I got here two days ago and have spent so many hours beach-side. Life is so good.
Having been to Nice before, I don’t feel so obligated to see all the sights, and although I spend the hot part of the days roaming, I have no particular destination in mind. Yesterday I spent the morning walking through the Fruit and Flower Market in Old Nice, which was just wonderful. Old Nice is spectacular–so many narrow streets, so much shade, so many things to see. It feels way more Italian than Aix (which makes sense, given how close Nice is to Italy. A lot of Italians visit here). Everything is colorful: the buildings are pink or peach, the shutters are green or blue or yellow, and the shops display wears in a whole rainbow of hues. I ate world-class gelato in Cactus-flavor (I was thirsty), walked down the boardwalk, and then, in the heat of the day, I decided to climb a very big hill.
I climbed to see views of Nice beach. And it was spectacular. I could see clear through the water and down to the ocean floor below (or it appeared so…), the red roofs of Old Nice and the new white modern facades further on, and all the people on the beach (Nice beach is very crowded). And then, since it was so hot, I went to the beach myself.
Ah, that water! It is so cool and clear, so marvelously blue, so pleasant to float in! I swam and swam and swam, and today I’m going back to swim some more. The beach itself is pebbly, so it’s OK to lie about on the beach in the sun (and I did, and I will again), it’s more pleasant to swim through that water. Someone explained to me that the Mediterranean is so salty that it is therefore more buoyant than some other oceans. The best thing, though, is that the water’s color changes, becoming lighter as the wave gets closer to shore. In the shallowest parts, the water is very light and it looks almost opaque; farther out, it blooms into a more translucent teal before settling to a dark but vibrant ocean blue. It’s a little rough, producing waves farther out so that occasionally when I was floating I’d get a faceful of salt water. But overall, glorious.
The hostel I’m staying in here is full of people my age and it’s a great change from Aix, where no one went to the bar and it seemed really empty. This place is teeming with activity; it’s great. I’m going back to the beach today, but there are lots of great beaches just a busride away, so maybe I will go further up the coast in search of a sandy beach. I leave tomorrow for Paris, where I will do some last minute getting-ready and also go to some museums &c., but today is devoted to r&r.
AFTERNOON UPDATE: Went to Cap d’Ail with an Irish girl and two Americans, and walked from there to Monaco. Jumped from cliffs into great green-blue sea, floated around, and had a fantastic picnic lunch. The bus from Nice followed a route that hugged the coast, so I’ve seen gorgeous cliffs and enormous yatchs and fabulously beautiful people. Sad to leave tomorrow, obviously.