Vacation within a Vacation

We are spending this week lounging on the beaches in the South of France. It is a fantastic change of pace. I love hiking, but reading on the beach and floating weightlessly in the water is great recovery. I lived on the Pacific coast for eleven years, and while I loved seeing the ocean regularly, here I love being in the ocean. Also, no seaweed or bugs on these beaches.

This is the perfect area for bicycling: flat and separated from cars. We rode from Nice to the walled, ancient city of Antibes that was founded in turns by Etruscans, Greeks and Romans–they all recognized paradise. The unobstructed views of the tri-colored water were a pleasant distraction as we rode against the wind.

French law requires all bikes to have a bell, and I rang mine for most of the journey. It crossed the language barrier efficiently when it told people to get out of the way. Santa Barbara had the same distracted tourists wandering into bike traffic or standing in the middle of the road to take a picture.

Cycling was also a nice break from walking. It felt amazing to ride swiftly, take in the views and cross a town in a matter of minutes. All while sitting! I can only imagine how much fun it will be to get back on a motorcycle.

Just east of Nice is Monaco. Famed for the Grand Prix and the Casino of Monte Carlo, it is also home of billionaires and their yachts. We played the game “Cruise Ship or yacht?” as we explored the harbor and coastline. Aaron spotted a yacht valued at 150 million dollars. We enjoyed the buildings in the Art Deco style as we walked a portion of the Grand Prix race course, and admired the fancy cars and motorcycles cruising the town.

In an effort to avoid radiation burns from the midday sun, we try to spend 11-2 in the shade or indoors. This forces us to slow our travel pace and puts us on the lookout for garden or beachside benches where we can lunch and read in peace for a few hours. I have read 15 books on this trip so far.

I think we will come back some day.

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