…dropped by a woman with a bright green bag while we had lattes at an Italian cafe. Most unexpected in fact.
For our last day in Nice, we wandered around. The weather had become decidedly cooler and the sky was overcast which, basically, is good wandering weather.
Our first stop was through the flower market, which is much more than just flowers. In fact we bought a couple of small saucissons for a sort of mid morning snack before heading back into the rabbit warren that is Nice old town.
The idea was to visit the Palais Lascaris, a grand 17th century house once belonging to one of the knights of Malta. The walls of a couple of rooms are covered in family portraits. One of them, purporting to be a woman, looks remarkably like a man in another portrait dressed in rather unconvincing drag.
Most of the house is now home to a huge collection of musical instruments. There are some true oddities…like the piano harp. A piano harp is, basically, a harp on the back with a keyboard attached to the front. As you strike a key, a string is struck. The one we saw looked to be from the Renaissance. There is also a black woodwind instrument shaped like a serpent and called…a serpent. It was all very interesting though Mirinda thought it was a shame that none of them were played anymore.
In the bedroom, we learned about the odd little Greek story of Daphne and Apollo. Apollo was rather keen on Daphne, mainly because Cupid’s arrow had struck him. Cupid’s lead arrow struck Daphne. The lead arrows have the opposite effect and Daphne couldn’t stand Apollo. Appealing to her father (he was a river sprite), Daphne asked how she could stop Apollo’s attentions. Her father smiled and turned her into a laurel tree. That seems a bit extreme to me. Still, it made a very interesting ceiling painting.
From the house we found somewhere to eat lunch which I regretted for the rest of the day. I’ve been very good with the carb avoidance but today I just had to have a calzone. A much wiser Mirinda had stuffed vegetables which was much nicer/better. While she bounced around all day, I just grew steadily more and more tired.
Still, it didn’t stop us jumping aboard the tram for a trip around Nice. Well, not exactly ‘around.’ There’s only one tram line which goes from Henri Sappia to Hopital Pasteur but this covers almost 9 kilometres and gives a real taste of the outer suburbs of Nice as well as the city centre.
As anyone who’s read my blog for any length of time will know, I do love a tram. And the Nice tram is no different. Although modern and comfortable, they are still a great way to travel through the city. They are currently building a second line which will travel into the city from the airport. Now that will be great.
I am always pleasantly surprised by how many people use city trams when they are available. It just proves what a good idea they are.
Our trip eventually ended at the beginning of the shopping precinct named after the mayor of Nice from 1928-1943 and from 1947-1965, Jean Médecin. While his son Jacques who succeeded him, turned out to be a bit of a rotter during his term, the father, was, by all accounts, a good mayor.
The Avenue Jean Médecin starts at the Place Masséna where seven white figures sit atop high poles, watching over the pedestrians and the city. They represent the seven continents and highlight how cosmopolitan Nice is.
At the other end of the Place Masséna is an amazing fountain. In the centre is a shining white statue of Apollo and surrounding him are some of the planets represented as Greek myths. It’s amazing.
And it actually rained today. We had a very brief few spits earlier in the week but this was actual rain that made you wet. People even opened umbrellas. I figured the grey clouds and descent into wetness was because we were leaving and Southern France was saddened by the fact. Whatever the reason, the slight drop in temperature was certainly welcomed by me.
But it was soon time to head back to the hotel for our bags. But not before we sat on the Promenade des Anglais for one last time and tweeted #ILoveNice.
The taxi to the airport took an age because of the traffic and the building works for the new tram line. But we had plenty of time and eventually were sat waiting for our plane. The flight was very uneventful (as all flights should be) and we were soon on the ground at Heathrow looking along the line of hire car drivers with their names on bits of paper.
And Carole (or one of her drivers) wasn’t there. I rang her, expecting her to say she was just parking. The phone rang for ages, which it never does, and when she eventually answered I had the feeling I’d dragged her out of bed.
For some reason I couldn’t fathom she asked me what time and flight number we were arriving on tomorrow. I told her we had already landed tonight. She was in shock but said she’d be with us in about half an hour.
The reason she’d asked me was because she thought I was answering a text she’d sent me which I didn’t receive. It was just coincidence that I rang when I did.
Anyway, she eventually turned up and drove us home. She was incredibly apologetic but we told her it was fine (it was only half an hour after all) and not to beat herself up about it. In fact we all agreed to blame her mother.
So, home after midnight to an empty house after a very full holiday.