It felt surreal even when we were sitting in the Slow Lounge at OR Tambo. Neither of us had had time in the build up to the departure to stop and think about the adventure that was about to unravel. And all of a sudden, we had said our goodbyes and were together with all 3 tickets in our hands, sitting sipping champagne in the lounge. Surreal. To say the least.
It became real when the Cote D’Azur came in to view from the plane’s window. My heart swelled with excitement, millions of memories flowing back from the adventures previously had in this area and excitement paralleled for the moments that Bryce and I would be creating and sharing together. And of course the hard work we would be doing, sailing along the coast.
We had arranged our first two nights accommodation in Nice on AirBNB – sharing an apartment with a French guy. It was such a great and affordable way for us to do Nice on the Rand. Laurent (the host) collected us from the airport, squished our luggage into his small European car and swept us away down the sunny streets of Nice. Bryce and my excited chattering quickly filling up the car. The memories flooded back, the streets singing of many good times had there before. I had visions of nights out, days spent exploring the cobbled streets, dinners in beautiful restaurants and memorable docking at the Port.
As soon as our bags were down, we put our cozzies on and headed out on the public transport, so excited to explore this city and everything she had to offer. We jumped on the tram and watched the bustle pass us by. Each street corner displaying a new nationality, a new language and a new trend. So colourful and vibrant, with the street side cafés overflowing with wine-drinking and bread-eating patrons. Baguettes and gelato at every second stop and accordions catching the passing wind.
Magical, Europe, really sings a different song.
It was so amazing to experience the city with Bryce, he has not seen as much of Europe and everything we passed was equally exciting, intriguing and new. Our walk past the port was his first real experience of the Superyachting world and he was in awe. The words “no ways” escaped his mouth more than breath. It was so great and so refreshing to be around someone so excited again by where we were heading.
The following day was equally spectacular. After a long run along the Promenade des Anglaise, we went down to the local market and bought the most delicious figs and peaches and my favourite french yogurt. We are on an incredibly tight budget and it is entertaining to watch how many boiled eggs Bryce can fit into his day (and how). Peeling them into the roadside bins and snacking on them like others would biltong. That would be a luxury for us right now 🙂
It didn’t take us long to sort ourselves out and head off to Monaco to meet up with some friends. I had this grand idea that we could get off the train and pop into Eze, completely forgetting that it is a 1hr bus trip up the mountain. However, once we got off the train, the next one was only due in 40 mins and so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunshine and walk from Eze to Monaco- 9kms along the gorgeous winding Cote D’Azur. The aquamarine seas next to us tantalizing our eyes every step of the way. By the time we got to Monaco, we were hungry and tired and Bryce had already eaten his portion of bag kept boiled eggs for the day, so we grabbed some food before missioning on to the Port.
The day was so well spent, with some of mine and Bryce’s friend playing such great hosts to us. We had drinks at the bars next to the Port and were lucky enough to get a tour around the interior of one of the boats. We were actually even treated to a “crew mess” dinner. Monaco has an air of grace to it. Without trying to hard, it just puts itself on the map as one of the most prestigious cities I have visited. It’s strange because if you actually look at it in segments, it can appear a little run down, but somehow, all those parts work together to form a rather glamorous whole. The people who walk the streets are impeccable. Most of the cars that drive around are ones you only see in Hollywood films. I am sure the dogs even get more grooming than I do.
The Monaco Boat Show was being set up and you could slowly start to the see the magnificence of the event taking form. We are really hoping to get there and hopefully if all goes according to plan we will be.
As we drove away from Monaco in a fancy cab (a lovely treat to us from both of our friends) we were grinning ear to ear, another fabulous day so well spent in the South Of France. And it was only Day 2.