After a fun morning exploring all the in-town morning activities going on around Anitibes and just plain enjoying the sights in this beautiful city I arrived at the tender area to meet up with my tour group. Turned out that they ended up being about 30 minutes late but eventually all the people in Tour #15 gathered together and, with our tour guide Jane, walked about 10 minutes to the bus. Another beautiful, clean window bus with a good-looking, young driver.
Off we went to the north along the coast, on the road between the beach and the railroad tracks. Along the way, there were a few topless women on the smooth large gravel carpeted beach where cars parked right on next to the beach. The beach was pretty sparsely populated while in another few weeks it apparently would be completely packed with people without a parking spot in sight. Still, colorful umbrellas dotted the shoreline and casino clubs were just starting to park cars for their best, most anxious customers.
We passed a hotel designed by a famous designer that looked like sails and that caused the local planning board to change the design rules to be lower and more sedate. Finally, we turned inland and headed into the foothills towards St. Paul Vence. A few turns later we saw the walled city up in the hills. A classic medieval city, built by a wealthy king trying to ward off the Protestant catholic Spaniards who were trying to pick up some nice beach front property.
After departing the bus Jane continued to give us some color on the local area right up until we saw where Chagal was buried in the cemetery just outside the city’s walls. He was Jewish so there were rocks on top of the crypt of him, his wife and her brother. Something to do with Jews believing that rocks would help them achieve the afterlife or something like that.
I continued to take pictures of doorways, windows and other such stuff that would make Scott (the designer of our Carmel house) happy, had a coffee in what my brother Wayne would call a “hole in the wall” coffee shop, then headed to outside the city walls to have a coffee at the café where you could watch the older guys playing boules. It was great fun but before you knew it “our time was up” and I headed back to the bus for the ride back to the tender dock.
I sat on top of the tender, having a good time with all the folks up there, and, in general, all the people on this tour were quite fun, we finally made our way back to the Mariner on a beautiful evening in Antibes.
A few more interesting things about Antibes. It is one of the largest pleasure harbors in Europe and there are plenty of huge yachts. Russian oligarchs and middle-eastern rich guys (among other places) have their mega yachts in that harbor and those same guys have bid up the price of beach-front properties just outside the harbor to crazy prices, like $60-$100 million, trying to out-do each other. The most popular spot is the cape, a peninsula at the north end of town that is called Cap d’Antibes. They said that one oligarch paid something like $400 million for a place making it the most expensive house in the world. If I’m not mistaken I think that same guy bought the place we’ll discuss in Monte Carlo for about the same amount. He’s a very close friend, actually more like a son, to Putin.
Back in the room, Margaret was feeling better but not up to snuff. I went to the Observation Lounge to get two Pink Flowers. That worked so well I went up to get two more. Met a guy from San Francisco named Michael that had lost his wife (not on the ship…she had passed away a year ago) and told our bartender, Mahaela, that she made perfect Pink Flowers from the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.We ended up getting our gluten-free dinners in our room and they were OK. Made better by having our sliding glass door open on a beautiful night on the ocean with a semi-warm breeze blowing. Accompanied by some Penfolds 2008 Cabernet-Syrah.