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Along the Riviera

france_-_cinema_cannes

From Genoa to Cannes was a treat to the senses.  2 days of cycling that encompassed too many coast cities to count, though to list a few there was: Imperia, San Remo, Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes, where we are currently spending our rest day.

Comments on this stretch included “simply breathtaking” and also “I felt like a ping pong ball” referring to the endless stream of people, scooters, cyclists, cars, restaurants, cafes and of course… sunbathers on the long sandy beaches.  It was also a tough two days with distances around 120km and no shortage of climbing as the coast road curves along the seashore climbing up steep rocky cliffs.  Many people compared this stretch to sections of Highway 1 in California, or also the coastline around Santa Barbara.  The scenery is truly stunning.

Our first day was on a Sunday and this meant there were lots of other cyclists on the road in Italy, mostly in race garb going at a pretty good pace through the towns and up and down the climbs.  Finding our spot to do lunch from the Tour van was a challenge as well; imagine a 100km stretch of road where there isn’t a single parking spot (makes you want to be on your bike of course)

Our second day had even more for the senses as we went through many of the large Riviera cities after crossing into France.  A bike bath greeting the riders for stretches after the city of Nice, and people arrived in Cannes later in the afternoon both tired and fully satiated.

Cannes itself is an interesting city.  There is the tourist glitz of the coastal road and beaches, with multi-million dollar yachts from Barbados and St. Tropez moored for the summer, but there is also a rich multi-ethnic community that stretches towards the coastal mountains where one can find all manner of foods, markets, locally owned shops and the norms of everyday life.  Of course a big attraction for many is to have their photo taken on the famous red carpet by the Grand Auditorium.  All I can say is it must be crazy here during the film festival!


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