Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Our Mediterranean Adventure: Day Two Antibes & Nice

Dear Em,
Cannes, France is a tender port. That means that a smaller boat takes us from our large cruise ship to shore. The weather was gorgeous, & Daddy & I enjoyed feeling the sun on our faces while we traveled to shore. The Mediterranean Sea was a pretty blue-green color we don't get to see much of in New England. The shore was beautiful & hilly. There were huge yachts anchored everywhere.

We took a bus past Cannes, where lots of movie stars visit each year, to an adorable, old town called Antibes. It has old cobblestone streets & beautiful Panoramic views of the sea. Unfortunately, most of the water views were hidden when we were standing near the water. Many wealthy people dock their yachts at Antibes. Instead of sandy beaches, there were tons & tons of anchored boats.

Luckily, the town is on a large hill. We walked through the stone city gates & through the narrow alley ways. At the top of the town we found the beautiful views of the sea & the French coastline. It was so quiet & quaint, the sort of thing you would see on postcards or in iconic French paintings.

In the center of town there was a bustling market with tons of cheeses, vegetables, flowers, pastries, & other shopping. It was the most amazing farmers market I had ever seen. I was absolutely ready to go shopping, but Daddy was feeling a little shaky. He had felt fine on the cruise ship, but now that he was on land he felt like he was constantly rocking.

We stopped to sit down for our first authentic European meal: sandwiches with tomato, basil, & olives on a yummy baguette. The sandwiches were much larger than I expected. The bread & the ingredients were so fresh. Our lunch totally hit the spot. With some food & water in his system, Daddy felt a little better. We did a little shopping & ate macaroons we had picked up at the market for a sweet snack.

We got back into a bus & headed to Nice. I tried to keep my eyes open during the drive as our tour guide spoke, but I was struggling to stay awake. Once out in the fresh air, I felt a little more alert. We walked toward the center of the old town of Nice. On the way we passed an unbelievable playground. It was an underwater theme, & the kids were climbing on an octopus & swinging from a whale. It made my heart ache for you. While we knew you wouldn't have appreciated walking through old European cities & trying new foods the way Daddy & I were, that park was something you would have adored.

Daddy & I left the park area in search of our first European espresso. We found a restaurant that was right across the street from the "beach." We ordered espressos (I needed the caffeine, but we heard only tourists order cappuccino after noon & we didn't want to stand out as tourists anymore than we already did) & a sweet treat. Our espressos came out first in teeny-tiny mugs with teeny-tiny cookies. I'm not sure what I expected. I guess I had really only gotten shots of espresso put into other drinks, & I laughed a little over the preciousness of the European espresso. The teeny-tiny espresso in my little mug was extremely strong...which was kind of unfortunate for me since I don't particularly like the taste of coffee (I know, I'm such a tourist). Luckily, our banana & chocolate crepe came out next. It was heavenly!!!

A promenade for walkers & bikers & even skateboarders lines the beach in Nice. We headed across the promenade to the "beach" & put our feet in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. While the water was such an incredible light blue/green color, I think I prefer our RI beaches. There are no sandy beaches in Nice. Instead, the beach is lined with piles of rocks. It was so weird to see people laying on towels that were on top of rocks. How can that be comfortable? Maybe it's something you have to get used to, but it didn't seem at all relaxing to me. It actually hurt my feet as I climbed in & out of the water.

Nice was bigger than Antibes, lacking the quiet quaintness that I adored about Antibes. Still, it was a fun city. Daddy & I wandered around for a little while after that. We checked out shops & restaurants along the narrow alleyways. I danced to music playing in the center of town. Daddy worried about us making it back to our bus in time, & we ended up returning twenty minutes early. I was wide awake all during the ride back to Cannes (thanks espresso).

When we got back to our ship, we had a formal dinner (that's fancy for a dinner where you dress up), & then we called you. It was so good to hear the sound of your voice. You cracked me up with your French. You were so adorable with your bonjours & au reviors. You sounded just like the French people we spoke to! The happiness & excitement in your voice put us at ease. It's really hard to spend 12 days away from the person you love most, but it's a little easier when you know that she is happy & healthy & having fun too.

I hope you have a great day at school. We've been thinking of you everywhere we go. We love you to the moon & back. 

I love you so, 

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