Monday August 19th
Today we left Genoa, which was not easy, as the SatNav was still trying to take us via the bridge that collapsed last year, and Bea told us that the map on her phone looked like a cat had been sick on it, and it was impossible to identify individual roads. But we escaped eventually.
We arrived at the AC Ambassador Hotel in Juans-les-Pins, France. The hotel has a carpark, with a very narrow ramp down, which was probably the most stressful part of the whole journey. We checked in, and had a quick look around the hotel. The lobby and public areas are very nice, with several alcoves for chatting, and a bar and restaurant, a gym and pool, plus a bigger pool outside. Our rooms were okay—probably less nice than our previous hotels, but everything worked, and we were given plenty of towels, and each room had a balcony and air-con that worked (which will really matter here, as it’s hot!)
We walked to the beach. Juans-les-Pins is on a narrow spit of land, with Antibes the old town on the other side. It feels like being on an island. The beach area in Juans-les-Pins is very touristy, with beach areas full of hot tanned bodies lying side-by-side on loungers. The town is full of young people, wandering and drinking cocktails, and everything is bright and loud. The old part of town, across the spit of land, is very different. The old town is full of cobbled streets and painted houses with shutters and olive trees.
We ate in La Tours Antique (eating anywhere on Sundays and Mondays in France takes some effort, as many places are closed). Our table was outside, and we sat looking at ancient houses and potted plants while we sipped wine and ate delicious food. We were given tiny glasses of cold soup and freshly baked bread, followed by fish with a pistachio crust and cubes of fried potato. But it was quite expensive, and the menu was fairly limited (and they did not have tiramisu!)
Later, we sat in the hotel bar, playing cards and waiting a very long time while the bar staff tried to work out to make the cocktails we had ordered. (Eventually, they came and asked us for the recipe.) There is a piano, so Jay played it and some other guests stopped and sang, which is always fun.
Tuesday August 20th
Breakfast was just about perfect for me. There were lots of fruit tarts, and pastries, and fruit and pancakes, and a very good coffee machine.
We all went swimming. I pretty much hate swimming, but occasionally I pretend to be sociable and join the rest of the family. It was awful—very wet. After compulsory swim, I looked for a spare sun lounger. The hotel has a sign saying that after 15 minutes, any unoccupied seats will have their towels removed. However, there was one lady who had several unoccupied seats, reserved with towels, for over an hour. I therefore went over, and removed one of the towels. The lady flew from her seat, snatched the towel from my hand, and screamed death threats at me. (It was all in French, so am improvising a little). She was small enough to pick up and throw into pool, but my family get cross when I do things like that, so instead I went to ask the towel-distributing man if he had any more chairs. Towel-man then went and tackled angry seat-hoarding woman. There then followed a long, loud argument in French, with lots of fist-shaking and hand waving. I was given a seat by towel-man, who dumped the reserving towels in a heap on the floor. I took lounger, returned to family, and read for an hour.
After an hour, I was too hot and sticky, so decided to go inside. Chair-hoarding woman was still alone. I figured that her family might, at some point, join her, and I no longer needed the chair, so I carried it back to her and said (in bad French) that I no longer needed it. She thanked me very prettily, as if the preceding argument had never occurred. Perhaps this is normal behaviour in France.
We walked to the old town of Antibes, wandering along narrow cobbled streets. We saw a painted church, and the Picasso museum, and a big town square with a bandstand.
We bought drinks in the empty market place at Le Championnet. This was a mistake, as the prices were inflated, and the man dumped ice in the glasses with his dirty fingers.
We ate dinner in Mamma Mia in Juans-les-Pins. It is next to a busy road, but we could see the sea beyond it, and the restaurant was friendly and cheap. I drank wine again by mistake (there is something about a cold glass of wine on a hot summer’s evening that is hard to resist, even when all your clothes are too tight and you’re trying to lose weight).
Thank you for reading. Have a nice day.
Love, Anne x
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