Bright and Delightful

After taking a break to celebrate 100 posts on Top of the Morning to You,  it is now time to get back to our French Riviera vacation. We’d seen an antique market, enjoyed authentic seafood, traveled to Villefranche and Monte Carlo, and there is still so much to share!

The French Riviera

There I am at the end buying plenty of spices from this colorful vendor.

On Wednesday I woke up feeling a million times better. I was well-rested and it seemed as though whatever was plaguing me had left my system. With my new-found energy, I dragged Matt out of bed early and begged him to accompany me to the market to do some actual souvenir shopping. While everyone else continued to sleep, we stepped out into the crisp morning air, ready to take over the spice and flower market. I was keen on finding new spices to cook with and was excited to see the rows and rows of colorful bins. We bought Hawaiian Lava salt that I learned about at the cooking demo with Paddy. Along with the Hawaiian salt, we bought salt from the Himalayas, a guacamole spice, herbs de Provence, and 5 bags of deliciously-smelling tea leaves. We also purchased two artfully decorated spice-holders, an olive dish with cute little holders for toothpicks and pits, and a spicy olive tapenade.  I was in heaven puttering around, drinking cappuccinos, and munching on chocolate-filled biscuits.

The French Riviera

Yummy olives!

Upon returning home from the market, we were surprised to find everyone else just getting out of bed – usually it was the other way around! So, we popped outside, rented a couple of bicycles, and explored the coast of the city. It really isn’t that long and took no time to make our way from one end to the other. We stopped briefly to admire the Negresco, a swanky and famous hotel on the strip, and took our time people-watching and sunning our faces.

The French Riviera

Beautiful views of Nice on a perfect day.

After the ride we had lunch at the American restaurant I mentioned previously. We were delighted when they brought tortilla chips and queso, though it was nothing special and resembled ballpark cheese in image and taste. We weren’t complaining, though, because it was more than we get in Dublin! When we arrived back at the condo, everyone else was out doing their own thing, so, we grabbed a couple cocktails and planted ourselves on the porch overlooking the sea. We were both perfectly content reading our books, listening to the waves, and just enjoying weather we rarely get.

That evening we had big plans. Recently, my friend Lauren invited a group of us to see her boyfriend, Andrew, perform stand-up in a club in Dublin. As comedy is his profession, he’s flown to different locals to perform, Nice being a stop during the week we were there. There was no question that we had to go see him! The show was at an Irish Pub (of course) called Ma Nolan’s, and it was packed full. He performed with two other acts, and I can say with an unbiased opinion that he was the best.

The French Riviera

The whole group of us at the top of the hill.

On Thursday the whole gang decided it was time to hike to the top of the hill next to our condo to take in the views of Nice from above. It was a beautifully sunny morning, with clear, blue skies. Matt, Nancy, and Robert took the elevator to the top, but Michael, Anna, and I climbed the hill in an effort to enjoy the beautiful trails. Once at the top, it was a marvellous sight to see. We took our time taking pictures, relaxing in the sun, and checking out the archaeological sites throughout the park.

It was another slow day where Matt and I took full advantage of the perfect weather. We finally went out to the beach to lay out, and with the nice Mediterranean breeze, I fell right asleep. Unfortunately, this caused me to burn a little, but I didn’t mind, and it wasn’t a hot, Texas burn that I felt for days later. In fact, my freckles are still popping on my face. 🙂 After the beach, Matt, Michael, Anna and I went to the American bar for cocktails. We were there for quite awhile and had a fantastic time! At dinner that evening, I had the best pizza of the trip: a vegetarian with olives, artichoke, peppers, mushrooms, and onions. I scarfed that thing down in no time and took pleasure in the conversations and relaxing vibe around me. The previous two days were marvellous, more so because I was feeling so much better. Unfortunately, the trip was coming to a close, but we still had a flurry of activity to come.

The French Riviera

Taking good care of my veggie pizza!

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