Perhaps it was the cold, or my friends having left, or maybe it was just one of those days, but it seems like the previous post was an age ago, none of its words entirely relevant anymore…
As my train came down on Saturday night from the heights of Milan, I made my first attempt at broken Italian small-talk with the lady in the same cabin as me. She’d talked for most of the journey to another passenger in the cabin, but now that it was just us, for the next hour, I couldn’t well bury my head in my book and ignore everything else. She spoke not a word of English, and I only spoke some phrasebook sentences, concoctions of words that work on paper but never quite roll off your tongue the same way when speaking. Still, I managed to extract that she was from Milan, on vacation and heading to Cannes for a week, explaining that I myself was from Australia, had seen much of Italy over the previous week and from Nice I would be heading to Barcelona. And then the train turned, and the sea appeared out the window.
I was entranced.
The sun setting over the Bay of Genoa dropped my jaw, and instantly all thoughts of throwing in the towel were forgotten (thoughts harboured even after buying tickets to Barcelona and booking accomodation, â‚¬420 total). The lady chuckled, and the only word I understood from the remainder of her babble was “bella”, beautiful. I continued to repeat this word over the next half hour or so as we went from Genoa to Nice, along some of the most spectacular coastline I have seen. When I reached my hotel that night, I dropped my bags and ran to the shore, a minute away, walking along the Promendade de Anglais at 9pm, loving the sea breeze and the lap of the gentle waves. It was twice as nice the next morning, the gorgeous blue Mediterranean touching the blue, blue sky.
I have a theory going on this sudden reversal of mood – you can’t take me away from the sea for too long, or at least the idea of an Australian seaside. Venice was by the sea, true, but this was much more like what I was used to – sweeping bay, open water, lovely sun. Sure, the beach was rocks instead of sand, and there were parts of it sectioned off (sacrilege!), and there weren’t really waves as such (much more like Port Phillip Bay).
I have another theory which basically follows the idea that I’m a sun & summer lover, and Milan was too cold and cloudy, so my mood dropped through the floor. Plus I posted at night after wandering empty streets alone, and that could only detract further. Nice is nice, no other way to put it.
Either way, this place is gorgeous beyond doubt. I could well live here if I learnt a little french, and if I found a decent bloody restaurant somewhere around here. It’s gorgeous.
Onwards, to Barecelona! Olé!