The first thing I noticed about Nice, the one in the South of France, just to clarify, as soon as I stepped off the plane is that it is most definitely not Manchester. Now, I know and am fully aware that this is rather an obvious statement based on Geography, language and the ability to name more wines that red, white and the one that is sort of pinkish, but it is worth stating. I first noticed this as a plush, sleek and malicious Helicopter landed in the space next to my Easyjet flight. I then noticed this again as I turned behind me on the link tunnel from the plane and noticed the delicately Azure, Mediterranean sea twinkling teasingly behind me, beckoning me to just jump right in. It was then hammered home as my City link bus set off to the city centre and we passed by a gaggle of palm trees (is that the correct collective term for palm trees? Perhaps it should be a “smug” or an “elegance” of palm trees). Now, I am as fiercely protective of Manchester and its reputation as any, but where as Nice has its palm tress, its twinkling blue sea and its Mediterranean temperature, Manchester Airport has argumentative taxi drivers with bad jumpers(sweaters,pullovers) and the biggest Council housing estate in Europe (reference 1972 almanac of building stuff). In short there is no comparison.
The bus worked as it should do, we were dropped off at the Gare Nice Ville (or Nice train station to the uninitiated) where, having had to photograph the enormously flashing and blue sign that simply said “SEX”, I was met by my charming Rep, Katie. I had come to Nice to take photos. Lots of photos. Lots and lots of photos. Luckily, this has not been a chore in any way shape or form.
Left alone and at large in my wonderful apartment in the Musiciens district of Nice, I plonked myself on the settee and had a chat with myself. Where to start? I opened the map and quickly realised that, pretty much like every other map I have ever seen, or been threatened with, it made as much sense to me as major lung surgery. I have no sense of direction. I have seemingly lost the ability to make any semblance of sense of what is near, or vaguely close to what else and how to get there. I have largely had to rely on wife for that. She understands directions, she understands maps. I do not. Having pondered this over the years I have painfully come to the conclusion that this is probably due to the fact that I am in no way looking at where I need to go, or indeed any element of the map at all. Where I should be doing just this, I am largely looking up and looking for the weird and the wonderful. An example of this is the time I found a Pigeon with no feet whatsoever on a wall and spent 10 minutes watching it rather than looking where I should be going. But I ask you, which is more fun??
It was with this in mind that, through a fog of caffeine mania, calmed with beer soaked stillness I set foot outside of my apartment in search of the glorious Russian Orthodox Cathedral and immediately set off in the wrong direction. On a good day, with no major weather impediments, the bastion of Russian worship in Nice should have only been a 5-10 minute walk from my front door. Two hours later I found it, completely enveloped in scaffolding and whatever passes for industrial strength packing paper. I was not happy….
to see more, visit www.pdkimages.co.uk
This blog was most definitely assisted by the wonderful people at www.nicepebbles.com/. Please go and have a look at their excellent website.