Nice, France | Part Deux

It occurred to me recently that I have not written here in such a long time! I have a new website venture (www.thesleepypineapple.com) where I am focusing more on food and fitness. Travel is my first love though and this blog was such a big part of my life for so long! There are many more places and sites I have yet to tell you about too! It was sad for me for awhile there, my life in Toronto became a bit stale when I first returned from my whirlwind trip. Talking about my adventures made me sad and I became a bit depressed again. The good news is I persevered! I am now teaching Pilates and working at the studio full time! I began school for Holistic Nutrition and I am doing very well over all. I still give myself too much to do and I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs and new endeavours, but I am happy. I continue to dream big and I am working towards those dreams everyday!

Last fall I got to return to the place where it all began, Nice, France. I was lucky enough to bring my boyfriend this time and show him around. He thought it was picturesque and stunning. If they didn’t speak French, I could probably get him to move there with me! I showed him the Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena, the Chateau de Nice and the old town Vieille Ville.IMG_1752IMG_0190IMG_1635We stayed in a six floor walk up, we found on Air Bnb, that had the sweetest little balcony that looked out on the city. I would 100% stay there again, even with all the stairs! I was blocks from the beach and the lively tourist section of the city, which wasn’t as busy due to us arriving in early September.

We did lose our luggage on the way there, as we flew via Frankfurt from Dublin and there was a bomb scare that very morning. Thanks to a mix up we also lost two days waiting for the luggage to arrive and had to go to the airport to pick it up in the end, 3 days after we arrived. While I do hate we couldn’t even go swimming because we were waiting for luggage and I missed out on seeing some of my old haunts from when I was there in 2013, I still loved every second of being there! I’m also incredibly thankful for my travellers insurance!

Luggage aside, we did get to the beach multiple days and I swam my little heart out! We also took a day trip to Monaco and Eze! If you look at past posts, Eze is magical and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. Lovely little shops and cafes, stunning views and adorable surroundings. We sat on a patio over looking the sea and had some drinks. We wandered through the small pathways and up to the church, where I lit a candle for my father (as I do in all churches). We even hiked down to Eze sur la Mer, which was MUCH longer than I remembered and definitely much hotter as well!

In Monaco, I changed my mind at the last minute and we went to the old town first and then to Monte Carlo. That was a mistake! Because, we by the time we made it to Monte Carlo, it was passed 1pm and my boyfriend couldn’t get in with his flip flops. I think I was more disappointed for him, then he was about not getting to go in. We did sit in front at a cafe and had some Monaco brand beer, which was quite good though. Afterward we made our way into the smaller casino next door and lost some money, all in good fun of course! There was a lot of construction though and I will admit, it did ruin the ambiance of the area quite a bit. It didn’t have that same luxurious quality and the designer sports cars were lacking in numbers. It was still a fun excursion and a great day!

We did buy some groceries and had a full kitchen but surprisingly we ate out quite a bit more than we expected. There is no shortage of foods to try and while we tried to eat cheaply at breakfast and lunch, dinner out and drinks seemed to be standard practice. It is just such a lively and fun vibe at night, the city comes to life! It’s hard to explain but we loved wandering the streets and stopping to have a drink at an outdoor table, people watching and talking. It was my favourite part of the trip.

I hope to return again soon, it seems to be every three years right now, just by coincidence! I do hope to make it back sooner the time. Of course, I want to see many new places as well, but Nice will always have my heart!

September 2016

 

 

Santorini #selfie

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It’s hard to believe I have yet to post anything about Santorini, Greece! While stunningly beautiful, I actually had a rather unpleasant experience with my hotel owner. It was the end of the season and in (what I saw) as a last attempt to make extra money, I was taken advantage of and overcharged. It put a bad taste in my mouth but it did not define the whole of Santorini. I ended up meeting a lovely couple from London who took me under their wing and a very sweet taxi driver. Over all I ended up having a lovely time. What made Santorini a must visit for me was when I heard they had a black sand beach! I stayed in Perivolos which is on the south-east side of the island. Santorini actually has red sand and white sand beaches as well; the differences are due to volcanic eruptions. The black sand was absolutely spectacular to see in person. Like always I spent as much time as possible on the beach and since it was nearly off season, the beach was almost empty. It was on this beach that I took this self portrait. This is probably my favourite picture of myself, ever. To me it has a sort of haunting quality and if you look closely I look happy, but from a far it’s questionable. I love the composition of this photo as well, the placement of my hand in the foreground and the blurred effect. This blog is just as much about photography as it is about travel and I really loved this shot.

September 22-24, 2013

Photography

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As much as this blog is about travelling, it’s also about the pictures I’ve taken along the way. On the topic of last weeks post about school; I signed up for a French course and a photography course, both of which start in September. I’m really excited to learn more and expand creatively. With that in mind, I took a couple of shots this past week that I really liked and decided to share them here. Hopefully you enjoy them as well.

August 26, 2014

En Francais S’il Vous Plait!

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Currently I am studying to become a Pilates teacher and I’ve been in class for the past two weeks. Therefore, I have decided to reminisce about my time at school in France. In my head I couldn’t justify a trip like mine without learning something in the process; for me, that meant studying French. I already had some background but wanted to learn how to converse more confidently. After much research, I decided on EF Language School which has campuses worldwide. Their Nice campus was a no brainer for me because of my love for the city and the beach. The last time I was in school was in 2009, so understandably I was nervous going back to a school in a foreign country. Luckily I made friends at the residency on the first day and we pulled together for the first little bit. During the summer months, EF uses the University of Nice’s dorms for it’s students. I never lived in dorms before and enjoyed having my own room for that time. My new friends were both at different levels of French understanding and so we were split up in class. The great thing is most people didn’t know anyone else either and we all warmed up to each other fairly easily. The actual classes were quite long days overall and we could only speak French. Some days it was too intense on my brain and other days it was manageable. I surprised myself with what I could remember from my schooling back in the day. Quickly, I started to think in French and I got fairly comfortable with speaking. Making friends with local shop owners helped too. The Nicoise people are so welcoming and upon learning I was in school, they would encourage me to speak to them. Nice feels like home to me now and I miss it a great deal. EF Language School was a wonderful learning experience and I met a lot of amazing people. I’ll be continuing my studies of French this fall at night school. Above I’ve included a neat shot of the Promenade des Anglais from the lookout at dusk. After the heat of the day has subsided, all the street performers come out to play and the energy becomes electric. The promenade is a buzz into the wee hours of the morning, as is most of the area around the old town. EF’s unofficial bar is called Sansas and it’s just off Place Massena, which is the stunningly beautiful main square. They host a variety of events for the students there, including quiz night and salsa dancing. Being immersed in a language from all directions made all the difference for me. My time in Nice and at EF was invaluable and a memory I will cherish always.

July 1, 2013- August 10, 2013

Stalis, Crete

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As I have mentioned countless times in my posts, by the end of my trip I was not feeling the best physically. Crete came after Athens and Santorini, both of which took the last ounces of energy I had left; therefore, Crete became a place of rest for me. This photo is from my beach front hotel, which while not nearly as glamorous as it appears here, was very comfortable and clean. The view was by far my favourite part about my stay; I mean just look at it! My time on the island was spent in those beach chairs below. Safely planted in the first row by the water, I ordered a lot of drinks and food and sunbathed until my hearts content. In my spare time, I ventured along the single street my hotel was situated to do some shopping or dine out. No, I didn’t see much of what Crete has to offer, but I had a blissful experience to say the least. I will say this though, Greece had some of the best food I ate on my entire trip! Luckily, on my arrival I befriended a nice taxi driver who gave me a discount to my hotel (saving me because I had no more cash on me and couldn’t find the bus station). He gave me his number and I called him to take me to the airport when I left. Another person I met was Bruno, my server on the beach. He was such a nice man and took especially good care of me; even saving my chair for me on both my second and third day. Being in the service industry myself, I sincerely appreciate it when someone goes a little above. Thank you to those two men, you made my time in Crete that much better.

September 24-27, 2013

Wasaga Beach, Canada

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This week, I had a couple days off and ran away to my favourite place, Wasaga Beach. I’m sure your scratching your head with that statement given my extensive beach repertoire. It’s my favourite because it’s one of the few places I feel close to my dad. It’s funny how certain places, smells or sounds can bring up so much emotion. It will be three years next week since we lost him and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him terribly. Wasaga Beach is nostalgic for me because as a teenager we came up each year to the cottage in Tiny Township. My step-sisters and I would get dropped off on the main beach and hang out all day, parent free. The beaches were too rocky for our liking in Tiny, but our parents enjoyed the quiet. So many of my memories from that time revolve around these shores; from getting ice cream after dinner, to going to the drive in, to taking the boat out fishing or visiting my godfather and his family. When I’m here the memories come flooding back around every corner. My friends and I also used a local campground for some post high school partying, including prom night. It’s one of those places that never seems to change either. Shops have closed and the strip is showing it’s wear; but it’s still very much the same as it was a decade ago. The biggest change is the the shopping area of the main beach that was lost to the fire a few years back; it’s noticeably empty and feels unfinished. When I visit I like to lay out closer to the beach 2 boarder, where it’s less crowded and noisy. Usually, I only get to come up for day trips but this year I got to stay for two nights. The Luau Resort is near beach 2 and is very clean, cozy and well maintained. The heated pool is a nice bonus and the view of the river is a pretty backdrop. This is the most peaceful and happy I’ve felt since I came back from Europe. My favourite feeling is that of being sandy, sun kissed and smelling of campfire.
This is definitely my happy place!

July 23-25, 2014

St. Tropez, France

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This first picture is the epitome of beach life. I love the contrast of the sea and sky against the soft white sand and the way the colourful umbrellas add that pop of colour. St. Tropez is more than just beaches though; it has the most adorable little town filled to the brim with every designer store your heart could desire. Made famous by Brigitte Bardot, St. Tropez is located on the French Riviera between Toulon and Nice. Without a car, getting to St. Tropez can be difficult. I opted for a day trip with my school, which included a boat tour, free time in the old town and a trip to the famous Nikki beach. Since I find cemeteries quite peaceful and beautiful, I made a beeline there first. Most of the other students headed to the top of the park, which has stunning views of the town. After that, I went in search of the elusive Tarte Tropezienne. Found at a restaurant/bakery by the same name; it is a custard filled sugar bread concoction, that is to die for! While waiting to board the bus to the beach, I took a walk around the port to digest and to take in the fancy yachts that line the docks. The beach is like a secret hideaway, located at the end of a long road. Sea front bars and lounge chairs line most of the beach but free space is available. Anchored boats line the horizon, floating in the shallow waters. Nice, France, where I was staying, has large rocks that make up its shores; the soft sand was a reprieve and I took every opportunity to wiggle my toes in it. We were only there about an hour and I enjoyed every second. You don’t need a lot of money to enjoy places like this, just know when to splurge and when to cut back. I will say though, I wouldn’t object to laying out on one of those yachts!

August 3, 2013

Marbella, Spain

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Since I live in Canada and it’s -10C on March 26th, I’ve been feeling really nostalgic about the warm places I’ve visited on my trip. One such place was Marbella, Spain. I had chosen it because of a tour to Tangier, Morocco you can take from there. As I’ve said before, I had originally planned to do a lot more of Spain and for longer but time constraints made that impossible. Sadly, I ended up with only two half days to actually enjoy Marbella and that was ridiculously short. I was lucky the first day I arrived was beautiful and I got to lie out on the beach until sunset. The boardwalk is lovely to stroll and the view of the water is picturesque. People build elaborate sand art (like a fire breathing dragon!) in the sand below the boardwalk and you can see them as you walk along. The old town is so adorable and very much what I expected, maybe even cuter; it’s aglow in the night with the lights on the white buildings and stone streets. I’d love the chance to return and see more of Marbella and southern Spain. Next time, I’d like to take a tour to Marrakech also. Let’s just say, I’m working on it.

September 5-7, 2013

Monterosso, Italy

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It was my second time in Cinque-Terre but the first time I got to stay overnight. It’s really no wonder it’s such a popular tourist destination, from the hiking, to the scenery, to the idealistic little villages; it’s colourful in both its energy and ambiance. I stayed in Monterosso, which is the last of the five villages that makes up Cinque-Terre. Monterosso is the epitome of a beach town and I felt like I was almost camping in my little single room at the hostel (which I loved). I had such an amazing time here that one post would never be able to fully express that. The other day I found a little blip I had written in my phone while there. I was sitting at a sea front bar, drinking an Aperol Spritz and looking out at the lights of the neighbouring villages. I thought for this post, I’d share that note and some photos from that moment.

June 29, 2013
I’m sitting here at a seaside bar in Cinque-Terre, Monterosso to be exact. Glittering in the distance is Varnezza! Sparse twinkling lights, shimmering up the cliff side, but at dusk they almost look as though someone has put Christmas lights on the hills. Monterosso is buzzing with locals and tourists alike. It is high season and the feeling of summer in is the air. The feeling of long nights and even longer days; of sand and salt mixed into every inch of your body and no desire for it to be any other way. A boat sails into the harbour, a momentary distraction but gone as quickly as spotted. Boating is second nature to those here. The sea is a part of life; of everyone and everything, as it is with most coastal towns. It is with blurry eyes I try to stay awake, I’m exhausted from the day but I do not want it to end. At the sea is where I feel most at peace. And although another vision of the sea awaits me, I have enjoyed my time here so… Maybe that is all Cinque-Terre is ever meant to be for me; a fleeting moment of utter happiness, destined to be repeated but not revelled in for long. How else could you truly understand the immenseness of being complete? Even if only for a day.

June 28-30, 2013

Malta

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I’m still at a loss why more people aren’t aware or intrigued by this beautiful little island. Every time I mentioned it as a destination on my trip, people wondered why and some even asked where it was. So for those who don’t know; Malta is a tiny island off the coast of Sicily and is made up of 3 islands including Gozo and Comino. It has an amazing history (I’ll touch on that at another post) filled with pre historic temples, knights, war and is definitely worth learning more about. I can’t even remember when I first learn about Malta, that’s how long I’ve wanted to visit. Unfortunately, I became really sick the night before my flight. I was in Madrid and had been feeling a little off since Barcelona, but then I woke in the middle of the night with full body aches and chills. I made it to Malta the next day and basically showered and went to bed. Not wanting to waste my stay, I ventured (sick and all) to the beach the next day. I stayed at a great little hostel near St. Julian’s but the beach of Ghajn Tuffieha was apparently a must see. I ended up on the bay beside it because it’s a little confusing unless you ask, but Golden Bay is lovely too. I bought some snacks and lots of water and I laid on that beach all day long, cooling off in the water when needed. I slept a bit, I read a bit and I relaxed. After a lot of go-go-go, I definitely needed it. I can’t even properly describe the peace I felt there, surrounded by the cliffs of the bay, the sun overhead and the beautiful water. The scenery is rustic and worn, making it feel more like a far away land. However, there is charm that’s indescribable. The beach front restaurant made a great environment for a satisfying dinner and the next day, I did the exact same thing. From the hostel it was a short walk to a bus that took me directly to the beach, so over all it wasn’t a lot of effort. Half way through my week in Malta, a friend from back home came to visit. I knew I had to be in better shape for her arrival, which is why I chose to do nothing for the first few days. The owner of the hostel was amazing too, she answered all my questions (which were a lot) and even let me hang out during the day while I waited for my friend (kind of rare in the hostel world). The next few days were much more eventful, which just goes to show you; Malta has something for everyone. I can’t begin to mention everything there was to see and do, during this one post; so I’ll leave that for another time.

September 14-20, 2013