Nice impressions so far

(written by Dave)

We survived three days of French class. So far, we are keeping up ok, but it’s not too hard when the first day is a short city tour with our instructor and the second day is mostly how to introduce ourselves. Today things started to get a bit harder as we learned more new words and I’m sure that it will get much harder in no time. The instructor is still speaking a little English in class but has promised that this will soon end. As we expected, it really does help hearing French on the street and everywhere else outside of class. It is much easier to get it. While we are excited about having a language stick, we will try to resist the urge to post any blog text in French. We’ll try saving our showing off for local orders of baguettes and the like though we are still very much brought back to earth when the proprietor strays from our familiar dialogue.

The school is about a 10-15 minute walk from our flat. It is a good way to wake up – it’s a bit brisk here in the mornings! We are gradually expanding our circle of known streets here in Nice. So far, no matter how far we travel, almost every street contains at least one bread shop (boulangerie) and quite often a chocolate shop. Nancy is determined to try a chocolate (or two) from each of the shops. The shopping area of Nice was very quiet on Sunday (New Year’s day) but has really come to life now that the holidays are over. Nice is considered a “working” city on the Riviera, unlike Monaco, which is considered a holiday destination. Nice is also very close to Italy and was in fact part of Italy until 200 years ago. This means we hear lots of Italian and there are many pizza restaurants. We have lots of places to try out. I see lots of eating in my future for the next two months…

We are sorry to report that many dog owners here are not so good at picking up after their dogs. We have to be especially careful walking to class in the morning as it appears that the offending dog owners get an early start in fouling the foot paths. I hope I don’t see too many owners behaving this way as I will probably have to say something, which would more than likely have no effect on the owner and while very much embarrassing Nancy.

Yesterday we had lunch at a cafe near the school. I had a salami baguette and Nancy had a croque monsieur (cheese sandwich). We thought that both of these would have been “standards” of the mid-day meal but got the distinct feeling from the waitstaff that these were not considered lunch, rather they were simply snacks. The traditional French lunch is more like an Aussie/American dinner with proper plates of food, starters and likely a glass of wine. We may try this someday, when we have time for an afternoon nap or at least a two hour lunch.

So, we are settling in and getting the swing of Nice. We had hoped to have the best breadshop located before Nancy’s mom arrives on Friday but there are just too many to try out and we can’t possibly eat that much bread. The end of the holiday season in France is marked on the 6th of January, with the Christian holiday festival of Epiphany. This is not a globally celebrated Christian holiday and here it seems more about cake. They have a special cake that contains one small trinket said to represent the baby Jesus. The cake is called the Cake of the King and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. We’ll report later on who finds the trinket. Our French instructor has warned us to be wary of breaking a tooth while eating cake, seems like a good way to mess up cake to me. Anyway, we are eyeing cakes in all the bakeries, waiting for Nancy’s mom to arrive to help us with the final decision.

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7 thoughts on “Nice impressions so far

    • I thought Mats was cooking when he gets here… We’ll show him where the stores are. The check out girls are young and like to flirt. Tell him to practice his French.


  1. Eeeeno,

    Welcome back to civilization! Stepping in dog poop now and again is a small price to pay for good food, fine wine, predictable hotels and learning a romantic language. A belated Happy New Year to you guys and keep on truckin’.

    A la prochaine,


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