So we have found a place in the St. Roch neighbourhood in east Nice, right next to the mountain you would climb to head toward Monaco. We are right on Blvd. St. Roch, just a minute from the tram station. We share the three bedroom apartment with our landlord, Cyril, who is 27, and a Russian student, Elena. She speaks 5 languages, one of them being English. Both are very nice, and Cyril made a point of making a grand dinner for us all with his girlfriend Emilie when we had all moved in, complete with champagne and a four-course course meal. The third part of this meal was the cheese and bread - cheese is often served here just after the meal, sometimes as dessert. Emilie had done up creme brulee for us to finish off I've noticed that the French love the excuse to put on a fancy meal. We had champagne glasses and wine glasses, the salad forks and dessert spoons all set out just so. This is something I will enjoy bringing back home!
Cyril and Emilie have also included us on a walk around Saint Jean Cap Ferrat - a beautiful peninsula walk, and a night out at an Irish pub for a trivia night. They are very friendly roommates, and we got a terrific deal on rent as well: 450€/month. The only difficult part is that when we go out with friends in Antibes and have to come home late, it's hard for us to get home.
Last Saturday, we went to Vence for the usual Saturday morning ultimate; afterwards, USA club championships happened to be online at the time, so we all got roasted chickens and put a meal together with some salad, fries and beer, and sat down and watched ultimate. Felt a little like home. Afterwards, we went out bowling in Antibes to celebrate a friend's birthday. People don't finish eating dinner here until around 11. Some people were just sitting down and ordering food at 10:30. Other customs on eating: breakfast for many French is a minuscule cup of espresso; lunch is eaten at 1, not noon; lunch breaks last up to 2 hours; dinner is often eaten around 8. This explains some of our original difficulty with restaurants - when we could order food and not, etc... had much to do with timing.
This weekend, we drove with 7 others in a mini bus to Nancy, (pronounced more like "non-cy") a town in northern France, for a tournament. This was the first round of France's national level indoor championship, and Luke and I got to go as part of Ziggles 1, the club's top team here. They had only 7 without us, so I think we helped them out. We got to stay at a teammates' parents' place there, which reduced costs. The format was 5 on 5 in a gym, stall count to 8, but not continuous play. There was only one "field" though, so it was 5 25-minute games in 2 days, which wasn't a lot for a 9-hour drive, but it was worth it. Wow - 9 hours. It was a long time in a van! Nice for the opportunities to spend time with French people and practice my French all weekend, though! It was a fair bit colder up north, and raining the entire time.
Now we're back at home, and back to the brilliant sunshine. Today has been t-shirt weather again, but we have had days where it feels like full-on winter in Victoria with wind and rain. Last Wednesday was one of those days - it was torrential downpour the entire day with blowing wind, and it was cold out! I think this was Halloween, actually. This was the day we had to fumigate our place because Cyril's dog had fleas - so we had to leave for a couple hours. Fortunately, we joined Cyril at his friend's great pizza restaurant down the road for lunch.
The following day was a holiday - All Saints Day. We tried to get to Eze via a bus I know goes there, but it didn't pick us up in the right spot. We then waited over an hour for another bus that went the long way around. Had a nice time waiting with a Swedish couple also going to Eze. The drive over the mountain was stunning with views of Nice and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat from up high on the ridge. We discovered on the bus that the storm the day before had caused the normal road to close - hence the bus problem. I had been to Eze before, but it was a great little place to visit again - a tiny medieval town perched on this pinnacle-type mountaintop facing the sea. It's a village with narrow winding walkways and staircases, small hobbit sized doors and some beautiful ocean views.
We went on a holiday and our visit coincided with that of an American cruise ship tour from the Southern states...so there were many tourists. We like to think that we are not tourists because we live here....well, we know this is not true, but at least we're subtle and we speak some French.
Best parts for me so far: the food. I have far less self control here. So much cheese, bread and yummy desserts! No crossfit in Nice unfortunately but we're lucky that our place is close to really nice outdoor track - we have plans to design workouts and do them there.