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Day A4 - Mixed landscapes, mixed moods
March 1, 2013                            Nice to Antibes                                    11 miles
Modern condos 1
Modern condos 2

It was a blustery winter day by the seaside, and murky too. But at least it wasn't wet or really cold, and the wind was mainly from behind.

Breakfast in France can be as simple as coffee and a baguette with butter and jam. Most places add juice, a croissant, and one or more of the following: yogurt, cereal, fruit, cheese. The bread comes from local patisseries, baked as recently as an hour previously, on the theory that freshness can make white flour wholesome. The coffee is nearly always excellent, and is my favorite part of a French breakfast. Thusly fortified, and relaxed from the whole leisurely ritual, I stepped out of the hotel and into the din of a six-lane highway in rush hour.

The traffic thinned outside Nice, and for much of the morning I walked on the beach promenade along with dog owners braving the weather. One lady was loudly reprimanded by her Jack Russell terrier, who had turned to bark at her, and wouldn't stop, while at the same time fighting his leash. I offered her the consolation of a "Bon courage, Madame", which in retrospect could easily have drawn me into the action.  But the lady took it kindly, saying "One needs more than courage to tame this monster."

For a moment, I thought she was going to give me the dog. That would have taken quite some explaining back home: "But I thought you liked out-of-control French terriers, my dear."

A sight that interested me this morning was a group of modern buildings, architecturally distinctive by virtue of their curved sides and terraced facades which gave their residents sunny patios and privacy from being overlooked. I would happily have accepted a seat on one of the patios, along with a glass of beer or a cocktail, and a view of the sea. When I reached the building, no such invitation came my way. I passed by at street level behind the building where the tradespeople park.

My accommodation at today's destination of Antibes was two miles from the sea on the hill above the city where I hoped I'd find a great view of the city and coast. To get there, I wanted to avoid a four-mile roundtrip from Antibes town to the hotel, which was possible because there was a road to the hotel which started rather before the city - as long as I could find it. To position myself for this, I had to cross railroad tracks, swing on to another distinctly commercial highway, pass through a regional park, and hang a right at a street called chemin de Petit Four. This accomplished, a 250 ft climb was involved to get to my destination. The climb passed by single-family homes set amidst pine trees, a clearly peaceful ambiance. But, looking back from the top of the hill, my planned view of city and coast was obscured by overcast.

Today was an 11-mile hike through mixed landscapes that evoked mixed moods. It took only five hours, including a lunch break at McDonalds. For some reason, I lost the spring in my step. It wasn't a satisfying day.

Regional park before Antibes
Soulmate biker
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 2013 Daryl May