Saturday, October 22, 2011


Where was I? Ah, yes, enjoying the fine French cuisine of a berry-flavored cough drop.

My cheap-ass hotel redeemed itself with a comfy bed, a television with at least one English speaking channel (news – all Ghadaffi, all the time), and the free breakfast (which included chocolate croissants, edible yogurt with fruit in it, and many tea selections).

I headed off for a walk at around 10:00.

I pause for a moment to note that, when I’m on vacation, going for a morning walk – even an uphill one – seems like a generally good idea. I contrast this with myself on a daily basis, when any sort of exercise is largely frowned upon (and is only tolerated because the elliptical machine is planted directly in front of my TV). No idea why this is. I mean, I know why I don’t like walking in general – what I don’t get is why I’m actually eager to do it on vacation.

Also not clear on why I was eager to do it today. I slept well, but there may be some residual jet lag. And there’s the annoying pulled muscle thing (in the general neighborhood of my upper thigh – I don’t know what muscle it is, exactly, but the soreness returns whenever I put my cell phone in my front pants pocket). I’d been taking it easy because of said injury, and even put a heaty-wrap on it while on the plane, but today I thought, “OK, let’s hike up a hill in Nice.”

It’s quite lovely, actually. An old castle (largely destroyed) with a lovely view of the bay. There were pictures. (You’ll get them later – probably when I get back. Internet on the ship is spotty at best – the lady at reception actually tried to talk me out of purchasing it – so I’m looking at quick logins to post and check e-mail.)

I’m ahead of myself. I went for a morning walk down to the port. Was easy to spot the ship I’d be on, as it was the largest thing anywhere near the port. Usually Windstar ships are the tiniest thing in a port – but this was a teeny port and the Wind Spirit outclassed everything else.

Then I spotted the signs for the “Ancien chateau.” I was pretty sure that was what I was aiming for. Mostly because it was roughly where I thought it would be. Also because the signs were pointing upward.

I learned two things about the chateau last night (thank you, people of the internet) – first, that there is an elevator, but it’s on the other side and very hard to find; second, that there are many paths but they all eventually rejoin each other. So, the signs pointed toward both a gently sloping road and some stairs. I went with the road. After passing two more sets of steps, I finally went with the third (it looked friendly), and climbed my way up the hill. The path branched off a few times, but I’d randomly pick a direction (always “up”) and, with the exception of path that led to a clearing and nowhere else, made it to my destination – a very lovely lookout. I took some pictures (and helped a nice family with theirs), rested a bit, and headed back down. (Hotel checkout was at noon. They wouldn’t give me another hour, even though I asked nicely. I idly wondered if I would’ve gotten the extra hour if I had asked in French. Given that I couldn’t figure out how to phrase it, I doubt it would have helped.)

So. Went back down the hill, at which point the injury in my upper thigh said, “Why did we walk all the way up here?” At which point I changed my stride somewhat to make it easier on the injury, and my knee said, “Fuck that,” and decided to hurt every time I bent it and put weight on it. Which is, when you think about it, a fairly common occurrence when walking down a couple hundred steps. It was fine as long as I didn’t do the bending/weight-supporting combo, though, so I made it down the steps keeping the leg straight. (Why did I not accept my friend’s offer of her hiking stick? Or even bring my own (foldable) hiking stick? This is exactly why I WANTED the damn thing in the first place. Idiot.)

So, down the hill a little slower than intended, but no real harm done. Went back over to the dock – I could see the ship from where I was standing, but the entrance was down below. I wondered how to get down there from where I was – could not easily see a way down. Behind me were some stairs, though, so I thought I’d give them a shot.

To my happy surprise, they did not lead to the dock, but the beach. A very quiet section of rocky beach, right on the ol’ Mediterranean. There was a couple eating lunch on the rocks, and another couple people thinking about swimming – but, other than that, it was mostly deserted. I sat on a big cement block which seemed to be there for the sole purpose of sitting on it and looking out on the water, so I went with that, and had myself a nice little contemplation (there will be another photo) before heading back to the hotel in time to check out.

Not much else to report. Got a taxi (driver knew how to get down to the ship’s entrance); got my room; got unpacked; met some folks on the cruise; had some tasty meals … the usual. I am (also as per usual) currently the only person sitting in the lounge (it’s me and the bartender). There was a “sailing off” party up on deck after dinner, but it’s a bit cold and windy and I’m wearing a skirt. No idea how long anyone stayed out there, but it certainly isn’t skirt weather. If this is anything like my previous cruising experiences, everyone is asleep now, anyway. (I saw a foursome playing cards in the library and one guy in the casino. But unless there’s a big ol’ dance party outside in the wind – which I sorta doubt – I’m not here with a bunch of night owls.) I like journalling in public spaces, rather than sitting in my room – I’m happy to chat with anyone if they come by, but I don’t think anyone is coming by.

Come to think of it, I bet they’ll shut down the lounge as soon as I leave. They’ve turned off the lights in the casino, and I hear vacuuming.

Tomorrow, we arrive in Corsica.

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