Another packed day of people, laughter and awesome encounters!
Started off the day by looking at the map, I had to get to the train station in Nice to meet my friend Kasia arriving from Dijon in the afternoon. I learned then that we were in fact very close to the coastal metropolis, maybe 20 or 25km away… and the ride to the Mediteranean would be all downhill! If my biking spirit had forgotten what easy and leisurely biking was like, it would remember it today.
We whiled away the morning chatting, working and munching on delicious snacks with Iza and her friend Pierre. The two of them, proudly in their 50s, were loving my biking project and eager to hear more about it, regardless of any nostalgia it might bring up for them. Pierre in particular, with shining eyes, told me of his biking, touring and travelling adventures from way back when, some of which also took place in Canada during a dog-sledding expedition he undertook in Quebec. He was amazed at all of the networks available to travellers and bicycle tourists these days, he loved hearing about the WWOOF, Couchsurfing and WarmShowers networks. By the end of it, I could tell he had been bitten by the bicycle bug like so many of those I meet – he wanted to get back out on the road too! “But, Katya (as he liked to call me by the Russian version of my name), what will my wife say when she hears that I am sleeping on stranger’s sofas?”.
I had planned to leave at noon, knowing that in good company noon would morph into 14:00, and indeed I didn’t get going to Nice until past that time. The hour long trip from Iza’s was effortless, as I flew down the mountains I had biked so hard to get up, reaching the coast in no time and continuing east along the bicycle paths until I reached Nice.
I rolled into the train station and found Kasia there, rested from her train ride, with panniers, sleeping bag and all the necessities for surviving her 2 weeks with me on the road. Kasia and I are good friends, back from our days at the University of Calgary, with more things in common than just a first name. We are both Polish-Canadian (although she grew up in Saskatchewan and I in Alberta), we speak the same languages, and share many interests including healthy eating and biking. I am happy to spend time with her and discover a different biking dynamic than the solo-travelling I have been doing thus far!
So, having successfully found eachother in the touristy and overcrowded mess of downtown Nice we headed over to our Couchsurfing host for the next 2 nights – his name was Alex and he lived in a clean and quiet flat with his 5 year-old son Sandro. We immediately settled in and felt right at home, helped I’m sure by our host’s attending to our every need and desire – he even gave up his bed so that we could rest more comfortably!
In the evening, we spent a short while visiting vieux-Nice (the historical area), with a quick visit to the beach at night too.
A few more photos for you,
- Pierre helping me tweek some bits on the bike
- Iza and Pierre
- Nice beach at night
- one more photo of beautiful “Graine et Ficelle”