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Monday, April 9, 2012

Experiencing Serenity on the Côte d'Azur

I recently took a trip to the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera) to start off my spring right.

To get this out of the way, I'm not much of a relaxer when it comes to my vacation time. I like to hike, visit the local historic sites, and wander around the unknown streets looking for hidden gems. I am a person who spent a week in Puerto Rico (Viejo San Juan and down to Ponce) and didn't go to the beach. Through Central European tours, all over the US, and out to Madrid and Barcelona last year, I pretty much only sit down to eat and drink That is if I don't grab something from a street vendor and eat as I stroll. I recently injured my foot, which forced me to really sit and take in the whole experience.

During this trip to this wonderful Mediterranean paradise, I sat on three different beaches (for more than five minutes). This video gives you just a touch (7 seconds) of the peace on the smooth, yet rocky beach in Nice.

I tried my best to relax. I sat for picnics, and I stopped at park benches to enjoy the view. After hiking up to the Cannes Castle, I sat and enjoyed the view for a while.

No day did I relax more than the day that we went up to Cimiez to explore. After a leisurely walk through Musée Matisse I sat under an olive tree in the park for a picnic lunch. I laid under the tree with Mr. K, feeling the cool breeze and looking at the dusty olive pits embedded in the earth.

I heard children laughing and playing. The smooth tinniness of the stairs sounded like a steel drum as the children ran up and down. Just a little way off, I heard the buzzing of the saws trimming back the olive branches.

I looked over my feet and watched some youth sparring energetically. I watched the walkers with their tiny dogs that were all tuckered out. Some carried their weary pets. Others walked slowly, pausing for short rest breaks.

We walked a bit and stopped at bench overlooking a lower level filled with rows of olive trees. Children and adults were playing games, reading books, and resting under the trees. Three people were tightening nylon bands between some olive trees. I could hear the clacking of the ratchet straps as the bands got tighter. At first I thought it was more maintenance. That was until I saw them test it out. The older of the three jumped on the rope walking as far as he could. By the end of it, the trio had grown to a larger group practicing their tight rope walking.

I heard the church bell in the distance, from the old Franciscan monastery. It sounded me back into reality. I got up and continued my exploration up to the monastic gardens, to the cemetery, and through the Roman ruins.

I will not soon forget the tranquility I found when I stopped to watch the world go by in Cimiez. A memorable moment of many on my trip to the French Riviera.

For more pictures, see the album on my Google+ page.

1 comment:

  1. Very good impressions, a kaleidoscope of sensory experience.