Returning to Nice

Disembarkation day started early. Azamara Journey was already in port when we opened the curtains for the first time to see pretty much the same view we had seen at the beginning of this enjoyable but oh too short cruise.

We really did wish that we had booked back to back cruises so we could have extended the pleasure. We did, though, know we had the day to enjoy in Nice so not all was lost! We met up with Shaun & Nona for breakfast at Windows Café and then strolled a bit on the open deck to look at the proceedings taking place down below on the pier. Some passengers were already disembarking, presumably to make an early flight somewhere. We were scheduled to leave the ship at about 8:30am or so.

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  • Monday May 30, 2011

    Disembarkation, Museé National Marc Chagall & Museé Matisse

    There had been a number of announcements made onboard the previous day about the shortage of taxis in the area because of the race and urging people to make other arrangements if possible to avoid long delays at the pier on arrival. Linda made a booking for a limousine for 9:00am to take us to the hotel. At €78.00 it was expensive, but it guaranteed that we’d not be delayed on our return to Nice.

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      Our first destination was Museé National Marc Chagall and for that we decided to make our way there on foot. Even at this hour in the morning it was quite warm, so it was a truly welcome relief to reach the museum and its welcoming air conditioning. The museum had handsets for commentary, and they turned out to be very useful in touring and enjoying what turned out to be an amazing art museum. The experience turned out to be much better than we had anticipated. If you ever go to Nice - you HAVE to visit Museé National Marc Chagall as long as you have even the smallest love of art. It is well and truly worth it. Our visit there was indeed a highlight of the entire trip. At €7.50 per person it was also amazing value for the experience. After we had exhausted what Museé National Marc Chagall had to show us we made a quick trip to the gift shop and facilities before heading to our next stop of Museé Matisse de Nice. Once again we made our way there on foot and if the Chagall Museum was at one end of the spectrum, we’d say the Matisse Museum was unfortunately at the other end. The museum is devoted to Matisse and is presented as being a large collection of his work from his beginnings as an artist and the evolution through his artistic career. We think it was over-sold. We didn’t spend too long at the museum and as we left we passed by Roman ruins located right next to the museum. The area is called Cimiez, and the ruins are that of Cemenelum - what was the capital of the Roman province of Alpes Maritimae. It was worth the view more so than the neighbouring Museé Matisse. It was about 1:00pm when we left the ruins and with the high sun in a cloudless sky we were feeling all and more of the day’s 30°C. Rather than walk, we opted to take a bus back to near the hotel and we had only a short walk to a bus stop and a short wait for the bus we needed. The bus/tram system in Nice is extensive and quite cheap at a fare of €1.00. By 1:30pm we were back at the reception of Boscola Exedra.

      It was just a short wait at the hotel to receive our room key cards and direct the bellhops as to which bags went to which room. Our second room was similar to the one Shaun & Nona had on the pre-cruise visit to Nice - complete with exhibitionist-style shower. Unlike our first room, this one had a window rather than doors with a balcony, and it looked inward - over the glass roof of the reception and lobby area below. We freshened up a bit and the met up with Shaun & Nona in the lobby to head back out to first grab some late lunch and then enjoy a bit more of Nice. As we left the hotel we wandered our way towards the seafront - stopping to check out the check out restaurants along the way. It took until we made our way back to the familiar pedestrian area of Cours Saleya before we settled on a bistro that looked right for us. We sat outside under a canopy as we enjoyed our late lunch in the pleasant surroundings. At this point we were clearly in relaxed mode - we had seen and done all we had intended so it was just a matter of enjoying the beautiful day in this picturesque city. Not hard to take at all! With no agenda, we strolled more than walked and that was fine with us - seemed a fitting way to end the trip. There was, of course, a slight sad tinge as the realization of the end of the vacation was at hand...but just as quickly as it would come it would disappear in the sights and experiences we were still taking from Côte d'Azur. Something we didn't realize until after the returning home was that our end of trip strolling around Nice also didn't include much photo taking - not even from the one last stroll along Promenade de Anglais. It wasn’t a conscious decision to not take photos, but rather just turned out that was as we meandered around the city. We returned to the Boscola Exedra in the early evening for a short rest before heading out one last time for dinner. We’d already agreed to return to Cours Saleya for this evening's dinner - by the time we had finished out late lunch we could see the transformation to evening mode in pedestrian only area - and got a chance to peruse some menus as we left the area.

      When we did leave the hotel for dinner we took a more direct route to Cours Saleya this time. It was a warm and pleasant evening and an easy walk back to what had become our place to eat while in Nice. Our previous discussion had been about finding a seafood restaurant for dinner this evening - and the restaurants put on display their “catch” in full view of the passers by in hopes of snagging your business. The hosts or hostesses were also trying hard sway people to their restaurant. The hostess at the place we ended up selecting offered a local drink called Kir to help us make the choice - we had seen many people in Nice drinking a slightly pink drink which could have been mistaken for a Californian White Zinfandel - but it turn out to be a mixture of white wine and crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). The drinks were served shortly after we sat down outside in the area that had been a flower stand not than long beforehand. The dinner and the ambiance was very enjoyable.

      Once back at the hotel after dinner we started some of the preparations for leaving Nice in the morning and Gary did the final photo back up of the trip. It had been a good day and nice way to end our vacation. Tomorrow would be travel home day.

  • Tuesday May 31, 2011

    Final morning in Nice and heading home to Canada

    Our final morning in Nice started early so we could finish of the remainder of the packing and prepare to meet Shaun & Nona for breakfast at 7:30am. They were staying one additional day in Nice, but woke early to meet us for breakfast prior to our departure. Unlike the last time, we opted to stay inside in the air conditioned comfort of the restaurant rather than the outside sitting area. The day was looking a bit gloomy, not what we had come to expect of Nice!

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      After breakfast we collected our luggage and ordered a taxi to the airport as we checked out of the hotel. It arrived in short order and with that we bid adieu to Shaun, Nona and the much enjoyed Boscola Exedra. With it being a Tuesday morning, we allowed for congested traffic on the way to the airport, but that turned out not to be the case so we made it to the airport earlier than expected. It was funny as we attempted to check in that we were actually 10 minutes too early to check into our flight! Whether it was the Air France/KLM computer system wouldn't allow it or the staff that were sticklers for the rules - we had to wait until two hours prior to the flight time to be allowed to check in. We did a quick tour of the shops in the departures hall and then made our way back to the check in counter and with it now being less than two hours from the flight time we were allowed to check in. If we were to do it again, we certainly would have allowed so much time - even once through to the gates there wasn’t to much to do in this airport. The flight itself to Amsterdam was a good one - on time and smooth. We knew we had some time to wait in Amsterdam, but we also knew that we’d have plenty of things to do while there to pass the time. One such thing to do was to stop in again at Café Chocolat for some hot chocolate and coffee. That was very enjoyable, indeed - and one of those must do things if you fly through Schiphol Airport. We also did a bit of shopping - including picking up some traditional Danish stroop waffles and liquorice.

      We weren’t sure if there was a particular concern this day, but we experienced multiple security checks before reaching the final waiting lounge prior to boarding our flight. it is one of the airports that uses body scanners - we experienced that just prior to reaching the gate. With the extra security rigamarole it was only a very short wait in the final waiting area before the time we could board the flight to Toronto.

      We didn’t get the upgrade for the return flight, so it was a bit tight in the economy seating area. The flight was smooth, though, and the time did seem to pass quickly. The arrival at Pearson’s Terminal 3 seemed quicker than our normal experience at Terminal 1, so it wasn’t long before we had our luggage and were heading to the limo stand. As always in Toronto, a limo was waiting as we reached the curb and by 8:00pm we were home and our vacation was officially over. Sigh.

Nice Image Gallery (both pre & post cruise)

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About WHITEonline

WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

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