Below is the continuation of my Europe trip blog. If you don’t start at the beginning, they don’t make much sense! Thanks for reading 🙂


The day started quite early with another crazy bus call… Ally and I only got one bite of a croissant this time and it was on the bus again! The drive was much like the others… mostly people sleeping with one funny thing happening here and there… and then “Fritz” started waking us up for our bathroom breaks. Fritz was a little plushy thing that when squeezed sang an annoying wake-up tune, and to make him even more annoying Jelle would put him up to the bus microphone. Many people plotted to steal and burn Fritz, but he survived until the end of our journey miraculously.

French Aqueducts

For lunch we stopped in the medieval fortified village of Sisteron. Beautiful town, but the food and bathrooms were the worst of anywhere else we stopped. The bathrooms were quite an experience… they were “self-cleaning” and looked like giant sub-zero refrigerators. When you walked in the toilet seat lowered for you and the room was dripping wet having obviously just been sprayed down like it was the inside of a car wash… it was a dimly lit cramped space and the door automatically locked behind you. To exit this terrifying place you had to simultaneously push a red button and open the heavy door at the same time, which there was no instructions for… so you felt like a caged lab rat trying to figure out how to escape.

Sisteron, France

After the terrifying experience with the restrooms we went across the street to grab a bite to eat. I had a “steak” sandwich which was actually two hamburger buns on a sub roll with some lettuce and cheese thrown on. It tasted like cardboard. We got to enjoy this meal with our wonderful Brazillian/American friends, Mel and Becky.

After lunch we climbed to the top of the chateaux on the hill, and got a lovely view of the rest of the town. Ally was quite perturbed with me insisting we climb to the top… but I know secretly she’s glad we did everything I forced her to do against her will 🙂


It was back on the bus for 3 hours until we rolled into the famous seaside town of Cannes, home of the Cannes film festival. We got out at a beautiful marina, chock full of million euro yachts and sailboats.

Cannes Marina

Vespa in Cannes

We walked a little ways down the street to the building the festival is held in and then had some delicious Haagen-Dazs while returning to the bus. One of the nicest French people we met was the cute Haagen-Dazs employee that made our ice cream.


Cannes Film Festival Sculpture

After our stop we drove along part of the Cote d’Azur in Cannes which is the only shoreline with sand and not pebbles… but it’s not natural. They import the sand in each year. To my relief we only spotted a couple scantly clad sunbathers our entire drive.

Where's Waldo?


Upon arrival in Nice we drove along the Cote d’Azur yet again and I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to California and Florida. If you ignored the soaring mountains to the north and focused solely on the road and the beach, it felt like being back in the states. We even passed a McDonalds or two. In Nice we had a nice little family owned hotel with big old fashioned keys. The bathroom had a bidet, which the hotel maid so kindly set my toiletries in…ha… The one thing I can say about the room that I loved was we had a balcony. I have a thing for balconies.

After our arrival we went out and ate dinner right across the street from the beach at a restaurant that looked really nice; but again, the meat wasn’t very tasty. We had some kind of mashed corn puree however that was quite yummy, and then a good Crème brûlée!


After dinner Ally and I went out with our new Aussie friends Rob, Chanel and Craig. First we stopped at a casino for the fun of it… but we were really just trying to find a bar and they didn’t have a good one, so we checked the second floor and there was a professional billiards tournament going on. We walked in the room and watched it for a bit but had to leave because we were afraid we’d be kicked out from laughing and being too loud because the room was completely silent. We proceeded to another casino where Ally, Craig and I all violated dress code in some way so they wouldn’t let us in. It was funny hearing the french person trying to explain in english to Ally why her “basketball shoes” were against dress code…

After that we gave up on casinos and just sat down at an outdoor bar. I ordered a Pina Colada that totally sucked and Craig and Rob ordered a scottish beer that tasted amazing. Ally ordered a drink that was bright blue and tasted like pure citron vodka and nothing else. Chanel took a sip of it and choked. The evening was full of fun and talk of the differences between Australia and the States… always a fun topic between people of different nationalities.

The next morning we were allowed to sleep in but we only slept until about 9:30 because we wanted to go for a quick dip in the Mediterranean sea… we found Craig and all walked there together from the hotel. I honestly don’t have much praise for the beach other than that the water is extremely clear and clean looking. The beach is covered in little pebbles that hurt your feet a lot, so I didn’t even take off my sandals when I walked into the water it hurt so bad. I was originally just going to go in up to my waist but got brave and swam out a few meters to where I couldn’t stand and longer… which wasn’t very far out at all. The water was FREEZING and quite salty. It was an incredible experience to swim in the Mediterranean Sea, but the beach where I grew up is “heaps” better, as the Australians would say.

After we got out we had to rush back to the hotel to prepare to go on one of our included excursions to the hilltop village of St. Paul de Vence. The drive there was spectacular and we stopped a few places to take pictures of the village from afar. If your an art freak like me you know that the village is what inspired many famous painters and poets through the years, and Marc Chagall actually lived there along with a handful of poets and actors. It’s easy to see why before you’re even inside the village… the entire area is breathtaking and you’ve got this picture perfect village just perched right atop this little hill.

St. Paul de Vence

You enter St. Paul de Vence through and archway in a wall… very castle like… and once you’re inside the streets aren’t even wide enough for small cars. All are footpaths except one outer perimeter road. You climb up at a slight incline through sprawling little cobblestone streets, where even the cobblestone is ornate and patterned. Little pet dogs roam the streets, and every once and a while you catch a glimpse down a side street of the view off the side of the hill, usually with laundry on clotheslines and vines with beautiful pink flowers slightly obstructing the view.



At the other end of the village, at the very top of the hill, sits an observation area where you can overlook the valley below, overflowing with mansions and beautiful villas.

St. Paul de Vence

Jelle encouraged us to take a different path down then we took up, so we did and stumbled across an American diner, and being typical American tourists in a foreign country we ate there. Jelle told us we were in trouble if we ate McDonalds… he never said anything about ALL American food. So we ordered hot dogs and “chips” and admired the decor of the place… it was covered head-to-toe in portraits and memorabilia of Superman, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.

XXL Burger...

After lunch we returned to the hotel, and having not much else to do we went out with our Aussie friends in search of free internet, which we knew we could find at Mackers (McDonalds in Aussie speak) which of course we were forbidden by Jelle to be in. But we HAD to have internet… so we took the chance. The McDonalds we found was right across the street from the beach, so while not a completely shocking and improbable, it was still quite a surprise that Jelle actually found us not even 15 minutes after we sat down. Typing away on facebook I hear Chanel say “oh my God!” and we look up to see Jelle knocking on the window looking in at us from the sidewalk shaking his head.

Jelle came in and asked what we were doing in McDonalds and we explained how innocent we were because we hadn’t even ordered any food, which we hadn’t. He said he was on the way to the beach to swim and left. Ally and I being our internet addicted selves stayed after our Aussie clan left, and we were there until Jelle was done at the beach and he came back and scared us in the window, shaking his head at us still being there.

We walked back to the hotel and headed out on our nighttime excursion to the Three Corniches road and dinner atop a mountain. The days are extremely long in Europe and the sun doesn’t even set until around 10, so we packed so much into each day it was INSANE. Every day actually felt like two or three days. The three Corniches road was one of my favorite things that we did. We stopped on the side of the road at a place that easily ranks in the top 5 most beautiful places I’ve ever beheld in my life… a perfect vista perched high up on the mountainside, the view of the French Riviera below with sailboats and cruise ships in the harbor and mansions dotting the coast and mountainside… the place is saturated with wealth and beauty and we were seeing it in perfect weather right at sunset.

My house

We ate at a place perched high atop the mountain off the Grand Corniche, the highest of the three roads. The view while eating dinner was magnificent, and dinner was pretty good… the potatoes and vegetables were amazing. We had authentic grappa included at the end which was quite the cultural experience, haha… slept well that night!

Sunset in Nice, France