Wednesday, September 21, 2005

2005: Summer in the ...colonies! (2nd part)

…Of course what would a trip to the Côte d'Azur be without a visit to a modern Greek …colony? Time to go to Monaco, the colony of all modern times rich Greeks, starting with Onassis. On our way there (driving on the famous corniches, the seaside motorways, which reminded us of the old Athens-Corinth motorway), we had a stop at the beautiful villages of Villefranche and St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. In the latter, just to warm up, we visited the villa Ile-de-France, built by and for the wealthy Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothchild in 1912. It now is a museum surrounded by many ‘theme’ gardens (the French one, the Japanese one, the rose garden etc.)

Monaco’s old town was nice but the rest of the (more modern) city is so crowded and full of tall and rather ugly buildings! But we guess there’s no other way to house so many aspiring Monegasques! A surprise was waiting for us when we visited the Grimaldis’ palace: the audio guide was available in Greek, too – that’s so uncommon abroad, that we’ve only seen it at the Parthenon marbles hall of the British Museum! This confirmed our suspicion that Greeks are no strangers to Monaco… Another quasi-greek coincidence in Monaco: the orange easyCruise boat of Stelios Hadji-ioannou was anchored at the port. Monaco was also the site of a small adventure for us: we had left the car parked at the port, where we had found free parking space, but we had left the lights on! So, when we returned after a few hours, the battery was, of course, dead. We had to call road assistance – they came after about an hour (the company name was ‘Heracles’, another coincidence) and were very helpful. But it was very funny to see our car and the road assistance car among the Ferraris and the Bentleys that were in abundance at the port and Monaco in general… Unfortunately, this delay prevented us from visiting the Monte Carlo casino.

And after the modern we went to an ‘original’ colony: Antibes, the ancient Antipolis. Once again, we liked the small old town centre. What we didn’t like was Juan-les-Pins, Antibe’s sister city, famous in all tourist guides. Too touristic for our tastes: it reminded us of Faliraki in Rhodes. Cap d’Antibes, on the other hand was full of exclusive villas among the pines. But before Antibes we had been to the nearby 'Marineland', sort of a ‘Disneyland’ with dolphins and whales as the undisputable actors! The sea creatures presented an amazing show in special pools before large audiences. One can also admire seals and sea lions (can you tell the difference between the two?) as well as sharks. We liked the place and we went back the next day, having fun also at the nearby water park (‘Aquasplash’)

On our last day we allowed ourselves the small luxury of lunch at the beach of hotel Hilton on the Boulevard de la Croisette, in Cannes. The sea was less than inviting, as usual, but the service was good…

So the time had come for us to leave… Air France was good enough to allow us and our luggage to travel together this time. We arrived to an empty Athens – at the peak of the August vacation period. Maria continued her vacation, departing a few hours after our landing for Rhodes, whereas Stathis had to stay behind to attend to business and other obligations.

While in Cannes, we heard from friends and relatives that ‘Tachidromos’ a magazine distributed with the ‘Ta Nea’ newspaper has published, as expected, an four-page article on us and Intervac. It was describing in a very positive –and truthful- manner the advantages of this way of spending one’s vacation. But at that time we were living ‘the real thing’ and absolutely enjoying it!


Annabooklover said...

I'm looking forward to the photos!
Οι διακοπές σας, όπως πάντα ανοίγουν την όρεξη για ταξίδια και εξερευνήσεις!. Ελπίζω το 2006 να κάνουμε κι εμείς την πρώτη μας ανταλλαγή, επιτέλους.
Και κάτι άλλο: Ρε Στάθη δεν παρατάς τα μεταπτυχιακά και να αρχίσεις να γράφεις ταξιδιωτικά βιβλία; Είμαι σίγουρη ότι θα σκίσεις!

Annabooklover said...

Σχόλιο μετά τη δημοσιεύση των φωτο: Η Μαρία είναι κούκλα