breeze, he was unaware that the absence of a window screen provided an entrance for unwanted insects.  Paul greeted us in the morning with his body infested with mosquito bites looking as if  he had just contracted the chicken pox.  Breakfast is complete, we pack our car and the first stop was set for the Italian city called Ventimiglia. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the mountainous ride provided such fresh air.  Overlooking beautiful cliffs, we had to stop by a beach that started welcoming locals and tourists.  img_2456

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Started from France, passed through Italy, next up Monaco. We couldn’t believe the scenery.  The sun was shining which gave the skies this gorgeous baby blue backdrop.  The cleanliness of the roads with the architectural perfection of every building made everything look  surreal.  The palm trees and flowerbeds were so well-trimmed that they looked artificial.  We were afraid of dirtying the city center with our shoes. The way Monaco was nestled between the mountains and the ocean, the aerial view was spectacular.

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One cannot go to Monaco without walking on the Monaco Grand Prix circuit, visit the Monte Carlo Casino and the Monte Carlo Fairmont Hotel.

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When Clark Kent comes out of a telephone booth, he becomes Superman and can save the world. Just a little different for my friend Angelo.  He entered the phone booth, made a 2 minute call and when he came out, he didn’t become Superman…..instead  became broke.  It was later known that he was charged 45$ for a 2 minute conversation.

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Sometimes I wonder how on earth can one afford super yachts, and the marina in Monaco had plenty of them all lined up.  Just a sea of white lacquered spotless self-contained mansions. Everything was simply picture perfect.  We drive back to Nice and continue our tour on the Promenades des Anglais.  We found ourselves staring at the beach front not only for the crystal ocean waters and the symmetrical umbrellas displaying their flag color, but more for the attractive topless women enjoying the sunrays.  We had to get a closer look and despite the large pebbles making up the sand, we tip toe to the water and enjoy an afternoon swim in the Mediterranean waters.

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With Paul in dire need of a bathroom break, what better place to utilize the men’s room from Hotel Negresco.  One of the world’s most classiest establishments and here we are 3 men filled with sand walking the marble lobby.  I guess if one walks with confidence and assertiveness, no one really questions.

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The night brings a new dimension to the Promenades des Anglais and we take in a last look before our departure the next morning.  Quaint cafés at every corner, chic lobbies with solicitors inviting us in for cocktails and street performers playing the accordion all give us the feeling of sorrow for our departure.  The next morning, we check in at the airport and come to notice that Meryl Streep is not only on our flight, but seated 2 seats next to us with her daughter.  We were told that the movie “Devil Wears Prada” was released and she attended the pre-screening.

Sep-2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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