Monday 29th September – it felt a bit like I was in the spin cycle for a minute there.

Monday is the weekly antique market and we thought we’d drop by to do the section we missed last week as we make our way to catch the bus to Eze village. First though I’m wanting to find a book shop or art supplies to get my sketch pad I’ve been after. Haven’t spotted one so far and determined to get today if I can. I stop and ask in a children’s bookshop and she thinks for a bit, asks a colleague and then tells me not far down the road. I’m a little unsure she understood me but am delighted to find a fantabulous art supply store just where she said. It’s been here a while. Delightful to poke around in, it was established in1830, so possibly where Matisse and other great French artists shopped for their charcoal and paper back in the day. I chose a book and confess to the woman ‘I know nothing’ and she helps me select a couple of pencils. I slip a rubber in there. Weelll, you never know! Costs me a small fortune but the little soft leather pencil case bumped the final tally, and so starts my career/hobby as an artist. I head off to meet Gilbert to catch the bus to Eze Village and the next fifteen minutes yields no less than four art supply/book stores. I dare not look lest the prices upset me…

This is part of the amazing Green Space in the middle of the city here in Nice and it’s very cool. We criss cross this a few times today as we can’t figure out just how to get to the market place until about an hour later which is very frustrating. I tell Gilbert I was just telling everybody how amazing we are knowing our way round!

Finally we are at the antique market and very quickly we are once again drawn in and hours drift by. I buy some earrings which are not antique and a pretty scarf. We stop for food and drink and then pretty sure where to go now, we head to the bus station. Only Nice doesn’t have a bus ‘station’ like you’d think. To creat the marvellous 12 hectare ‘Green Space’ we have walked through today several times, they have nabbed the part of it that used to be the bus terminal. Now the buses have little ‘stops’ all over the place. Yesterday I thought this was a very cool idea. Today I wonder what the hell they were thinking. If you want ‘this’ selection of routes you go here. If your want ‘that’ selection of routes you go there, and so it goes on. No one knows where any particular selection is and even the bus driver we ask tells us they’re spread out all over the place and we’ll probably have to go to the information centre. I’m standing behind a french lady who lives there and while she knows she wants a number 10, which is here and goes East, she needs the westward one. The guy shakes his head. He has no idea.

We walk to the information centre and find we need to take a tram to get to where that bus departs from. It’s now 3pm and I’m really hot and tired. Gilbert and I stand and look at each other. “Why were we going to Eze?” he asks. “It’s a medieval village set into the hillside with amazing views and a perfumerie where they show you how perfume is made.” I answer. Hmmm…”Ok” I say. “Let’s go to the beach, I’m had it!” So we head down to the water.

The water is quite rough today. They seem to have very little difference between highs and lows but I think the tide may be turning. It’s almost impossible to stand up in it with such a strong pull, we dive into the cold to try and get away from the bottom tugging at our feet but once in it we are thrown around. I know Gilbert’s not a confident swimmer and I’m looking for him. I could dog paddle or float for days so I’m not really worried, but if he can’t touch the bottom he gets nervous. I can see he’s been dragged in shore while I have been pulled out quite a few metres. I try to swim back in towards him but the pull out is pretty strong. Not so much fun this and I’m a bit worried I might be carried out too far, so wait for the incoming wave and try to ‘catch’ it as it comes in. “Catch the next wave” I can hear Gilbert’s voice drifting past me in the wind.

I miss that but catch the next which is bigger, and it’s quite exhilarating. I’m remembering a time up in Tawharanui which was awesome fun. Suddenly I’m dumped and tumble over and under and try to stand but can’t touch the bottom and just as suddenly my knees scrape and the water is just two foot deep. I take a couple of gulps trying to get some air, feel to see if I have a top and bottom on still cause I felt a bit like I was in the spin cycle for a minute there, but before I can get to my feet another wave dumps on me and is pulling me out again. Gilbert’s scrambled to shore and I’m able to get fairly close to him on the next dump and laughing hysterically I run to his outstretched hand before the next wave can grab my ankles. Lots of people are now sitting up and watching and probably thinking ‘bloody tourists!’

“Jeepers. That was fun”, I yell to Gilbert as the next one crashes in and the pebbles slip away underneath us pulling out again. He’s laughing. “Reminds me of Tawharanui…drank a few mouthfuls there”, he tells me as we stand under the beach shower to wash the salt off. That was a great ‘wake up’ and we go back to our towels to read in the last of the afternoon’s sun as if nothing happened….before meandering home as the Sun goes down.

We walk past so many damn cake shops on the way back, I decide seeing as we cheated death out there today we should get something sweet. Dinner is all the leftover bits into a salad, which is delicious with the last few pieces of last nights pizza, and the last of the wine. Followed by two sweet things from the Tarterie. Nice Nice!

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