“Inspiration can hit you at any time.”
I found that quote, in English, on the back of the napkin in our bread basket at the very first dinner with the WYSU/Go Ahead tour group in France. Following that phrase were several blank lines, just waiting for a pen and writer, perhaps that traveler, full of a first French meal of swordfish, white wine and the excitement of being in a new place for the first time. As it is my first time in France, I am taking it as a good sign that I will be able to share the experience with you here on the WYSU webite, and possibly inspire you to travel.
Not off to a super start, as I am already a day behind in my first post -- blame the aiport/transport delays -- and a tedious struggle to connect all my electronics to the internet. It is not as easy as you might think, even though cell phones and wifi seem to make the world go round now. Thanks to Verizon and the very helpful Roaming Support staff – I am now connected.
After a first flight into Paris, our group of 43 boarded another flight to Nice on the southern coast of France. We disembarked at mid-afternoon (Thank you, Air France, for the amazing landing despite rain and powerful tailwinds!) and immediately found Jean Jacques – JJ – at the airport. He is the tour guide for Go Ahead and will be with us until the last of us depart for home on May 12. An energetic guy in a trench coat, he speaks great English with a deep voice and heavy French accent. We all piled into the luxurious and large tour bus and head through old Nice to our hotel, with JJ narrating all the way.
Here are some interesting things learned from one short bus trip – with the lovely beaches of Nice on the right, and the hotels and shops on the left.
- The term French Riviera is something we Americans came up with – here they call it the “Cote d’Azur” or coast of blue. (And not just any blue -- “Blue like the sky,” JJ says)
- Nice was founded by the Greeks, who named it Nike – a word that means “victory.” (So know we know where the shoe came from!)
- Nice hosts a huge Jazz Festival in July.
- There is a ‘boardwalk’ here called the Promenade des Anglais. No planks or decking, and the beach is lovely, but... mostly rocks. (JJ pointed out the rocks ensure a back massage when you are lying on the beach.)
- Nice looks a lot like Italy – which makes sense since for awhile it was under Italian rule.
Many of you WYSU supporters and listeners might be wondering, how is Barbara doing? She won’t be on the air on 88.5 WYSU for a 12 days, as she is HERE keeping all 43 of us together. And she is doing great! I don’t think she has stopped smiling since we arrived this afternoon. She is reunited with her friend JJ and a pack of fun ladies who traveled with her last year on the Go Ahead Tour to Peru.
Tomorrow we will tour some areas of Provence near Nice, like Saint Jean Cape Ferratt , a villa and a fragrance factory. I will share... and hopefully inspire.