Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Viva la Lance

Monaco is such a fabulous place. While we were only there for two nights, we saw Prince Albert, Princess Grace's son and current ruler of Monaco, the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong. We hadn't actually planned on seeing the Tour when we booked our trip. It was just a happy coincidence. And even though it was a roasting 90 degrees outside, it was very exciting getting to see all the hoopla surrounding the Tour de France. It was nice seeing one of Austin's celebrities up close, though he isn't one of my favorite. And later that night we hit the casinos. Nobody was the big winner, but it was fun all the same.

Yes we Cannes

After our lovely visit to Cassis, Cannes was an abrupt change. Not necessarily a bad change, just a significant change of pace. We arrived close to midnight, hungry and tired. So headed out to explore the neon and club-music filled theme bars. And, of course, we found an Irish pub as well. We were a little late for food it turns out. So we finally gave up and settled for some 10 euro drinks and Le Big Macs. Yes, we ate at McDonald's in France. We really had no choice.

The next day was 4th of July! We really explored Cannes's old town district which was full of beautiful old buildings, a fabulous food and flower market and spectacular views of the bay. We also had a lunch of traditional Provencal food in the oldest restaurant in Cannes. As you can see from the pictures we really enjoyed the food. After lunch, we headed to the beach. It was so nice to spend some time in the water and getting more sun. Worn out from our busy day of sightseeing and beach time, it was time to move on to Nice, Villefranche, and our evening destination Monaco.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hidden Gem in Cote d' Azur

Annette & I left the cool, breezy weather of Ireland behind for some much needed (for me at least) warmth & sunshine on the French Riviera. We discovered a fantastic gem on the coast just 20 minutes away from Marseilles by train. Cassis is a place I could return to again and again. There's not much to this town. However, you could spend a lifetime exploring Les Calanques by foot and by sea. And the town's old-world look is just as charming as the local people. Annette and I spent our first day getting a view of Les Calanques by sea. We took a boat tour to eight calanques and were completely inspired. So for the afternoon we decided to hike to the first three calanques. The guide book and tourist information office both said it was a hour and half walk to the third one. Well, we made it in that time frame to the second one, after a few wrong turns and cirles on the poorly marked trail. Once at the second one, Port Miou, we debated should we continue on to the third. We were pretty hot and tired at this point. Oh and did I mention we were walking in flip flops, swimsuits and dresses? We decided to continue on to the third which was a much more impressive beach by boat, En Vau. Another 20 minute hike (and I mean hike) to the top and we peered down a very steep climb down to En Vau. One step downward and my flip-flop broke. Thank goodness I was able to put it back together. Our poor footwear, and the decreasing amount of sunshine convinced us to turn back to Port Miou. So we got to our beach, just not the one intended. After a quick swim, we headed back toward town and fell asleep on a lovely beach by our hotel. It was a long, long day, but all in all a very nice one filled with adventure and sunshine which is what we came for in the first place.

The next day in Cassis was not nearly as exhausting. We got vineyard views and more sunshine until Richard arrived that evening with the rent car. And then it was on to Cannnes...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rush, rush, rush and then more fun

So last week I returned from my super fun trip to Norway, spent a few days doing laundry and cleaning up, then it was time for our next guest, Annette!

Annette arrived just in time for a pub viewing of US vs. Brazil soccer match in the world cup warm-up last week. Unfortunately, we lost, but it was pretty exciting that we even got to the final. We had a few pints during the match at McSorley's Pub to keep Annette moving for minimum jet lag, then we let her crash.

Over the next two days, we had a lot of fun at some Dublin sights you've seen in earlier posts on the blog, Trinity College, Jameson Whiskey Distillery, St. Patrick's & Christ Church Cathedrals. And we checked out some new sights as well. Burdock's fish & chips were a must for Annette and we took a tour to a new part of County Wicklow than I had seen before.