5 February ’05, Saturday. Hill Top Village of Biot, France It’s always a little stressful when you walk onto the train platform in a new city/town/village. First off, where do you get your ticket, what are the spellings or how do you pronounce the word “round trip”, where does the train leave from, where do you validate the ticket, and what stop do you get off at ??? I don’t know where the stress comes from, cause it always works out just fine… We caught the train into Nice yesterday morning (actually after a 20 minute train ride, it turned out to be just about noon by the time we got into Nice). Our plan was to visit the “Old Town” of Nice, so when we arrived at the station, we found the Information booth just outside of the station door. They were able to give us all the maps and information we thought we would need while here. With the map in my navigators hands, we were off for a great day on the Cote d’ Azur. It turned out that “Old Town” was about a 30 minute walk from the station, so we did some window shopping along the way. Fact is, I bought a new sweatshirt. I am learning that I’ve just got to keep myself covered with black while we are camping…guess what color shirt I got??? That was a no brain-er… Seeing as how it was lunch time, we split a baguette sandwich and took it to the boardwalk to eat with all the other locals and tourists. We enjoyed our walk through the narrow streets of the “Old Town” and then found the walkway to where the castle used to sit overlooking the city of Nice. It was good exercise walking up the stairs to the site. On the top, we found a wonderful church with a cemetery that we spent sometime wandering through, and then onto the top of the hill and the spectacular “Overlook” of Nice and the Cote d’ Azur.
We had hoped to spend a full day and into the early evening in town, but that just didn’t work out…we were pooped… Must be the “new” age I’ve found myself in… On the other hand, it could have been that we saw just about everything we were looking for and wanted to save ourselves for tomorrow. Nice was nice, but we enjoyed our time in Antibes Old Town more…it’s just what your looking for I guess. On the way back to the station we saw a crowd around a small food kiosk. We had to see what was going on. They had just put out this large pizza like pan of something. The locals were buying the heck out of it, so we had to get some too. They scraped what ever it was off the bottom of the pan and put it in a paper cone. We could not figure out what it was. It was hot, looked a lot like polenta...and tasted better than good! It was grilled "mashed" chickpeas. Yum! We will buy some more of that if we see it again!! Today we pulled “Bumble Bee” out and went off to see a couple of the Hill Top Villages (Perched Villages) up close and personal. The first one, Biot, is just a short distance away. We are really enjoying the road signs that we have found here in France so far. If you know were you want to go, they will make sure that you are going to find it…very nice. Well we weren’t disappointed with our first visit to a Hill Village. After doing a little up hill driving, and a few switch backs, we found ourselves in a very beautiful village. The “village people” were all out in force putting the final touches on getting ready for their “Mimosa Day” celebration.
I mean it, everyone including the children, were out tying Mimosa branches onto anything that wouldn’t move and something’s that did. The Mimosa tree is from Australia and really grows well here. The flowers from the Mimosa tree are the yellowiest of yellow, and make a striking contrast when tied to the evergreen swags that were hung throughout the village from one building to the other. We even saw a dog carrying a Mimosa branch. After an hours walk, we got back in “Bumble Bee” (it was colder than hell out today) to warm up and move on to our next “Perched Village” and then back home for a great dinner (boy, have I got a great chef / navigator with me…). Tomorrow…no plans yet…depends on the weather.