Thursday 2nd September 2010.
It’s really hot out so I’m waiting until later to go visit the old town of Nice. Also, I’ve been bitten by mosquitos and my legs are itchy so any excuse not to walk around is fine by me at the moment!
This morning I went for a walk on the promenade by the beach. Already by 10am it was busy with people, walking and jogging and riding bikes. There are amazing hotels and restaurants all along the street opposite the sea. On the beach, literally on the beach, there are more restaurants. These have a private section of beach where you can rent a sun-bed and parasol. Except for the bit about lying in the sun (I don’t like lying in the sun), that sounded like a brilliant idea. You set yourself onto your sun-bed and when you’re thirsty, you call a waiter and get a drink. When you’re hungry, you call a waiter and get some food! How easy!
Not for me, I was off to check out the tours and the tourist office was situated somewhere on the promenade. But before I found it I saw the Little Train Tour of Nice. Just like on Bray promenade! I had to take it. There were headphones for the commentary and channel 2 was in English. I was sitting in the front seat (every opportunity) beside two young Italian girls, whose mother was sitting behind us.
The Little Train is not as comfortable a ride as the big buses but it’s added charm is that everyone notices you! So we bumped along taking out of focus photos as we went. Nice has embraced rush hour and liked it so much they kept it all day, so the first part of the journey was slow through heavy traffic. Turns out Nice was owned by the Italians until very recently (150 years ago), and the city was built-in the style of Torino! On our travels around the edges of France we are finding that borders come and go, but the architectural practices remain, and the buildings reflect the origins of the place. So that Nice looks like Italy and Munster looks like Germany.
I noticed as we were travelling along that the two Italian girls didn’t wear their headphones, and I was tempted to ask why with my newly acquired Italian communication skills. Anyway, I didn’t, but the answer became obvious as we moved along. Their mother behind us was wearing her headphones and from time to time she would tell the girls some titbit of information from the commentary. Only now do I realise, this is ingenious!
From my extensive experience on bus and indeed train tours on this journey I am now very well placed to design my own tour.
My tour: There must be only 5 points of information about the city we are touring – there’s always too much information and with all the picture-taking you’re too busy to listen. (Thank you to the Italian Mammy for this idea.)
The 5 points must be strategically posted around the bus/train to aid memory – it’s very nice to sound knowledgable when you have completed a tour, but this is only possible if you can remember anything from the tour.
The bus/train must be only one person wide – this is to get over the problem of having the other people in your row in the way when you want to take a picture through their window.
The bus/train must have a roof, but only in sunny climates – this would ensure that you do not get burned by the sun but still leaves room for fun and games of see-through umbrellas in the rain.
That’s all I have for now, but I think I’ll be adding to this list.