Catch the Nice Train
Good train ride (finally!) to Nice. The Nice railroad station is a juxtaposition of classic and modern elements, high arched trusses and polished stainless steel walls. The train passed through an exceptionally beautiful bay at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat which is between Monaco and Nice.
I wanted to store my luggage for the day to go sightseeing but alas, no storage facility in the station. I was directed to to Hotel de Berne, a 5 minute walk from the station. It costs 6 euros per piece of luggage for all day and they are open 24 hours. What a liberation, not pulling and hefting bags for a few hours!
I decided to walk to the Villa Ephrussi Gardens which has a large variety of different garden styles including Spanish, formal French, Japanese, herb, rose and other varieties. There were many exceptional lookout points for amazing views. I and am celebrating colors today, awesome flowers all around including bouganvilla, dark blue morning glory, wisteria and especially Jacaranda trees with their gorgeous purple flowers. I miss these from my earlier San Diego days.
Coming back into town for lunch, I found a small health food place and had a really good salad. They also hand roll a type of dessert cone (“chimney cakes”). I tried the Coco Mango which is served propped up in a small square wooden box. Each cone is made fresh when ordered. The chef rolls out a “rope” of dough, coils it around a cone-shaped rotisserie skewer, rolls the coiled dough around on a counter to flatten the coil, rolls the flattened dough in finely shredded coconut and, once the cone is baked, fills it with a mixture of frozen Mango chunks and whipped cream. It is very messy to eat, even with a spoon, and really fun to eat as finger food when I pull off a chunk of the chimney. I really enjoyed this novelty.
It’s a good thing I had this wonderful lunch. The train to Avignon took an hour longer to arrive due in good part to sheep on the tracks. Yes, the trains here will brake for animals! The only room I could book for the night is a 2-star hotel somewhat close to the train station. I partially walked and then serendipitously caught a bus which brought me within 5 minutes of the hotel. I am extremely grateful to google maps for being able to start walking in the right direction. After 10 minutes of walking I came across a bus stop and the driver let me jump on for the 5 minute ride as close to the hotel as possible. He was so gracious. The hotel staff were very nice but the room was unacceptable once I noticed a cockroach in the bathroom. They switched my room for the night and that was OK. I definitely need better accommodation to feel inspired after the last two days.