Travel Journal: France
I'd never seen a sea more blue, a sky more calming, or a sun more bright. I'm confident that God worked overtime when he created the French Riviera. He maketh me lie down under exotic palm trees. The beach runneth over with rocks—a marked improvement over the sticky sand-filled beaches that I know from home. Surely this place was filled with goodness.
The next day was even better. I woke up around 6 a.m. and decided to chase the moon along the coast. I ran past the early morning street-sweepers, excited dogs walking their owners, and a group of middle-aged bicyclists. I took note of the sailors and fishers out in the sea. I laughed at the collection of young travelers who, from the looks of it, had come to the beach after a long night of partying. The waves were beautifully powerful—they pushed inland and purified the shore. My eye wandered to a tiny airplane descending onto the landing strip at the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport, which sticks out because of its placement at the southernmost tip of the city, flush with the Mediterranean Sea.
I came to the conclusion that as travelers, we're looking for some sort of supernatural shock. Either we want to see a place that has customs and social norms that are alien compared to how we live and act, or we want to see a place that is more sublime than our wildest dreams. To put it plainly, we want to see something different.
That's why we allowed Nice to captivate us. Everything in Nice was more than my feeble senses were used to—the smells from the beachfront restaurants, the feeling of the sun on my skin, the way in which the water never ended.
I used my second day in Nice to do even more of what I did on day one. After breakfast the group decided to hike through the Old Town en route to Castle Hill. From its famous waterfall, we had a panoramic view of the city center. If I hadn't fallen in love with the city the evening before, that spring day would've been as good a time as any. It was perfect.
I swam in the Mediterranean Sea. I dried off in the sun. I rented a pair of roller blades and scooted down the coast, hopping over curbs and whizzing past pedestrians. We ate a beach-side meal of king prawns and rice. We rode to Monaco by train, walked on the game floor inside the Monte Carlo Casino, and ventured back to Nice. We awoke the next morning, gathered our belongings, walked to the beach one last time, and boarded a train back to Strasbourg.
Leaving a place you love is hard, and I thought that my return to Strasbourg would be less than amazing weather-wise. I believed that I'd be met with cold winds that would cause me to long for Nice. To my surprise, this could not have been further from the truth. It seemed that the sun had decided to follow us back to Alsace to remind us of a week well-spent in the south of France. Nice was nice, and spring had sprung.
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