- The volcano ash held off just enough to get my mom to Germany. But not to Geneva.
- My mom took the train to Basel, Switzerland, where I drove 6 hours to get her (roundtrip).
- That same day, my replacement arrived.
- After a day in Thoiry, showing my replacement and mom around, my mom and I flew to Nice.
- We then spent the next 6 days in the French Riviera.
- The next day my mom and I flew back home...to good old Valparaiso, IN.
If you're curious about the Riviera, I'll briefly describe the cities we visited, but I'm really not going to write too much.
Cannes- This was our home-base. To use a word to describe this city: Rich. Huge yachts, grand hotels, and snobby families all around. We stayed at one so-so hotel and one that was simply -pardon the gay-word- fabulous. We used a day to lay on the beach and another to take a short boat ride to a small island just off the coast (a jail where the Man in the Iron Mask was kept).
St. Paul de Vence- This was my mom's favorite city (town). Only a short bus ride inland, and we were perched on an old, medievel hill town. Basically, the town was filled with many little shops and artist shops. One word: Picturesque. It was like a fairytale.
Nice- One word to describe this city: Diverse. You have a glitsy beachfront, a charming old town, an Italian flair, and a laidback Mediiterranean feel. We really didn't do much but see the market, old town, Russian church (?!), beachfront, and castle hill. All wonderful. This city was perfect.
Monaco- Ok, this is a country. But this might have been my favorite places we saw. My one word: Inaccessable. This city literally begins on the sea and works its way up a mountain's side. Everything is on a hill. This makes it seem like you can only get to places my climbing a huge hill. In addition to this, the money there is ridiculous. Ferrari's, Bentley's, Rolls', etc...commonplace. It feels like you're intruding on an elitist country club. With all that being said, the city is immaculate. Everything seems perfect. We saw an unrated palace, a very nice aquarium, the famous casino, and the GORGEOUS scenery. This might have been my favorite scenery of my entire year.
Villefranche- What Monaco is, Villefranche isn't. This is a sleepy fishing town that actually fishes. We saw fishermen trying their craft on the shore and some preparing for next day's adventure. The word to describe Villefranche: cozy. It was quaint and cute. Just perfect to finish a trip to the Riviera. This isn't an extremely popular destination, but it should be.