May 21, 2012 – Today the plan was to go back to Antibes and visit the Picasso museum.
But plans are made to be broken.
We decided to walk into Juan les Pins and check out the train station to get an idea of cost and schedules. When we arrived, the schedule indicated that the train went through on the way to Cannes about every half hour or so.
So, still picking sand out of our teeth from the winds yesterday, we decided to go to Cannes instead.
We went up to the booth and I said “Deux pour Cannes” and he said something back to me, and I stared at him blankly. Like I said, I have rudimentary French skills. He then said “Round trip?” OH! Yes please! “9.40 Euros”. Kirk said “For two” and the ticket agent looked at us like we were a bit stupid and said “Oui!” and handed us a ticket when we handed him a ten euro note. So it cost about 2.70 euros each way for each of us.
A British fellow had been in front of us and had asked which train to Cannes, the agent had said, “Not this next one.” When we went out onto the platform there were a lot of people, and a train rolled in shortly thereafter. The board said something other than Cannes, so we didn’t get on. But everyone else did, including the British fellow. When we were standing there alone, I realized that the board held more information, like the fact that the train that we didn’t get on had a stop in Cannes. Oh well, another one would be along in 30 minutes.
So, once we finally got on the train, it only took about ten minutes before we were deposited at a VERY busy station, at which the train basically emptied and we were carried along in a wave of people and out into one very, very busy city.
The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing, and the city has become swollen with people. Shopping is very high end here, the city is filled with money, and the goods are priced to take it from them. Jewellery and watches fill windows, prices in the tens of thousands of euros. The rain held off for a couple of hours, and then started to fall. Have you ever noticed that umbrellas seem unimportant until you need one? We went into a store to see if we could buy one and retreated when a simple little one cost 24 euros. Eventually we found a couple at half that cost. We needed them not only to keep our heads dry, but also to defend ourselves against others.
We walked down past the closed off Festival tents and into the marina and were simply agog at the vessels moored within. Many were being used as bases for film related parties and associated business shmoozing. Some had garages built into the transom, and some of these contained 20+ foot boats. Some had entertainment rooms instead of a garage. One had a glass hot tub with an outside waterfall. There were two sailboats docked in between all the monster power boats, and the sailboats were as big if not bigger than the biggest of the power boats. We were just amazed at the money sitting there. And then Kirk pointed at three cars and said “That Lamborghini in the middle is worth between $400 and $600 thousand dollars, and it’s flanked by two relatively cheap $150,000 Mercedes.” We walked to the end of the pier and looked out across to a massive (as if the others weren’t) vessel that was being cleaned. To put it into perspective, a “small” boat passed in front of it, closer to us, I say small, but it was somewhere between 30 and 36 feet, and it looked like a ten foot dinghy. Just astonishing how much money there is here!
We started looking for a late lunch at some point, and moved on when we saw one restaurant with hotdogs prices at 14 euros! Eventually we found something a little more realistic. Food is expensive here, but in general, portions are also generous enough that many things – like pizzas – are more than large enough to fill two people easily. So we had a bottle of wine and a smoked salmon and olive pizza, and sat and watched the rain from our safe haven.
Eventually the rain let up a bit and we ventured back out into the streets. High above the city, perched on a hill, stood an imposing church and we headed up both to look at it, and to see the view that it provided of the city below. And both were impressive. The narrow streets on the way up provided a respite from the noise and hustle below. It was a nice little interlude before we headed back down into the fray.
There are lots of dogs here. Not many big ones, and not many breeds though. We’ve seen a couple of Westies, two Dobermans, one Rottweiler, a bulldog, a whippet, two Jack Russels, and about 400 Yorkshire terriers. Not sure what makes them so popular, but they are everywhere!
Around 6pm we decided we’d had enough and headed back to the train station. The crush of people was a bit overwhelming and Kirk asked at the information booth where we should go to catch our train. She gave Kirk directions and said our train would be along in ten minutes. We found the right track and waited, and a train rolled in a few moments later. I didn’t think it was the right one, Kirk thought it was, so we got on. When the doors closed a man came along and asked to see our ticket. He gave us a rather haughty huff and told us that we were on the wrong train, but that it was too late, it was pulling out and would not stop in Juan les Pins. It would stop in Antibes instead.
Darn! So we disembarked at Antibes. I just didn’t feel like playing roulette and not buying the ticket back since there was a host of security guards on the platform, so we went inside and bought another ticket for the one stop back – a whole 2.40 euros for both of us.
When we were walking back to the hotel I noticed that all of the restaurants seemed to be closed, didn’t bode well for dinner later this evening. Kirk looked up a few online and they all said the same thing – closed Mondays. Figuring there had to be something open somewhere, we walked back along the waterfront and finally found three or four open. We had a reasonably priced (for here) dinner that was a bit too much food.
While eating we watched a man wobble down the pier man handling a metal road barrier along with him. Every so often he would stop and lean on it, apparently catching his wind. When he got to the end of the concrete, he fought to throw it over a barrier and then clambered after it. He pushed, pulled, and dragged it over the rocks until he was standing in the waves and then threw it off the end of the pier. Your guess is as good as mine. But that was our dinner entertainment and, other than a walk back to the hotel and a bottle of lovely wine provided by the owner of the hotel, pretty much the end of the day.