We took a 2 hour train from Marseilles to Nice to get a seaside vacation from our grueling trip and to visit Ellodie, a friend of Frank’s wife. The unbelievable story goes something like this; Frank’s wife is studying abroad and meets Zabir, an Algerian, French guy. they become friends while she is in France. 10 years later franks wife is walking down the street in Miami and sees Zubir from across the street. He doesnt recognize her but after convincing they become friends again and he introduces Monica, Frank’s to Elodie, his girlfriend from France.
When we get to Nice-Ville… the train station Elodie met us and we walked to her small studio. Its actually pretty big compared to Kazu’s place in Japan . On the way to her place we were walking down a hill and her sandals slipped but miraculously she caught her balance and recovered.
She planed on us going to the beach and meeting up with two of her friends who speak English. They were on Scooter and arrived an hour ahead of us and called to tell us it was super crowded and that they were going to another beach which cant be reached by train.
We packed our bags and decided to go to the crowded beach at Ville Franche. It was so cool. if you have ever played the game Grand Turismo, there is a track that looks exactly like this place; probably because it runs along the Cote d’Azur, Frances South coast, but in Monaco. the train runs past the ocean perched on a cliff with a seaside view (the picture below was borrowed from destination360.com). Not wanting to ruin my camera with sand and sunscreen I left it back at the apartment. The beach itself is somewhat sandy with some rocks and water a color I cant remember ever seeing.
The one above is from turismoactual.net.
Having lived landlocked in Spain for a year, through I have had little chance to go to a beach and get a tan so I coated my self in Sun screen not wanting a miserable flight home. There were some pretty leathery old people making sure they maintain that deep brown color. Here Tops are optional, mostly it was old women but occasionally you would find someone a bit younger trying to avoid tan lines. For Europeans this most be normal; I know we have some beaches like this back home but I have never been to them.
We were getting hungry so we walked up to La Voile Azur and got 3 Pan Bagnats. basically its a fancy tuna sandwich that is only found in that area; it’s delicious and you should go there just to get one or at least look up how to make it. After swimming and roasting a little longer we went back to get showers so we could meet her two friends for diner.
There is an Italian place… Nice is very close to Italy so their cuisine is heavily influenced; Nice used to actually be part of Italy. We had to wait about 30 minutes for a table so we went and had a drink at a near by place with live music. I banged into the table and franks full beer went sloshing out of the cup but no harm done other than some wasted beer. At the end Elodie’s friends paid for us. our table was almost given away but we managed to get it. I ordered fettuccine with clams and asparagus; it cam in a bowl like a bathroom sink. it was superhuman size. despite a big effort I couldn’t finish the noodles. We were all sitting around talking, waiting for the waiter to come over. About 5 minutes later Elodie says we can go; she had already paid for everyone’s meals.
The following day Frank and I woke up around 10am and went to the market around the corner to get food for breakfast and so that he could make a meal for her. I’m not sure if it was the heat, the beach yesterday or possibly the cumulative effects of a month of traveling but we both crashed for about 4 hours after we finished the eggs Frank made.
I woke up to pots and pans clanging in the mini kitchen and Florida, Elodie’s ragdol cat with blue eyes, sleeping in the same spot she was 4 hours earlier; what’s the cats excuse?
We had a great diner; thats the best part of traveling. sharing a meal with a local or other travelers. On so many of my trips its been a meal that bonded us; The three american students studying in Spain I met while traveling in Toledo, Yilmas and Konrad, a turc and polish guy I met in Greece over Christmas, the American siblings Brett and Alison I met later in Greece, Melodie and her boyfriend, the french hippies who took me to Santiago when I was hitching to Galicia from Madrid. Stella and Lotte, the dutch girls from the Barcelona hostel, and later her parents, sister and dog too in the Netherlands with Frank. The Japanese guys from Barcelona, Ryuji, satoshi, satoshi, and yuske, and their families who later hosted me in Japan, Krupnik with Ola and her mom, Bojana, my Croatian from Granada, and I cooked a great meat and potato soup although she still thinks i did it wrong, and later sharing a Burek meat pastry with her and her friends in Croatia with Frank. My Segovia-met Teacher friends, Fran and his wife Pilar, Kazu and I shared a quick noodle meal in Japan but I think it was just the tea that bonded us while we tried to understand one another as we got to know one another in his micro apartment. It didn’t take food to bond Weronika, the polish traveler/ photographer, but that great Okonomiyaki meal in a locals only place and the early morning tea in a cold temple were great bonding experiences. . Frank and I have had many meals from Cuban pig roasts in Tampa to Pike market fish with Luisana and Monica in Seattle to Horse steak and squid ink pasta in Venice to cevapchichi at a river side restraurnt in Croatia with Maja and some of Bojana’s other friends in Croatia to some over priced and underfilling french food that took a rediculose wait to get. I wont remember what I ate in 25 years but I will remember these people.
Thinking of it just brought back so many memories around food the caffeteria at highschool, if that can be called food, the curb where we used to skateboard and later eat pizza, the tacobell in bradenton where we would eat after surfing. . Me and my cousins and brother piling in the car with my aunt to get Little Caesars Pizza [because I know you are reading]. What are some of your best memories around food?
Our last day in Nice was just packing up and a walk around town by the beach and catching a train back to Marseilles, a bus to the airport, a flight to Madrid and a night in the airport.
In the morning I finally made it back to Segovia got unpacked and repacked for the flight back to Tampa and took one last stroll through town with an eerie feeling hanging over the town already; a feeling of abandonment. It may have just been that it was still siesta but I didn’t see one familiar face and by tomorrow morning mine would be one more face that has disappeared.