Wednesday, June 12, 2013

12 juin 2013 

It has been a busy week since last I made an entry. I will try to do this more frequently because I know that I will forget all the things I've done. Mariette is very good about planning outings for me with her student-friends.

Last Saturday, the weather was lovely, so along with Pastelle and Tonomi, we took the train to Monaco. We climbed and climbed the hill to the palace in the old town. (Huff-puff-puff) After watching the changing of the guard, we circled through the old town until we got to the Oceanic Museum. They had a new exhibition on sharks, so there was much to see. The exhibit was presented in a modern way, very interactively. Afterwards we ate in the old town at a little cafe that made pizza on a large slice of bread. I had a Coca-cola here - my first one. They taste better here than in the US. I think they are a little less sweet - more like the Coke I remember in days past. Of course, we had to see the Monte Carlo Casino, too, so we took the bus up the other hill. I feel like a tramp whenever I am here because I dress practically rather than chic-ly. Wearing my purple hat with the bow on back does NOT help at all amid the Prada, and Rolls Royce. Oh well, I'm certainly not looking to attract any super-stars. I wouldn't know one if I was introduced to someone since I see so few movies and television shows.

Next we took the train to Ventemiglia, a little Italian town the next port over. The merchandise here is generally less expensive than Nice, and certainly than Monaco. There was an antique flea market in the street near the park - looking for an Elvis album? We crossed the bridge to the old town. The river was not very deep, but the water was so clear. There were hundreds of fish feeding on the plants. They were slowly being pulled toward the mouth of the river into the sea. Goodbye, little fish.
The old town was not well kept here, but there was some renovation going on. I guess few tourists make their way over to the big hill, but perhaps after things look better, more will come.

Before returning to the train, we stopped for an aperitif. I had an Aperol Spritz - it's a very Italian drink. I don't know that I will find it in Dubuque, but it was good - an orange-background to it but not sweet.

The train home took about an hour. I was ready for bed after all the miles we made.

On Sunday, June 9, the day was warm and sunny to begin with. I went to Mass at the same basilica that I attended the last time I was in Nice. Things were much the same - the two priests, the cantor and the fantastic organist - wow. Afterwards I met Mariette in front of the Opera House in the old ville. We walked around a bit, then had a lunch of socca and wine. Then she went off to see a movie, and I to a concert. I had two hours before the concert, so I stopped for some gelato - two flavors - violet and hazelnut - a fantastic combination. I walked back to the appartment just to use the toilet. Then I was off to find the church of St. Paul on Pessicart Avenue. I studied the map and determined it was at the top of the hill out of Nice, so I hopped on the bus going up Gambetta Street. To pass the time, I decided to follow the map. I wasn't on the bus 5 minutes when I saw that we had just passed Pessicart, so I hopped off at the next stop and made my way back and up the little hill to the church.

I arrived about 45 minutes ahead of concert time. Quite a few people were waiting for the doors to open. It seems that this church regularly has organ concerts. Today, I would hear the Choeur Philarmonique de Nice under the direction of Giulio Magnanini, the opera chorus director. The group was accompanied by a woman organist who teaches at the Conservatoire de Nice. They performed Poulenc's Litanies à la Vierge Noir de Rocamadour, Duruflé's Requiem, and Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine. It was a demanding program. Besides, it was difficult to coordinate the choir with the organ which was in the back balcony. The thunderstorm began just as the concert was starting. Those who came in after it began were soaked to the skin. I was lucky to get there when I did. After the concert, I walked home in a very cool evening - I was happy to have my windbreaker, and could have used another layer under that. But it only took about 20 minutes to walk back home where it was warm enough.

Monday, June 10, I re-connected with Vesna. She invited me to her house at 3:30, and we went to Mass at a little church in the old town. There is an altar to St. Rita there. At the little shop, she bought me a magnet of St. Rita for my refrigerator. Then we walked up the main street of shops, Jean Medecin, just to window shop. She did buy a little hat to wear on the beach. She looks good and seems happy - she has a new friend who she met on the Internet. She is being cautious, but he is good company for her.

Tuesday, June 11, I took a long walk to the Museum of Fine Arts. This was a good walk up a hill, many stairs, to an old mansion. The art work in it was not fantastic, but I think it represented some of the lesser artists who passed some years in Nice during the 19th century. Then I walked along the beach because the day was so beautiful. Little be little, I'm gaining some color. When I got back to the house, I had determined that I would like to take in a movie - there are several cinemas in the area. As I was searching the Internet for times and places, Mom called. After that, I decided it was best to spend the rest of the afternoon studying - the futur simple tense needed to be reviewed. So that's what I did.

Today, June 12, Wednesday, Mariette and I took the train to Cannes. We walked along the beach, pass the Congress and Casino towards the old town, which is very clean and neat. I took in the Museum of Ancient Arts - a lovely collection of items from Greek, Roman, Inuit, etc. There were some nice paintings there, too. We returned to the beach, picked up a sandwich and sat beside the carousel to eat. After that, we walked back to the Casino to meet Anna who was meeting us there with her car. With her we drove to Mougins, another little villa up the hill a little ways. The old town here features painters and artisans in every shop. There was a museum of photos of famous painters, but mostly Picasso. With it was a display of contemporary art - the theme: Se derobe. It was interesting to see how the artists interpreted that theme. No pictures were taken - I forgot to pack my camera.

After that, it was a short ride to the place where Anna was staying. She is renovating the inside of this little villa for a Russian family - this is their summer home. We had a lovely visit for the rest of the day. She brought us back by car to Nice. Everything looks very different - a new perspective from the train and the bus.
So it was a lovely day, and it's time for bed.
Wishing you a lovely day, too!

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