Here I am looking pleased, on a rooftop which is inside the Belgrade Fortress in the Stari Grad – old city – where I am staying. The fortress is on the confluence of the River Sava, and the Danube river, in a lovely park called Kalemegdan which I like to run in!
For centuries, the whole population of the city was within the walls of this fortress, the first mention of the city was in the 3rd century BC by the Celtic tribe of Scordisci (thanks Wikipedia). Phew – so much history and fighting on this spot. However now it is a very pleasant place for sitting around with a vodka soda on the roof, bopping to house music, watching the sun set into the rivers.
Before the fortress, my friend took me to a bar on the river front which was also stunning. Belgrade has countless bars and cafes, and restaurants and clubs, and excellent prices. Yesterday when work finished, I walked to a spa near my apartment and had a massage and facial for 2 hours, and then lunch with my friend at our favorite terrace restaurant.
This morning I was saying Merci beaucoup, and tonight I’m having to remember my (limited) Serbian in Belgrade.
I got the direct flight from Paris to Belgrade (2 hours), but it was at 9:55am which involved an overly enthusiastic driver calling me at 5:33am to say he was 15 minutes early, which is significant when you allow 20 minutes for waking up, eating porridge and getting dressed!! Porridge ended up in the bin, but I got to the airport in the end !
My friends were waiting for me ! Milica and Aleksandra!
After work on my last Friday in Marseille, I scurried down to Vieux Port for my Manicure – which in France – is done very well.
Then, I wandered to the old town of Marseille called “Le Panier” which means “the basket”, because during Greek and then Roman rule, it was a marketplace.
Pastel coloured buildings, narrow streets, and no cars made it a pleasant place to wander. There are murals, working workshops, little boutiques and restaurants, and in the side streets, people hanging their washing to dry, on lines under their windows decorated with potted geraniums! It’s really as pretty as a picture.
There is a “destination soleil” train route, which passes through Marseille, along the Côte d’Azur, to Nice and beyond. I clearly need to return here, to this stunning and charming, bright sunny part of the world.
As I write this, I was attempting to have a solid siesta after a hectic schedule in Nice with two Aussie friends, and lots of work on, but my neighbours happen to be exceptional guitarists and they are rehearsing outside on our balcony. I don’t know what the genre is, it’s two acoustic guitars playing happy french sounding music!
Here are some photos of Nice, the Beautiful. Nice used to be part of the Savoy, and part of Italy! It reminded me a lot of Turin and other northern Italian cities. I love Nice and I will return! I stayed on the Promenade de Anglais in a beautiful hotel called The Westminster. Most of the hotels are old world glamour all the way, with 1950s designs and even signs dated to the 1950s of the rules of the beach club! We attended a club called Beau Rivage, where we had a boy wait on us all day moving our parasol and bringing us cocktails. Then I had a facial at the spa, and dinner with the girls at a seafood restaurant!
Now I will resume my siesta, as I have aperitivo with Julien and co at le Plage today at 7.
Here in the south of France, I have learnt the word “supprimé”. It means deleted. My train back to Marseille has been deleted. The next one is delayed 40 minutes, so I did the sensible thing and headed across the road to the small bar, and ordered a glass of white. The bar tender couldn’t speak any English at all, to the extent of asking a complete stranger in the bar to translate my terrible french “I would like a glass of white wine” (I thought I had that one covered..). However, he did wheel out a sentence “where is your boyfriend? It is impossible you do not have a boyfriend! You are beautiful! I love you!”. Classic.
50 minutes until the train comes, and I’m sitting next to a vineyard in Provence on the Côte d’Azur drinking wine on a warm summer’s evening. Life is not so bad.
And the train eventually came!! It was a veritable party on the platform after te delays!! We were all relieved!