Friday, July 19, 2013

St Paul de Vence

My friend Steve hates Facebook. He says it’s too selective and you can chose to project any image you want. I think that’s a great thing. Another friend shared something about her toddler and the response from a friend was “You make motherhood seem so pleasant and easy” She answered “That's because I don't post the 'non-proud' mama moments” I think that’s okay. Some people need to edit their posts a little more and think more about the image they are projecting. Personally, I like to make it look like I’m a cool, calm, confident traveler and only here in my blog do I share the “rest of the story” that and admit that I actually mess up all the time. ;)

So yesterday was my day off. A big part of me just wanted to stay home and sleep in but when I suggested that on FB everyone encouraged me to go exploring instead so I did. (Peer pressure, it’s a wonderful thing). My friend Tommy had suggested a little village by the name of “St. Paul de Vence”. It’s not far from where I am in Cannes and it looked like a fun day trip. I live on top of a hill though, just out of reach of the local transit system so I have to rely on my boss for rides into town. It’s usually not a big deal, it’s just that this particular day he had a golf game scheduled for 8:30 so I had to be up and ready to go by 8. I did and it was fine. Got to the train station, bought my ticket, took the train to the closest town to St. Paul where I had to catch a bus. All this I knew because I had researched it the night before.
So I’m in the train station and I confirm with the clerk that the bus I want is the 400 which I catch just outside. She spoke really fast so I heard the part that confirmed “to the right and 400”. Good. Apparently I missed the part about using the stop “across the street”. So I go to the stop, wait for the bus (which takes almost a half hour), get on and we start driving. I don’t remember when I started doubting that this was the correct route. Probably when we passed the airport in Nice. I kept telling myself that the bus would just loop back and proceed to St. Paul…which it did…after an HOUR. Ugh. When I decided to “go exploring”, taking a bus trip of Nice wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Not to mention that at one point we apparently reached the “end of the line” and I had to get off and get back on the exact same bus, but pay an extra euro fifty for the pleasure. Stupid. 

Anyway, so the bus finishes its loop, back past the train station, and then proceeds to climb the hill. I know the stop I need to get off at is the “Village” de St. Paul. Okay, so we’re driving along and we pass a cute town with a neat looking church and I see that the bus stop says “Village”. This is it! Never mind that most people stay on the bus. St. Paul is a very touristy town. I should have known it was too soon (what is WITH me and getting off too soon???) Turns out the town I stopped at was La Colle Sur Loup. I convinced myself that it was a good thing that I stopped there for three reasons. 1) The people in the visitors centre were super friendly and loaded me up with all sorts of brochures and maps of the area. 2) I got to use their bathroom for free…if you don’t count the euro fifty it cost me to take the bus for the last three kilometers to St. Paul. (I considered walking but it was HOT out and all uphill so I just waited for the bus again). I’ll come to the third reason later.
Okay, so I finally get to St. Paul de Vence. It is a super cute walled, medieval village. It’s pretty touristy but that’s how things are on the French Riviera. It attracts a lot of cruise ship passengers too. I start by having my first French crepe and my beloved Orangina and then go walk around the town. The visitors centre offered guided tours for just five euro so I sign up for one at 3pm. This was at just past noon. Yes it took me almost four hours to get from Cannes to St. Paul. Pathetic isn’t it? Anyway I wandered around the town checking out the shops and taking pictures of adorable alley ways and beautiful flowers. Around 2 it starts POURING. The cafes and restaurants immediately fill up with people seeking shelter. I hung out in the church for a while and then just kept shopping. It was so warm that even though I got wet, my clothes dried quickly. Plus the streets are very narrow so there wasn’t as much rain falling as there would have been in a more open area.
So the tour is at 3, and I’m  the only one on it. Sweet! Personalized tours are always the best. And for the record, I really need to find a tour everywhere I go. Just suck it up and pay for it, because I enjoy myself SO much more when I do. So reason #3 why it’s okay that I stopped at La Colle Sur Loup. We’re doing the tour and the guide is explaining that when the city walls were reinforced up to forty or fifty houses were removed to make way for the thicker walls. Those residents were displaced across the valley to…La Colle Sur Loup! It’s totally random but it made me feel better about inadvertently stopping there. Because the two cities are “linked” and I had seen the clock tower that he pointed out up close <3 o:p="">

Anyway, after a series of stupid mistakes my day actually turned out really well. After the tour I caught the bus/train back to Cannes without issue and then just hung around town until my boss picked me up. He asked how long it took to get to St. Paul and I just claimed that I hadn’t looked at the time. I didn’t feel like explaining my stupidity LOL Remember, cultivate an image ;)

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