Antibes day six – Last day

Antibes last day, a set on Flickr.

This was our last day at Antibes and I have to say that we really like this place. It’s a good balance of not to big but big enough if you want something, a great selection of very nice beaches, easy to walk around and the weather was stunning.
For this day we decided to have a look at a fortress on a hillside. It was still being renovated but we went all the same. The main attraction for us was to get the view from the top over Antibes. It was well worth the walk up to it as we could see right across the bays and boat harbor. We also took a picture looking back to our apartment in the distance.
Andrew and Bex wanted to just chill out on the beach at the base of the fortress while myself Sheree and Chris went to check out the biggest mall in Nice. It was a big Mall similar to what we are used to at home and the prices are about the same as what you would pay in NZ dollars but they are Euro, so that doubles the cost of most things, so money stayed in our pockets. On the way back from the mall I decided not to use Jennifer the GPS as the passengers said they new the way. Not long after the first turn we were on the wrong road and lost. I have to admit that at this stage I threw an un-necessary wobbly and suggested some one else could drive . With no takers Jeniffer was reinstated and we finally arrived back for a stop at the beach and a good cool down. This was just the ticket and not long after we got there Andrew and Bex arrived. Andrew suggested a stone skimming competion was in order so the search was on for the flattest stone. Modesty now prevents me from stating who won, but you can see the pics of my throwing style.
later we all went out for an earlier tea as Sheree and I were going to take Andrew and Bex to the Nice airport at 7:50am to catch their flight.
The next morning Andrew drove to the airport and a quick goodby was made at the ‘kiss and drop lane’ (as they call it here).. But as Jennifer had decided not to restart this morning we had a problem for the trip back. With no GPS we were flying blind. Apart from knowing the general direction we hit the toll roads to avoid the twisting turning roads in the towns and hoped for the best. A short time later and 1. 40 Euro poorer we arrived home. A quick read of the GPS manual revealed how to reset Jennifer and with great relief we were back in action. It’s amazing how reliant we have become of the GPS and without it we really are lost.
Chris did not fly out until 9:30pm so we dropped him off down on the beach to fill in the day, said our goodbyes and about 10:30am we were on our way to ‘L’isle Sur La Sorgue’ in Provence.

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Antibes day five and St. Tropez

The older St. TropezSt. Tropes harborSt. Tropez harborSt. Tropez beachSt. Tropez beachSt. Tropez
A square in St TropezJust one of so many

St. Tropez, a set on Flickr.

Today we decided to visit St Tropez. This is about one and a half hours away via the toll roads, or two and a half hours without the tolls, so we opted for the toll roads.
About two thirds of our way into the journey and at about the start of the St.Tropez Bay and with still about 15km to go, we hit a massive traffic jam that had drawn the traffic for miles to a complete holt. The temp was just on 30deg and with the 5 of us in the small car, with the aircon on full it got hot and boring.
After sitting still for about 30 min we made the decision to tell Jenifer the GPS to ignore the road where the traffic jam was (better to be moving and doing something than sitting still in the heat) and to find and alternative route. This she did….but man did we go on some skinny, out of the way roads. It took us another 40mins to finally reach St. Tropez, hot, bothered and desperate to find a toilet. Andrew had done a brilliant job as our driver and some how he had managed to keep his cool for most of the journey. We had no idea wether or not we had benefited from this maneuver, but suspected we had.
St. Tropez town itself was not at all what we expected. We had been told that this is where the ultra rich play. We saw none of the opulence of the likes of Monaco. It was much older and apart from the large luxury launches it was hard to see what the appeal really was. It had some quaint lovely streets and shops but nothing that much different to other places. We could see more of a modern city on the other side of the bay and started wondering if that was where the rich play.
What we did find was a very nice beach with the clearest water we had seen so far so we spent a big part of the day after our late lunch at 2pm just swimming and sitting in the sun.
As it was now getting a bit later we decided to head home after a big Gelato each that was just great on such a hot day.
We made our way back to the other side of the bay to see if it was any different to the side we had just visited. We had no sooner got on the road than we where in another traffic jam. Thankfully this one moved along a bit faster but the other side of the bay was no different other than being newer with some large camping grounds going right down to the beach.
We all agreed that for the time and toll fees it took to get there, we would not have missed much had we not gone. However we have been there and seen it and that’s another one ticked off.
We did not get home until about 8pm so decided to go out for tea. We found a great Moroccan restaurant that offered some of the best food and service we have experienced by far. It was a lot of fun at the beginning trying to ask if they had gluten free options for Andrew. Thankfully one of the other dinners spoke English and translated for us… Lots of laughs and good fun.
We finally headed home around midnight on this very calm and very warm balmy night before our last day in Antibes.

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Antibes day four-Cannes

ExpensiveAntibes beachwho's that in the shadeNot a bad looking dayAndrew and Chris catching some zeds in the shadewhere the Cannes film festival is held
Jedi AndrewCannes beachAt Cannes beachThe queen of CannesEndless sea of luxury yachts
Label shops in Cannes

Antibes day four-Cannes, a set on Flickr.

We woke up later this morning after last nights effort to yet another beautiful warm blue sky day. We decided to first just go back to the beach at Antibes and chill for a bit and then go and have a look at Cannes just 20mins away.
The beach again was lovely with a water temp of 24deg and the air temp of 29deg and it was great to just relax here for a while.
We bought some lunch from the beach side shop and had a last dip and a rinse off under the shower on the shore before heading for Cannes later in the afternoon.
Cannes was again a very opulent city that is full of name brand shops such as Gucci, Lois Vuitton, Prada, Rollex to name just a few but they are all here.
We wondered around the beach, saw where the Cannes film festival is held and then had an iced coffee at a cafe on the street. Just watching the high fashion people walk past was worth the trip.
On the way home we went to a supermarket and bought food for tea. Bex and Andrew made a great pasta chicken dish which we had with some salad and St Tropez wine.

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Eze-Monaco-Monte Carlo

View of Eze - on the Côte d'Azur - France - ProvenceAndrew and BexAndrew and StevenEze in ProvenceShopping in Eze
Great views from this RestaurauntEnjoying the Vista of EzeMonte Carlo
Monte Carlo beachMonte Carlo beachParagliding Monte CarloParagliding in Monte Carlo

Eze-Monaco-Monte Carlo, a set on Flickr.

WOW! WOW! FU##KING WOW, is the only way I can think to describe this awesome day.
First we all packed into the car and headed to a town called Eze – on the Côte d’Azur in Provence. Chris and Gemma had been there before and he said the views were spectacular, over looking the bays that the wealthy play in. There was another of those steep climbs through the lovely little village of Eze. This was a mixture of French and Italian style with quaint skinny streets and stone clad homes, little hotels and shops.
Along the road before the town of Eze we had some pretty spectacular views but the views from the top here were just stunning (see pics).
From here we decided to go to Monaco. This is another country but only 30 mins away and you need to cross over an invisible border to get there. Jennifer the GPS informed us when we had entered Monaco.
As you drive down the hill into Monaco the opulence and wealth is obvious. From the plethora of huge luxury launches in the bays to the lovely clean streets and buildings even though they are old.
From here it was a five minute drive to Monte Carlo Casino and this car load of high rollers were going to show them how it was done…..yeah right.
Along the way electronic signs are telling you how many car parks are left at the casino of which 35 remained and one was for us. We wound our way down inside the depths of the casino to get our park. When we got out of the car it was very hot and stuffy and we all felt uncomfortable. We got changed into shoes and better clothes we had bought with us in case we could not get in. This proved unnecessary, however you did need 10€ each and ID to get in. Bex had no ID on her so Chris offered to stay outside with Bex while me Sheree and Andrew went in to make our fortune.
This place is very opulent inside and we were not permitted to take photos. We were very surprised how small it was, not much bigger than Dunedin Casino. However there was that feeling of being inside something very special. 4 staff watch every table and only a few of them had people playing at them. We headed for the slot machines as there was a minimum 25€ bet at most tables however some did start a 5€. Even Andrew was not happy to sit at any. The 2¢ slot machine received our 5€ note which went up and down in winnings until finally the inevitable when we headed for the exit. But not before trying the opulent toilets with some one there to wait on you inside and the self cleaning seats. Once outside we laughed about the fact we had been to Monte Carlo Casino and played the house.
Parked outside the Casino are some of the most amazing dream cars all lined up at the front and being watched by the casino staff. We watched the bling loaded owners come out to their pre started cars that would be driven 10 meters and pointed in the right direction for them to get into. 10€ would be given to the casino employer for his little effort and they would roar off in there new Ferrari or Maserati or Bentley or Rolls Royce or V12 AMG turbocharged Mercs or ……..the list just goes on.
We then wondered town to go for a dip in the Monte Carlo Bay. This was very clean and the sand was obviously imported but a very nice beach.
I noticed the Tandem Paragliding was on offer and tried to get Sheree to come with me but she was concerned she would hurt herself so Andrew offered to go halves with me and off we went. I can not put into words how wonderful this was gliding high above the boat with Bex and Sheree inside and Bex taking photos, while we took in the views of the beautiful Monte Carlo on this clear warm blue sky day, and all the yachts below us. After 15 mins of this we splashed back down into the bay totally pumped after an incredible experience.
We drove back home via Nice and noticed all the bands and discos setting up for a night of music to welcome the first day of summer.
Once home it was a quick bite to eat and then we all wondered down to the old town of Antibes to take in all the bands and discos playing there on this night also. We jived and drank the night away to some great music until after 2am when we happily and very contentedly wobbled home after such an amazing day.

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Antibes day two

A day at the beach in AntibesA day at the beach in AntibesA day at the beach in AntibesA day at the beach in AntibesA day at the beach in AntibesA day at the beach in Antibes
A day at the beach in AntibesA day at the beach in AntibesDrinks on the beach at AntibesA day at the beach in AntibesAntibesA family shopping in France
A family shopping in AntibesYum yum brains for tea

Antibes day two, a set on Flickr.

Not much to report for this lazy day spent in the 28 deg heat of Antibes at the ‘Juan Les Pins’ beach. The water was warm and a nice sandy beach so we just swam and sun bathed until mid afternoon. Ohh did I mention about all the topless sunbathers who are soooo tanned….
Then we all went and did some grocery shopping. This was an experience trying to figure out what some of the stuff was. Anyway we got most of what we wanted we think. Andrew put some brains in the basket as a joke (see pic).
When we got home one of the Chickens we bought for tea smelled really suspect so we will attempt to take that back tomorrow.
The boys and Bex have all gone out to meet a mate of Chris’s who works on one of the countless luxury launches for drinks in Cannes, about a 20min train ride away, while Mum and Dad cook the chicken.
Not sure what the plans are for tomorrow but if today is anything to go by it will be great.
In the words of Bex today in the car going to the beach. “I’m having such an awesome time”.

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Leaving Levanto. Day one Antibes

Villa Gentile LeavantoA10 Motorway Levanto
Sharps new boatOne of the smaller beaches in the old town in AntibesSheree Bex and AndrewThe cake shopThe sun setting on another of Antibes beaches

It was time to hit the road again and say goodbye to Levanto and the Cinque Terre area. Our recommendation would be that if you should ever get the chance this is a must see area. It is just as beautiful as the photos and a true experience of an exquisite part of Italy.
We said goodbye to the owner of the Villa Gentile B&B and set Jennifer the GPS for Antibes in France.
We had to meet the lady, who manages the apartment we will be staying at with the boys, at 3pm. However Jenifer is telling us that unless we take the toll roads it will take over 8hrs…. so that is not an option, and set our course to use the toll roads and the 3.5hr trip.
Along the way we came up on the large city of Genoa and decided to turn off for a quick look…..Big mistake….First it was a bit of a surprise to have to pay 6€ (NZ$12) for that part of the journey, and then very quickly found ourselves going round in circles and getting no where. We forget about seeing Genoa and get back on to the tolled highway as quickly as possible.
A bit further down the road it was time for a pee stop so pulled in to a service area. We bought a snack and before getting back to the car we saw the traffic on the highway was slowly grinding to a holt. Not good…. as now we were getting behind in our arrival time and it would cost us another 20€ for picking up the key after 4pm. Thank god the traffic started moving along again and we arrived at the exit of the Italian highway and the Italian border before entering into France….Toll cost for that leg was 17€ (NZ$34)
We entered France at about 15mins after 3pm and surprise surprise another 2 tolls and another 5.50€ (NZ$11). We arrived to pick up the key at 3:30pm and got the car unpacked.
Next was to pick up Andrew and Bex at the Nice airport. We managed this without a hitch with instructions from the lady that manages the apartment who also works at the airport. We saw Andrew and Bex at the pick up point and flashed our lights at them so they could see it was us. Next was the trip back to the apartment. Along the way we stopped at some lights and the car in front did not move on when they turned green, so we tooted him. They quickly moved on to the next set of red lights, when to our surprise the male passenger jumped out of his car and was frantically pointing to the front of our car and hurling abuse in angry French. I wound down my window and yelled at him ‘”English!!” in and attempt to let him know that we had no idea of what he was on about. The lights turned green and he was quickly back in his car and roared off. At this stage we where all laughing, amazed but none the wiser as to why this had just happened. Along the road a bit further and an on coming car flashes his lights at us… this point Bex says “are you sure there is nothing on the front of our car”, when the problem dawns on us, our lights are on full beam, this would have happened when I flashed Andrew and Bex at the airport. Now we were all really laughing uncontrollably at the realization that the road rage would have been about us beeping them, and then having our lights on full behind them with our red number plates that mean ‘Hire Car’. Loosely translated that means Wally tourists. We finally arrive safely at the apartment and get our selves settled in.
The next day Sheree and I are up first, so we go for a wonder to the local bakery and shop about 5mins away, and buy some bacon, eggs, bread and a long ciabatta bread that we thought was a baguette (language problem again). Then we wonder back on this beautiful morning with our fresh bread sticking out of the bag and feeling very French.
After breakfast we all go for a wonder around the streets and have a look at the marina with some of the most amazing boats (see pics). We also visit a market selling local produce and buy some nibbles for later.
That afternoon at 2:30, we all get in the car with Andrew driving and make an uneventful trip back to the nice airport, to pick up Chris. we all get back to the apartment and settle in on the sun deck with the local olives, cheese and salami from the market and wash it down with the quality ‘Patron’ Tequila Chris got duty free. It was a lovely afternoon in the 28 deg heat on the deck and all together.
The weather forecast for the week is all sunshine and 28deg, so tomorrow we all decide is beach day.

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