Tag Archives: nice

Seborga to Chamonix

We departed Seborga at about 8:00 AM and I dropped off Lobo and Alcalde at the Terminal 1 Kiss & Fly of the Nice airport. There was no kissing, but they were able to fly anyway. Apparently the airport is flexible about these matters.

It took me awhile to get back on the A8, due to the strange and occasionally impossible guidance of the car’s navigational system. I was halfway up the mountain behind Nice before I finally got suspicious. I eventually made it out of the city through the selective veto process that had worked fairly well with Lobo’s GPS.

I managed to find my way back to the Starbucks in Monaco and got a Ristretto Bianco and wrote a post card to my mom. It already had Seborga and Italy stamps on it, but now I was in Monaco, so if I wanted to mail it, I needed a Monaco stamp. I started wandering around Fontvieille (in the opposite direction than we had gone before) and came across the Monaco stamp museum, which sold me a stamp and mailed the card for me.

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I walked around a little, then took off for Chamonix.

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I stopped for gas just outside of Monaco — 77.76 to fill the tank! Pulling out of the gas station, I nearly t-boned a Rolls-Royce. I wonder how understanding they’d be getting hit by an American in a rental car with Swiss plates. Probably not very.

But I made it back to the Grand Corniche and the nav system guided me through Italy for 4+ hours without incident, except for occasionally beeping to tell me that I needed a break. Like I’m going to take orders from a car. I did take one break to get a doppio macchiato and use the restroom at an Italian rest stop, but otherwise I ignored the break notices. Stupid car.

  • Final toll for crossing Italy: 50.10
  • Toll for driving through the 11.6km Tunnel du Mont-Blanc: 44.20.

The nav system became hopelessly confused once I got into Chamonix, and Google Maps wasn’t any better. The car has a British accent and Google Maps has an American accent, but neither one can pronounce French, and some of the streets they guided me to do not seem to exist. I finally gave up and parked, then walked around looking for the hotel. It took me about two minutes to find it that way.

Hôtel Le Chamonix is across from this church.

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The hotel is a creaky old wooden building that has just what I need and nothing more. My room is on the second (i.e., third) floor, but to go up the stairs I have to step over this dog.

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I spent a couple hours wandering around the village (which is bigger than I was expecting), had pizza provençale sans anchois for dinner, located the t-shirt place recommended by Lobo, and returned to encapsulate the day in this blog post.

Côte d’Azur Ramble

We decided to get an early start, and were on the road to Cannes by the crack of 9:00. Lobo failed to find the Cannes Starbucks mug he wanted, due to the fact that they had never existed, and then we wandered around for a half hour or so before finding a cafe/boulangerie to procure croissants and espressoses.

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This was across from a farmer’s market, where Alcalde treated us to fried zucchini flowers, which are a real thing that I’m not making up. He also bought some peppered goat cheese.

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That was the high point of Cannes. Then we drove to Nice. We saw some Brazilian guys with musical instruments discussing something with the local police. They appeared to come to some understanding and walked down the street, occasionally glancing back. When the police were no longer in sight, two of them started playing their instruments. The other two were apparently capoeiristas, and did flips and martial arts moves whenever there was a break in the crowd.

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We walked around and looked at things for a while, then looped around and ate lunch right next to where the capoeira dudes were, but they were gone. We can only hope that they stayed ahead of the gendarmerie.

We had some very good pizza, and we learned that when you say sans anchois, you pronounce the final s in sans, because you gotta do the elision before a vowel.

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Continuing down whatever corniche we were on, we discovered that the GPS that was built into the car was in fact not that hard to turn on after all, thanks to Alcalde’s quick-thinking techno-wizardry. So now we had three navigational systems to choose from. Lobo started to set the car’s GPS, then switched to the radio and immediately found the Village People. Then we started singing pop songs in Inspector Clouseau voice and things sort of went downhill from there, made worse by the goat cheese, which was becoming more aromatic by the minute.

But we made it to Monaco anyway, and eventually found parking and wandered around in an area that wasn’t really the area I was thinking of. Alcalde and I had a little trouble with a recalcitrant escalator, but we eventually outsmarted it. I bought some Gérard de Villiers novels that I can’t actually read, and we headed back to Seborga, windows open in a futile attempt to air out the car.

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Then we picked up some groceries at the market in Seborga and went back and watched Bride of the Monster and Night of the Ghouls. A day well spent.

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See also: Cannes and Seborga Day 5: Cannes, Nice, and Monaco (Again).

Meandering to Nice

Lobo showed surprising maturity by not waking me up by blowing the bugle. I slept for over eleven hours, so it must have been a struggle for him. He did it right away after I got up.

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We had to pick up Alcalde at 2:40 PM, so we set off around 9:30, thinking that we could get some breakfast at an Italian bakery or something, and maybe stop at a supermarket to get some basics for later in the week. We drove through some Italian towns on the coast, getting lost repeatedly, partly due to the uselessness of Lobo’s GPS and partly due to our own ineptitude. At one point, Lobo saw a bakery and got out and ran in while I drove around the block and he got back with some breakfast. Only it wasn’t a bakery, it was a butcher shop, and it was sort of a quiche thing that was pretty good, but he only got one and there was only one fork. And we didn’t find a market. But other than that it was a success and we drove on to Nice.

Lobo’s ancient GPS continued to be useless, constantly recalibrating and sending us in weird directions, but we found a parking garage in spite of it, and from there wandered around downtown Nice and had lunch and strolled along the promenade.

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It was pleasant, but eventually we had to pick up Alcalde. We drove to the airport and went to terminal 2, which is where I had come in, so that made sense. After parking and walking in, we found that his plane had come into terminal 1. He had texted me to say that he was at the gate, so I asked him if he was at terminal 1, and he didn’t know. So we headed to terminal 1, which was not as simple as simply walking from one terminal to the next. No, we had to drive in circles and up ramps and Alcalde texted me to say that he was terminal 2. So we looped back around to go to terminal 2, even though the flight had come into terminal 1, so how did he get to terminal 2? Anyway, we went there and drove into something called “Kiss and Fly”, which was some sort of departure area and Lobo got out to look for him and then Alcalde sent another text: “Uh-oh. I think I’m at terminal 1.” Okay, so back to terminal 1 and the Kiss and Fly there, which was laid out differently, and this time Lobo was able to find him and drag him back to the car.

We stopped at a Starbucks so Lobo could get a Nice mug, then at a market in Ventimiglia (which Alcalde found with no trouble, using Google Maps) to get groceries. The market did not include bags, although you could buy them for a nominal fee. But Lobo was too cheap to buy one, and we had to carry everything out in our arms. And there was a lot of stuff to carry.

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But we made it back to Seborga and had some IPA (Italian Pale Ale) as the sun went down.

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See also: Saluti de Seborga, Nice, and Seborga Sunrise.

Arrival in Seborga

Onward to Seborga and points Europeward.

After fitful sleeping on the Delta/KLM flight to Amsterdam, I spent an hour having a leisurely lunch in the Amsterdam airport. There’s a huge mall in the center with a fairly good food court and I could charge my phone while I waited. Then I went to check the gate for my next flight and learned that it was the very farthest gate away from where I was. The walking time was listed as 24 minutes. I had 20 minutes before they began boarding. So I sort of scamper-walked and made it in almost exactly 20 minutes. Then I got on the plane and immediately fell asleep. The flight attendant had to wake me up to tell me to fasten my seat belt. At least I wasn’t drooling.

I landed in Nice and got through passport control in about five minutes, with no customs declarations needed at all. Really, is every country easier than the US? Anyway, I found the rental car desk with no trouble, and there was Lobo. He actually found the right place and got there on time without supervision.

We got the car and took a stupid selfie, which Lobo dubbed a stupie.

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We drove to Seborga and found the place with no difficulty, thanks to Lobo’s ancient and quirky GPS device, which I think was a cheaper one even back in whatever decade it came from. But it worked well enough and we got there and the place is spectacular. It’s situated on a hill above Seborga.

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The landlady, Sabina, speaks perfect English, and I’m pretty sure she was the same person that my mom and I talked to in the Seborga restaurant in December of 2000.

See also: Arrival in Seborga!, Final First Day in Seborga Update, and Seborga Sunrise.