Continued from French Riviera Day 2, Cannes, Eze and Nice Part 1.
This was the only info at the tourist office. The tourist office and the info desk at the station were both closed. Seriously, everything is closed today. Good thing I bought my return ticket to Nice already.
I had arrived here at around 4:10pm. I looked at the bus schedule at the bu stop, then the bad news dawned on me. I had just missed the bus by less than 10 minutes and the next bus will not be coming by for another hour. AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!
This was my view for about an hour. There were only a couple shops close by to the Eze station, and they were both closed. It was just me, a Spanish couple and 2 French couples waiting here for the bus that would take us up to Eze Village. Eze Village came highly recommended to me, so it better be worth it. Originally, I was going to tack Eze onto the same day that I go into Monaco, but decided to get it out of the way first. After seeing how time consuming it is to get to Eze Village, I am glad that I decided to cut Cannes short instead of Monaco short. At one point, an American family of 3 got off the train and waited for about 10 minutes. They were eager to get up to Eze Village, but didn’t want to wait the 40 minutes until the next bus came by. Then they had the bright idea that they could just walk instead of taking the bus. This is when I shook my head, and told them that Eze Village is all the way up the mountain, and that if they tried to walk, I’ll just pass by them on the bus while they kept on walking. Ultimately, they gave up waiting and decided to come back another day.
About half way up the mountain, I saw this cyclist who got so tired of nonstop uphill climb that he was walking his bike. One last bit more about the bus ride to Eze Village. It was a 20 minute nonstop drive on the bus since there were no other passengers waiting at the other stops. There are no sidewalks, and the road winds around the mountain with many blind corners. I think if that American family had actually tried to walk, it would literally take them probably 4 hours of uphill climbing.
Eze Village. The first thing that I did after getting off the bus was look at the return bus schedule back down to Eze rail station. Each bus stop, despite being the same bus line, has their own unique schedule posting.
Well, the last bus leaves back for Eze train station in 10 minutes. Shit. This means that I can go back down the mountain right now despite all the effort and sacrifices that it took for me to get here, or I can say fuck it all and go see Eze Village then try to wing it on getting out of this desert back to civilization. I say Fuck It!
I didn’t have to say that for long. I used a tip based public bathroom(The paid bathrooms are nice because they are always squeaky clean), and I asked the lady tending the place if there’s another bus that I can take to get back to Nice. She showed me the schedule for bus 82, and it leaves in an hour. Awesome. Though, this means that my ticket from Eze station back to Nice will go to waste. Planning ahead bites me this time.
This is a restaurant, it’s closed, the gate is locked. Their awesome outdoor balcony has a perfect view of the ocean. Most of the places here are closed today, which means I can’t even go see the view that I came here for because all the perimeter viewing spots are owned by the restaurants or hotels. Ugh. I feel so disappointed.
Look at what I finally found! Yup, I actually found a spot that allowed me to look out. The angle isn’t as great as I had hoped, but better than nothing. And you ask where I was finally able to find this spot?
Yup, at the cemetery. Next to the church, there were these stairs that led up onto the cliff side, I found this small cemetery, and at the end of the cemetery, there was an area with a clear view of the ocean. At least they are not charging the dead to have a good view.
Well, that was fun, sort of. I am not sure it was worth all the effort that it took me to get up here. If I knew that it would have taken me close to 4 hours turnaround to see Eze Village, I might have reconsidered. If you are in the French Riviera during off season and it’s a Sunday, just go lay out at the beach because everything will be closed and it will make your life difficult.
It’s already almost dinner time, and all I had all day was a forgettable sandwich. It’ll be another 15 minutes until the bus shows up and then it’ll be another 40 minutes before we get back to Nice. So hungry.
At least the bus was empty so I could sit and rest my legs. There was another good reason for me to sit down. The driver was hauling major ass down the mountain. Full throttle going down the straight, hard on the brakes in a straight line, trail brake into the corner, then hard on the gas again coming out of the corner. Yeah, he drove like an actual person who knows how to drive on the track. I actually wondered if he tracks his car? My track friends will understand this one. Think of a time when you were in a full prepped race car, the car is corning at its full corning potential, and then you hit a mid corner bump. You feel the chassis flex and all sorts of rattles and shakes happen. Well, that was this bus, because we were flying down these narrow windy mountain roads at this bus’s corning potential. All the passengers got nervous at one point or another, me included. The most exciting bus ride I’ve ever been on.
This is where I got off the bus because, well, I saw a lot of other people getting off the bus here too. Since this was an unplanned bus route, I didn’t really know where I would ultimately end up in Nice. I figured if I get off where a lot of others get off, then I would at least be in a busy populated spot where there are other transportation options.
Place Garibaldi. This is where the bus dropped me off and all of my rationals for getting off here ended up being correct. Lots of people, lots of transportation connections, and best of all, there’s food here.
I sat down at Cafe de Turin at Place Garibaldi. Something about it just felt right(I know, just like a girl). I literally walked by it, thought about it(felt it out), turned around to look at it again, and then thought about it some more, then finally sat down. As I started reading the menu, I found out that it’s actually been open here at Place Garibaldi since 1908. Cool, another restaurant with lots of history. I knew there was a reason why this place appealed to me, just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
You are supposed to rip off the head, and eat everything but the tail. Very salty, seasoned by the sea. I still am not sure if they were completely raw or just halfway cooked. Definitely not fully cooked though.
Alright, no more. How did everything taste? Let’s just say that it’s an acquired taste, and I have yet to acquire the taste. I could do the small raw shrimps. The raw clams were meh. The oysters were good. I thought the small sea snails were decent. On the other hand, the large sea snails I could barely stand to even look at, so I only tried a few just to see what they tasted like. Raw seafood in Nice, now I’ve been there and done that. Afterwards, I also realized that because everything was raw, the restaurant didn’t even have to cook any of it!! They literally just got the seafood delivered to them, threw them up on a plate, and served it to me. That’s cheating.
I am glad I picked this place, because it got even more packed by the time I left. They couldn’t have killed too many people with their raw food if all these customers are still alive long enough to come back.
The coffee perked me up enough that despite being on the go all day long, I decided to try to walk around Nice at night and go down to the beach. What’s the worst that could happen? I already ate a whole plate of raw seafood.
Most of Nice is pretty dead, then you run into these pockets of intense activities. It’s rather strange. Then just like that, all the activities would disappear again. I know this happens in all cities, but it feels much more extreme here in Nice.
This is the single largest collection and concentration of outdoor restaurants I’ve ever seen. It just went on and on and on. I Googled and found out that this was Cours Saleya. I believe during the day this area is a flower shop street. I’ll try to come by at a later date during the day and see for myself.
Colline du Chateau lit up nicely at night. I am now walking along Promenade des Anglais with the ocean next to me. Even though I am pretty tired from being out and about all day, the night view was so enticing that I couldn’t help myself but to keep on walking farther and farther from the direction of my hotel.
That was a very long day full of memories. Some good, some not so good. But, it’s one of those cases where the not so good memories will soon become good memories that I joke and laugh about.
Beat. Time to sleep.
To be continued at French Riviera Day 3, Monaco Part 1.