Friday, October 22, 2010

French Riviera

I have been slacking on my blog updates recently! This week we had midterm tests in all my classes, so I have been studying more than I have all semester! Haha!  They are done now and I think they went pretty well, they did not seem nearly as hard as ones that I have taken back at La Crosse.

I realize that I have not posted about my trip to the French Riviera last week, so here goes! It was a great weekend and even though the trip was only for 2 days, we packed a lot in! This trip was one put on by the school so we took a private bus there and back, which was pretty nice because we did not have to worry about figuring out train and bus schedules.  I went with 2 friends from school, but everyone on the trip was a student at our school. 

We left early Saturday morning (4am!) So that we got to the Independent country of Monaco by 10:30am.  From there we had a small tour of some of the main attractions and had some time to roam around on our own.  The country itself was very strange to me, it was only about 5km wide, right on the sea within the country of France.  It was very ritzy and today still has its own Prince.  The people who live there do not pay taxes (that is of course unless you are an American citizen or a French citizen living there for less then five years) but almost all live a very lavish lifestyle in a place where the unemployment rate is 0%!  While we were there we got to see the place where Grace Kelly was buried along with all the other past princes and princesses of Monaco.  We also saw the changing of the guards in front of the Palace...not as exciting as you may think...but a huge crowed was there to see them literally switch positions.  My favorite part was when we got some time to explore on our own and Megan, Laura and I walked down to see the old city walls and the gardens right on the edge of the cliff!
Country Monaco - literally the whole cournty

Our next stop was Nice, France where we would stay the night.  The city of nice was active, there were so many people around! I surprised by how much Italian influence was there, we saw pizzerias and gelato places everywhere.  "Old Nice" was right in the middle of the city and was very identifiable because the streets got really narrow (cars could not even drive through) and they were lined with shops...made me think of a real live Diagon Alley (I have been reading too much Harry Potter!) Had some Sacco at one of the stands, which apparently Nice is known for.  It was pretty good...tasted like a salty crape and was made with chickpeas.  Dinner was scheduled by the school at a restaurant near the hotel.  I forgot the name of the resturant but dinner was pretty good we had this salad with tuna fish and chicken.  Spent the night wandering around Nice, still very active, even at night.
Beach in Nice

Sunday started early with breakfast in the hotel and then to St. Paul de Vence by 9:30am.  St. Paul de Vence was a artist town where the famous Marc Chagall is buried.  I actually did not know who he was until I saw his grave and looked him up:)  Because we got there so early, it felt like we had the town to ourselves.  We went into some art galleries and went into some shops, it seemed like a very relaxing place to live.  Our second stop was Cannes; another city on the coast that is known for its film festival.  Even though we could not actually go into the building, we got to walk around the outside and see all the hand prints of the famous stars that had been there.  My favorite was this French boy who yelled frantically across the park to his friend in order to show him the hand print of Chuck Norris and take numerous pictures next to it! Our last stop was the village of Eze.  It was built right on a the edge of the water up on a mountain/cliff.  Looked pretty cool, but unfortunately we did not get to explore inside it.  We went on a tour of the Fragonard perfume factory right at the bottom of the city.  I did not realize how many different smells there are...came out with a slight headache...still neat to see.  Anyway after the tour we did not have time to get up to the city because we had to head back to Florence.
St. Paul de Vance (thats me in the background...little camera shy since I aged 50 years)

All in all it was a good trip! Tomorrow me and 3 of my roommates are off on our fall break adventure where we will see Paris, Barcelona and London in one week.  It will be great! I will take tons of pictures and update my blog when I return!

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