As we boarded our Holland America cruise liner at Civtavecchia and began to set sail I straight away noticed the relaxed care free feeling that customarily comes over me when I am on a cruise. From the epicurean dinners to the fine wine and cocktails to the beautiful public spaces and comfortable accommodations, cruising is an almost worry free way to see the world. Not to mention that the entertainment is often Broadway quality. We were diverted from our first port of call and docked in Genoa, Italy.
Genoa has a population of over six hundred thousand inhabitants, according to Wikipedia. My only memory of Genoa’s history was that Christopher Columbus was born there…but even that is of historical question.
In any case our first stop was little more than our standing on the dock and walking to a nearby merchant area…where they watched us with a skeptical eye.
The next day we went ashore at Cannes, France. We boarded a bus for a guided tour of Cannes, Eze, and Nice. These towns line the historic French Riviera. Cannes was very interesting in that the Cannes Film Festival was transpiring while we were driving through. We looked intently for famous movie stars but sadly the guide told us it was a bit to early for them as they usually came out mid-afternoon. We did see the famous red carpet. The population is roughly seventy-three thousand people. The famous film festival began in September, 1946.
Eze was where we took a walking tour of this small town in the mountains. Eze has a population of just under three thousand people. Eze is sometimes referred to as the “eagles nest” due to its’ height of 1,401 feet above sea level. We virtually toured the entire town and visited many of the small quaint shops…first by walking up the steep incline and then down to return to the bus. We stood in front of the Fragonard Perfume store for some time but did not go in. Three years later in Grasse we did go in and stayed for some time.
Nice was an exciting destination for us as we were to have lunch with our friend of many years Margo. We were to meet by the old opera house. Thus we asked the tour guide to let us depart from the bus and tour…and inquired when and where we should meet again for the return trip to the ship. As we looked for Margo I noticed the extreme beauty of the old city. The buildings were unique in their architectural structure and close proximity.
The picture of Nice above was taken June 2014 and not the time of this blog which was May, 2011.
We had a lovely lunch and then perused an outdoor antique market. I noticed both at lunch and during our walk through the market that many of the residents had their dog or dogs with them. We learned that the french take their dogs virtually everywhere with them and it is culturally acceptable. Nice is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe and has three hundred days of sunshine annually.
I think everyone but me indulged in some gelato just before we departed from Margo to board our bus. Watching them eat…I wished that I had joined them. We decided that someday we would like to return to Nice for a few days rather than being bound by a cruise line minimal land schedule.