5 Jun 2012

Côte d'Azur: Day 11 & 12

Èze and way back home

A colleague of mine had warmly recommended visiting Èze, a tiny medieval village in the mountains only to be reached by car (which we didn't have) or on foot (Nietsche's path, he supposedly got his idea for Also Sprach Zarathustra whilst walking here), through the mountains. I (thankfully) had taken my cane along but the hike was much heavier than anticipated mainly due to the very rocky path and the hot weather. We took nearly 2 hours to reach our destination and met many people who were equally close to giving up. Don't get me wrong, the hike is worth it, the scenery is just stunning but why is it so frigging dangerous to walk there? In some parts you have to push the plants aside.

We started our hike at 11am and arrived around 1pm, totally exhausted and very thirsty. When you arrive in the village via this path you cross the local Fragonard factory and then arrive at the exit of the fancy restaurant Le Chèvre d'Or. The moment we arrived, we noticed something was up! There was security, police and gendarmes everywhere around the exit. We were too thirsty to pay too much attention and just headed for the first bar. :-) I swear, a coca cola never tasted better!
After regaining our forces, we explored the village. It's indeed a needle pin big but really worth a visit. Every corner, stone and path is worth photographic evidence. Truly stunning. There are small shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafés, and many many tourists.The streets are tiny and narrow.
After our visit, it started to rain a bit and we had a tasty pancake with chocolate and banana at the same place where we had our drinkies when we arrived when all of a sudden a pack of bodyguards passed us by ... escorting... Bill Clinton. I remember looking at Bill whilst chewing on my pancake, looking at my boyfriend and both of us looking back at the posse passing us by. This is by far the single most absurd moment in my life. In Èze, eating a pancake, seeing Bill Clinton at 50 cm away from me. Some American tourists when crazy and just hopped after him. We just finished our pancakes. :-)
For some reason, Clinton had lunch at le Chèvre d'Or at exactly the same time we visited the place.

this was a 'good' part of the path :-s


main entrance of the village 

Once the rain had stopped more or less, we started our descent, and I can tell you that my leg hurt for over a week afterwards. Climbing was tough but descending on these rocks with a cane and one foot in braces was probably a very stupid thing to do.
Since there was a strike of the TER, we only had one train in 2 hours so we had to catch this one, and very narrowly did. (btw, the 'good' thing with trainstrikes in this area is that they let people know the evening before which trains will ride! huge difference with Belgium where they just strike at will)
Once back in Menton, we went off and had a huge sangria to shake off our fatigue.

In the evening, after a very well deserved shower, we went for our final dinner to Trattoria la Mamma where I had mussels in a spicy sauce followed by their delicious tiramisu (oh lord). When the owner saw us, he immediately treated us on prosecco before dinner and limoncello afterwards.
Which reminds me! We tasted wine with lemon (the most popular fruit in Menton...it grows everywhere!) while we were staying there and it was actually not bad at all!

After dinner, it was back to the hotel to get our suitcases ready (mine nearly burst its zipper).

The day afterwards we took the 9am train to Nice, which was thankfully not as packed as the one the day before. The Grand Prix in Monaco had started and cause a true frenzy there!
In Nice we had a coffee and then got on the TGV but even before we reached Marseille, tragedy struck...somebody had killed himself by jumping in front of a train in Cassis and so all train traffic was on hold. for over 2 hours. Which meant that after the longest train ride in history we arrived home not at  9pm but at 11.45pm. Next time: a plane!

And so that was the end of a perfect trip to a wonderful part of Europe.