The Italian Riviera...

The town so nice they named it Nice. The name, in the local dialect, is Niça.
Until 1860 Niça was a more-or-less Italian city. In fact, it's the birthplace of Giuseppe Garibaldi, father of modern Italy.

So, lets call Ch1 "The Italian Riviera"




Assembling Vélo and Ramorgue on the bus station tarmac at the Aerodrome Côtes d'Azure. It had been raining early in the morning but was drying off by noon.








Heading off down the
Promenade des Anglais.

Nice was a winteringplace for rich Anglais in the mid-19th century.



The beach here is limestone pebbles — not sand. The water is a milky azure from the pebbles being ground up and down by the waves.




My 2007 journey ended in Nice, and one of the things that I remember most was the utter disarray caused by their tramway project.

It seemed to have been going on for years. The excavations were filling up with garbage and weeds. Some people I spoke to said it would probably never get finished.

Well, it is finished and it's a beaut !!

It uses an entirely undergound power system, like the trams in Bordeaux: no overhead wires.










ARGHHHH !!!!        

Just down the road, at the end of the Promenade, past the yacht harbour,
I shifted into lo-lo to go up the first big hill out of town and.... something happened.

   Vélo's Last Hours      
Friday, June 5   Nice to Ventimiglia,              43 km        
      An early morning hike back to Cycle Evolution to pick up new bike and set off up the coast.





Back down on the Promenade, I crossed paths with this fellow.

Bogdan Prgolki from Galewice, Poland on his way from Poland to Portugal. He was travelling very light.




Villefranche sur Mer, just around the point from Nice.













A beautiful blue tree near Menton.

My sources tell me it's a Jacaranda, native of South America, but now introduced in
warm — lets say 'Mediterranean' — climates around the world.

I saw a few of these. They have an intense light blue flower. No leaves until after the flowering stage.




      One of the nicest sights in the new Europe is abandoned border checkpoints. The Italian customs house on the coast road at Grimaldi looks like it may have been built just before it was boarded up in 1990.











Saturday, June 6   Ventimiglia to Alassio,                  65 km        




    Anyway, the view from the highway is often better..
Here I am , snooping down on someone's ultra-villa.





San Remo was a wintering spot for, among others, Russian aristocrats.

This is the orthodox
Church of San Basilio,
built in 1912 by the
Empress of Russia.






Ahhhh, wealth !!! Don't you love it?
Gotta get myself some one day.

A mega yacht tucked comfortably in its
berth at Imperia. The flag is Cayman Islands.

By early afternoon the haze was burning off and the air was becoming more ... Mediterranean

      Porto Maurizio in the afternoon  











  Evening on the beach at Alassio.      






Sunday, June 7   Alassio to Savona,                      53 km        
    Sunday morning, setting off along the promenade.    

















      Varigotti, far below.

The Via Manie detour climbed
to about 500 metres above
the coast.
        Here's what added excitement to the hike over the Via Manie!
        About a kilometer or so up the hill I heard a honking and shouting coming from the switchback above me. A moment later ...




    At the summit, after an hour and a half climbing, a refreshment stop. In case you're wondering, yes. I did wedge myself into the line for free drink & snack, though I doubt that anyone believed I was in the race. For one thing, I was going the wrong direction.                 
                              I was rooting for Team Pink. I don't think they won.    


        Then down the other side to Spotorno. Unlike those racers, I used my brakes in the descent.









    un gabbiano Savonesi

He watched me eat from outside the window at a beachfront trattoria.







Monday, June 8   Savona, inland to Aqui Terme,                      55 km        












Acqui Terme

The town, as the name implies, is known for its hot springs. It has been a spa since Roman times, and has the usual amenities of a town that has always been a resort; casino, luxury shopping arcades, fine old hotels (I didn't stay in one).


The small tower in the distant piazza is called the Bollente (It. "boiling"). It stands over the largest of the town's several hotsprings.