I'm here to prove it.
Back in late June I went to France. FRANCE!
It was all kinds of amazing.
Usually, when I travel, I'm all about going to countries I've never been to before, or may never get the opportunity to go to again (Hello, Estonia. Hello, Croatia. Hello, South Africa). But France, is you know, France. Everybody's been to France.
Okay, I realize not everybody, but it is just a hop skip and a jump from the East Coast. I've seen a million Eiffel Tower pics, haven't you? But I'm here to say, France far exceeded my expectations. Sixteen days across the pond was truly a dream. And I'm so incredibly grateful for the ability to do these crazy international adventures!
This year, we planned our vacation around my sister's vacation schedule,
The best part, it coincided with the the Tour de France. For our family who is all about all things cycling, this was a dream come true. So, our itinerary was planned.
Nice. Aix en Provence. Paris. Le Touquet. London.
Oh ya, we went to London too.
Which was also, amazing. London, I love you.
So let's get to it.
I flew into Nice a day early, since I was flying on airline miles, and there were no award flights the day the rest of my family was traveling. What a shame, right?
One sweaty hour later (hello Mediterranean humidity!) I was checked into my hotel. And THIS was the view from my room.
I thought I was going to die of happiness right then and there. Also, air conditioning. Hallelujah.
Jetlagged and ecstatic, I laid on the fluffy white bed for about an hour, before heading out on foot to explore Nice.
Let me just tell you, Nice is nice.
I explored the waterfront a bit. Finding a row of bolted in chairs, right along the shore, with wifi. I sent pictures to my family back home, to hurry up and get here. It was kinda cruel.
After a good amount of sea spray showering my face, I headed back into the town, finding a nice outdoor table to sit at, with food I could recognize, praise the Lord for picture menus. And caprese salads. And rose.
I sat down to this masterpiece. And about 10 minutes later looked up to see an entire restaurant staring at me. I wasn't certain if I was just the strange American, or what was happening, until I turned around and saw my head was blocking the World Cup. USA vs. Germany, appropriately enough.
So I moved back a chair, and sat on the opposite side, to cheer on my people. Except not. No one was cheering on the US. I munched on a bit of my baguette, paid my bill and headed back to the hotel. I don't even like soccer anyway.
Oh, but Kim, you're in Europe. During the World Cup. You're gonna LOVE soccer whether you like it or not. So say the fans of Algeria at 3am celebrating in the streets below your hotel while you're jet lagged.
The next morning, after an eventful night of sleep, or lack thereof, I woke up and headed out to explore Nice on my own, until my family flew in that night. A whole day to explore in a foreign country all by myself. Tres Chic!
I asked the hotel front desk where to go, and what to do (all those travel books, and I forgot to research, whoops!), and they mentioned something about a flower market, and a chateau, and pointed east. Okay, off I go!
So me, my big camera, and a handful of Euros, headed out to find this flower market. If there's anything I love, it's an open air market.
I will take all the pictures of all the fruit. All the flowers. All the sweets. Nothing will stop me.
Okay, one thing will stop me. Cafe Creme & Chocolate Croissants.
I had to pull myself away from the market. It was time to find the Chateau.
So, I set off again. Walking around the town.
Exploring nooks, and crannies, wandering down cobbled streets too narrow for cars.
Looking up at shuttered windows, seeing and soaking life in Nice.
Little by little, circling around what ended up being the Chateau, and ascending up the back side. A quiet damp, shady path, passing the occasional local walking her dog.
Looking back on the town below. And finally, at the top, discovering the expansive views of Nice below.
Looking East into the harbor.
Looking West, along the coastline towards the airport.
Soaking in the south of France in all of its cerulean glory.
Rumor had it, the Chateau had a waterfall, and I had to find it.
I sat peacefully in the shade of the trees, listening to the roaring water of the manmade fall.
And decided to test several of the settings on my camera too - they are one of my other favorite subjects to photograph.
After exploring this magical place, the jet lag was catching up with me. I found a shady table back at the flower market, and sat and had lunch. For a couple hours, French style and all. Before walking back to the hotel, catching a quick snooze, and waiting for my family to arrive in a few short hours!