Day 10- Villefranche (Eze,Nice…)

Up early as usual. I felt a TON better today and am back to my chipper self. Daddy got breakfast and brought it to the room. I actually ate breakfast for the first time in three days!

We all got cleaned up and met up with G’ma/G’pa at 9 am to get our tender tickets. Pretty flawless… because I was in the stroller they made us wait in the top of the theatre (where we picked up the tickets) and we got on the next tender to shore. The tender was a quick 10-15 min ride and we were in the city of Villefranche.

We got directions and travel tips to get to Eze and Nice and headed for the bus station. Daddy (and Mommy) were huffing and puffing pushing me up to the top of the hill and negotiating the hundreds of steps to get to the bus terminal.

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I think it started Daddy out in a grumpy mood — he was certainly sweating by the time we got to the bus station. I really shouldn’t call it a “station” — it’s an alcove between buildings — think standard bus stop. Anyway, we found the cute little park across from the bus stop — very pretty. It’s bus #100 to Nice and then bus #82 or #112 to Eze and then taxi home or reverse route… but some of the busses are TINY and the line for them was LONG. By the way, there are maps in the little “port building” you walk through when you get off the tender — they are at the desk that has English speaking guides (tourist info people) to help you figure things out. Busses to Nice are 1.30e each way (but I don’t know if I needed a ticket or not — or whether the drivers would make change).

We gave up after 20 minutes of waiting and opted to walk around town for a bit and find a taxi. It didn’t help that another cruise ship (Celebrity Cruises Millennium) was in port and a lot of people were on foot. So we went up and down hills and streets. Very pretty town. Plenty of places to eat and shop. The town is NOT stroller friendly.

Think a town built on a steep hill (cliff face almost) with super narrow streets that fit one car wide with no room for strollers or thousands upon thousands of steps at *exactly* the wrong depth to make going up and down on a stroller easy.

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Narrow streets…ugh!
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Mommy not having fun pushing me all around.
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We stopped to rest our legs and everyone but Mommy and I got a coffee.

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Anyway, after exploring for a while we got back to the port and waited a while for a cab (call the phone # posted to get a cab quicker… no special prefix or anything with T-mobile, just dial the number as shown on the taxi stand sign — it turns out a lot of people hired out the taxis for the entire day or went rather far so the town’s supply was limited). 35e for the 5 (4 adults and me…Lumpy too!) to get from the Villefranche port building to the Eze village. Motion sickness is included for free. Talk about windy roads and narrow switch-backs leading from town up to the main thoroughfare. Do make sure to negotiate the price before getting in the cab — the cab to Eze was 35e but the driver for the return tried to charged 55e and we told him “NO, 35e” He agreed. They speak English well enough to haggle!

Eze was also stroller challenging, but we enjoyed it. We went to the “old village”. G’ma picked up some extra maps of the old village from the tourist center located where most tour busses and taxis will drop you off. Well worth asking the driver where the building is and where to get a return taxi before getting out and/or paying him! Think bohemian arts — lots of little shops with glass, paintings, hand-made crafts, etc. All expensive (generally) — but cute. Stroller tip: keep to the middle of the walkways on the red pavers — just keep going along like you’re not going to swerve and others will get out of your way. It’s far smoother than getting a wheel or two onto the cobbles. Talk about bouncy! I think I’m still talking kind of like kermit the frog from all the vibrations of the stroller!

The view from the top was amazing. You could see the Magic (Mickey Ship) WAY down in the water.

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We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Chateau Eza. E-mail before you leave the states if you can find their web site and make a reservation. We were extremely lucky to get a table. Absolutely spectacular view.

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It’s truly on a cliff face looking out to the ocean and over toward the port. The only thing higher than the Chateau Eza was the Exotic Gardens (Jardin Exotique). The meal was pricey, but for a “one great meal” type experience it’s worth it. There were two fixed price menus (35e and 45e for 3 or 4 courses) along with ala carte choices if preferred but I opted for peanut butter and cheese crackers (and fell asleep in the middle of eating one!) Mommy had a salad with truffles — yes actual black truffles (thinly sliced) on it — she ate light because she’s feeling off the past few days. Daddy and G’ma/G’pa had the 35e menu — it started with a red tuna tartare served with well aged balsamic vinegar and a zucchini round with egg yolk, followed by a chicken breast stuffed with an olive paste served with asparagus and some type of mashed (and seasoned) potato formed into “thick” fries. Not “french fries” but similar look. Fantastic taste. Dessert (included) was a creme brulee and a small pot of chocolate. Tres bien! The only warning: The bottles of Evian (50cL) are 5e each, and the glasses of champagne they offer when you are seated is 20e (but G’ma and G’pa said it’s excellent). The salad Mommy had was around 12e. So, it’s not cheap but worth every “e”, especially if you go easy on the water and skip the champagne. Daddy just reminded me it’s a 1 star Michellan restaurant so it’s relatively well rated. I’ve heard that Chateau de la Chevre d’Or is also splendid but even more expensive.

After lunch we wandered into the old church and looked around a bit more.

I liked walking on the pebble covered ground.
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But had to check out all the rocks.
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Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed the view below.
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I took time to smell some flowers.
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Grandpa Howie took a few pictures.
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Oh, I got a QUICK public diaper change… Grandma was the lookout!
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Much better!
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More stairs?
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But what a VIEW!
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Simply amazing! What a way to wrap the the vacation.
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We finally decided to head back to Villefranche and eventually caught a cab (expect to wait at least 20 minutes for a cab — even if you call). When we got back to port, we had a glace at a place across the street from the port building but it was 3.50e for a medium (one and a half small scoops) and terrible! (Think cheap, foamy ice cream). Ick!

We got back to the ship and Mommy dropped me at the nursery where I stayed for a bit until I had an inconsolable melt down and she had to come retrieve me. I’m so glad Flounder’s nursery gives out pagers. Mommy and Daddy aren’t, but I am 🙂 Mommy got to the nursery and I had tears streaming down my face and was nearly hyperventilating. I calmed down nearly instantly when I saw Mommy. So all is well, I just don’t like to be away from Mommy or Daddy.

Dinner was yummy… macaroni for me again and everyone else had French onion soup and lobster. Mommy still has a seafood aversion… UGH!

I had a quick bath and said goodbye to the Mediterranean.
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Then I caught a few more Disney cartoons before bed.
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Early bed for all of us as we are TOTALLY exhausted today. I was down at 8:50 and Mommy and Daddy a few mintues later.

Tomorrow is at sea day. Time to pack the bags and finish the last minute stuff up.

Mommy HATES packing.
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The journey has had it’s ups and downs but we enjoyed ourselves. We just want to go home! I want my own bed back that doesn’t move so much and confine me so much. I miss my other Lumpys and toys.

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