Hi, everyone! Thanks for joining me on my adventurous trip to Europe this summer. I had a ton of fun... and I didn't even plan to go to Europe! It was all my author's idea (see my first blog), but am I ever glad she decided to take me along. Man, oh man, I had a blast!
When we last spoke...er... when I last wrote, my publishers Deana and Al and I were in the town of Riomaggiore, Italy and we saw the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. We headed further west after that and saw a number of interesting sights the next day - still in Italy.
A helicopter was dousing a forest fire by filling the bucket with sea water.
It was neat to see this and be reminded of those who fight forest fires at home. My publishers said they saw this same process used in northern Saskatchewan, with the cold northern lake water being used to fill the bucket.
That night, we stayed at a beautiful little hotel in the community of San Bartolomeo, Italy. This was the view from our room's balcony. Pretty nice, huh? That's the Mediterranean in the distance.
We got a chuckle out of the size of their room key fobs.
They don't want anyone to walk away with a key in their pocket, I guess. Our key was attached to one of the heavy bells above, so we gladly left it behind when we went for a walk.
And this is what we saw on our walk in town:
A plum tree.
A grapefruit tree.
And a baffling collection of signs.
How does anyone know which way they're supposed to go? You'd have to stop your vehicle, get out, walk up to the signs and then spend 10 minutes reading them all to figure out where you're supposed to go. We saw this type of signage a few times in Europe. There must be a trick to it that we don't know about.
Um.... we saw a table with a wine bottle on it ... sitting in the street. It is supposed to draw attention to the restaurant, I guess... And it apparently worked - my author and I stopped and looked, didn't we? She even took its picture. What a unique and effective marketing ploy.
I wonder if I would attract attention in Canada if I just sat on a table in the street in downtown Regina. Hmmm...
So that's it for our time in Italy.
Next stop - Nice, France!
This was one of my favouritest days so far.
What could be better? I know my subject, seven-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner, loves the beach, and I thought of her the whole time I was basking in the sun and sand and sea in Nice. Ahhh... it was so good.
Yes, I loved it. There were people parasailing, swimming and sunbathing...
...and going to the bathroom. Uh huh, this is a public toilet. Interesting design, I thought. Beats the heck out of our boring blue Porta Potties at home.
And all this action was being overseen by this handsome young lifeguard.
While he was watching them, I was watching him.
What? I'm a book! I can look if I want. Sheesh.
And these are police officers - assigned to beach duty obviously.
I wonder who he's calling... his beach baby, maybe.
Come on - that's funny. It isn't?
Oh, alright. Moving on...
Oh, alright. Moving on...
Here's an interesting method of transportation for tourists. Just hop in the back and have the driver take you for a ride.
And speaking of riding... the people of Nice are crazy when it comes to their driving and parking. We had some trouble figuring out if people were coming or going, and there was barely any room for cars to go down some streets. We often wondered how drivers were going to get out of their parking spots if they wanted to leave before the cars on either side of them. And how did they get in there in the first place? Maybe it's better not to know sometimes.
Here's one of the tiny walking-only streets between buildings.
And we enjoyed seeing the sidewalk cafe chairs facing the street for better people-watching. Here's Publisher Al pretending to pose for a serious photo when we were actually taking a photo of the cafe seats.
And check out the skateboarder - with grey hair. That was a surprise...as were these things:
A super-busy butcher shop.
Prickly pears in a street market.
This happy dude and his saxophone. (The one on the right, silly.) Don't ask me who he is. Publisher Al thought he'd be friendly, though, and give the guy a High Five.
Little ornaments called 'French Kiss'. Come to your own conclusion on that one...
And this little ducky.
The European hotels we were in did not have facecloths and my publishers and I missed those handy little cloths, so we went looking to buy one. The closest we could find in the places we shopped was this little ducky. He worked okay but he scared me a couple times in the middle of the night. Those little eyes are kind of beady ... and those lips... Don't get me started on those lips.
My most favourite surprise was this. though...
ANGEL WINGS! On the shirt of a woman who was sitting on a Nice sidewalk.
The wings, of course, reminded me of my Dionne, so I was super glad when Publisher Al saw them and showed them to me and Author Deana.
Here's beautiful Dionne in 2001 after making a snow angel in Saskatchewan...
...and here she is in 2010, enjoying the sun, sand and sea of Turks and Caicos - with a sunscreen angel on her back. Ah, yes. She loves angels and we love her.
Until next time, friends. We hope you have a wonderful day and that angels are indeed with you on your journey.
Take care. We'll see you soon!