Anita & Sam

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nice on the French Riviera & Holland Tulips

Hi Again,

Last week we had the week off work and spent 3 nights staying in Nice on the French Riviera. Then we flew up to Amsterdam again for just 2 nights but this time to visit the tulip gardens.

Nice was a lovely town but unfortunately the weather wasn't very good. It was rainy and generally quite cold still. Anyway, on our first day we spent some time looking around the Old Town. We had breakfast next to the daily fruit, veg and flower market which was lovely. We wandered around the narrow streets and made our way to the top of the head land which gave us a good view over the city and up and down the coastline. This is the view...

The photos don't show it very well but the water was a bright but milky, aqua colour which was very pretty. It was kind of lucky that it wasn't too hot or sunny because if we had wanted to sun bake on the beach we would have been very uncomfortable. The beach was all stones! We think in the peak of summer they dump sand to make it a 'real' beach. There was a very small square of sand which we saw there like a man-made beach.

The picture below is me in the main square of the city...

We saw a lot of Nice wandering around on our first day and we had learned that it was possible to catch a bus to Monaco (only half an hour up the coast) costing only 1 euro! Also, we were told it was only an hour to Cannes in the opposite direction on the train. So on our second day we took the opportunity to explore a bit more of the French Riviera.

Monaco is a small town and mainly surrounds a marina with lots of lovely big yachts. Did you know that Grace Kelly (Hollywood actress) is the princess of Monaco after she married the Prince of Monaco years ago? We didn't!
Anyway, At the top of the hill, overlooking the marina is the district of Monte Carlo. It's a spectacular place and famous for its casino. Monte Carlo makes you feel like you are in an unreal Lego land or something. It is all very manicured and landscaped with lovely gardens and very decorative buildings. It's very luxurious and so expensive! Everyone drives fancy cars, there were basically Ferrari's and Porsche's outside the extravagant hotels. The people look like they are worth millions and the shops are amazing. All we bought was a magnet, the most expensive in our collection now! :)

We waited to visit the Monte Carlo casino which didn't open until 2pm! only to find out that it is very exclusive and they charge 10 euros per person just for the pleasure of going in. It looked like only 'high rollers' (which is obviously not us!) so we moved on. Certainly not like the casinos we've seen before which are open 24hrs and are happy to take any one's money. It was an unreal place to visit. The building in the pics below is the casino...

Later in the afternoon we went back to Nice then caught the train to Cannes for a look around and some dinner. Cannes was quite different to Nice. It seemed busier and more built up. We were pleased that we didn't stay there. The beach did have natural sand though! Cannes is famous for the Cannes Film Festival. There was something going on while we were there but we didn't see anyone famous.


Our main reason for going back to the Netherlands was to visit the Tulip fields. We stayed in Amsterdam which we were hoping would be a bit greener than when we last visited. Here are a couple more pics from Amsterdam...

And a famous alley in the Red Light District...

We had pre booked a bus tour to take us to the Keukenhof Gardens, 'the most beautiful spring garden in the world'. The garden is only open for 2 months of the year and is the main place to visit to see the Holland bulb flowers in bloom. It is an absolutely massive park the size of 40 football fields. The park is a huge, beautiful display of all the different types of bulbs that Holland flower growers have developed and sell. It is wonderfully landscaped with art exhibitions, display halls and all sorts of things. There is a big, original windmill in the park with lakes, streams etc. as well. The scent from all the flowers is amazing and we had a wonderful time wandering around. It really was stunning. We took hundreds of pictures. Apparently the garden is one of the most photographed places in the world! I couldn't choose which ones to put on the blog so I've put heaps!

As for the fields, we were told that the farmers have fields of tulips purely for commercial use so as a tourist to the area, the garden is the place to visit. We did see fields of tulips but it is so hard to determine when the flowers will bloom and the farmers will harvest them.

Spring has come late this year and it is still quite cold so some of the bulbs still weren't flowering. Hope you enjoy these photos...

Notice the windmill in the background below...

Bye for now guys, next week we are off to Spain to visit Barcelona and Ibiza. This will be out last Europe trip before leaving London (we think!) xoxox


  • Very beautiful tulips!!! I wish we could get to see that! The photos are lovely. But we will get to Monaco, that sounds great as well. See you soon. Have fun in Ibiza.
    Love, Mum/Gae xxx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:52 PM  

  • Wow! such beautiful photos Sam and Anita, they are truly amazing gardens, I wish I could see them too. Lovely work with the blog, not many more to go now Anita...Sam you will have to do a final entry! Can't wait for you to get home, am counting down the weeks now.
    Love Mum / Cathy xx

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 PM  

  • It's hard to believe you were actually looking at such beautiful tulips and gardens!! They were just spectacular. Neet, you blog so well!! Such a beautiful story teller... I'm pleased you enjoyed the trip, makes me want to see it too!! Take care, Lots of love, Leah xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:08 PM  

  • Hi Chook and Sam, Great pictures as usual; looks like you're still having a lot of fun. Can't wait to see you in a few weeks....John

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 AM  

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