We awoke Sunday morning in the harbor of Villefrance which is close to both Nice and Monaco. By 7:30AM, we were in the theater at the bow of the ship sitting waiting to be called for our excursion and to get on the tenders to ride from the Voyager of the Seas to the dock (the boat was WAAAAY too big to dock there). I stopped to use the toilet before getting on the bus (a mistake) and so we ended up at the back... Not good for Lisa's motion sickness.
We drove around some beautiful (and windy) roads and ended up in downtown Nice. We had a wonderful walking tour of Nice and really enjoy the tour guide, Virginie, who would be with us for our entire 10 hour day. I had been in Nice in 1997 for a TechEd (at the Acropolis Conference center) and knew how lovely it is. Lisa was enthralled. We ended up in the market and Lisa was on a mission to try European pizza (this will be a recurring theme...). We found a lady selling pizza by the slice and shared two slices. They were reheated by a fire in a large steel barrel. We were in love with the one without cheese (but with anchovies) because it had a different spicy flavor than we had encountered before. Soon, we were parading through Nice following the lady with the one foot diameter "4" on it since we were one of fifty or so on bus number 4. Of course, at each stop we had a few people late and we were standing around waiting...
After an hour or so of driving around this beautiful area, we ended up at a restaurant in Eze, a medieval town. Actually, the restaurant was outside the old city walls (about 2000 people live in Eze total but only about 50 within the old walls of the city). As we were sitting at the lunch table, another couple approached us and asked if they could join us for lunch and we agreed. Roger and D'Arcy are from Bermuda and were out to see the Mediterranean for a quick one week getaway. We hit it off with the two of them immediately and laugh quite a bit together. Soon, lunch was over and we were climbing the stairs up and up to the old village and church. It was astonishing to me how easy it seemed to climb after all out work at the gym. Of course, we had a fixed rendezvous time to gather at the bus. Lisa was determined to sit closer to the front (to reduce the motion sickness) and so we made our way back about 10 minutes early and sat in the second row on the left side. We were astonished when Roger and D'Arcy returned to the bus and had the two seats immediately across from us... it seemed clear we were destined to spend more time together!
Soon, we were off to Monaco! More driving on beautiful (but windy) roads with magnificent views... Now, we were able to chat with Roger and D'Arcy as they sat right across from us on the bus.
Next, of course, was waiting by a sign with a big "4" while we tried to get everyone together. Next, we drove a short distance to the famous Casino in Monte Carlo so we could enter and see that. By now, we were having a ton of fun with D'Arcy and Roger. Here's a photo of D'Arcy, Roger, and Lisa in front of the Casino. Notice the orange sticker with a "4" brandishing us as members of tour group and bus number "4"
Of course, gathering after the free time at the Casino led to a major chaos waiting for one couple that seemed to have gotten lost finding their way back to the bus. We waited over 30 minutes with all of us on the bus and the tour leader (who we really liked) racing all over trying to find them... The rest of us are wondering if the big cruise ship is going to leave us and how the heck we would deal with that!!! Even on our first day, we were getting fed up with the bus thing... We did well in the traffic and made it back to the tender and ship just fine. Being tired and knowing we had an earlier start the next day, we decided we couldn't wait until our late seating at 9:30. Besides, none of us wanted to bother with getting dressed up for the formal night. So, we went to the buffet line (the "Windjammer") with our new friends and had a fun time eating too much mediocre food. It was fun!
We returned to the room to a cute towel animal crab from our very nice cabin attendant...
A fun day!!!